Just like Jesus

Easter was a relatively low-key event ’round here. Thanks to my last-minute grocery store run, we had enough food to feed a small army. This isn’t my fault; given our plans to just have a quiet dinner of the four of us, and given that one of us doesn’t eat meat, my intention was to buy a few ham steaks and we’d just cook them out on the grill. But it turns out that the day before Easter, giant hunks of pig are actually cheaper than smaller, more manageable hunks of pig. Naturally, I opted for a small ham because it was more food for less money (and that’s my particular mental illness, that I am IN MY MIND always just one grocery selection away from not being able to feed my family).

And as long as we were having a bona fide ham, well, then we needed stuff to go with it to make it all official, of course. So somehow we ended up with a giant meal. Because if there’s ham, there must also be a mountain of mashed potatoes! And veggies! And a whole pineapple, which we totally forgot about and never even cut up. Whoops. We did not, however, forget about the pie. Mmmmmm… pie.

Anyway. What? Oh, right. Low-key Easter.

Big meal fixings? Check. Easter baskets stashed in the oven for the children to find in the morning? Check. Colorful language as I attempted to peel a bazillion eggs and devil them? Check and check. A lazy afternoon to eat ourselves silly, then hang out on the porch and play board games? Check!

Licorice finds holiday meals confusing. Actually, so do the children. My philosophy is that if I’m going to make a giant meal that has a billion calories and a thousand associated dishes, I’m going to call it The Big Meal Of The Day and serve it mid-afternoon as a sort of afternoon brunch. Lupper. Linner? Whatever. You have the giant meal later than lunch but earlier than dinner, so as to maximize the amount of child whining that comes before and so that you can just fling leftovers at anyone who’s hungry around dinnertime. Easy.

The children fussed a bit about having to wait to eat—which was easily solved by stuffing deviled eggs into their gobholes—and then we sat down around 2:15 or so. Licorice paced nervously. Because we were eating at a funny time! And it smelled like DELICIOUSHAMNOMS! And we were in the dining room instead of the kitchen! It was just all very confusing to her.

[Sidebar: Here we must pause to note that this was my first fully-assimilated Easter. Five years into southern living, and I succumbed. Y’all (see what I did there?), I cooked the ham in Coca-Cola. And it was amazing. I assume it’s amazing because it’s the liquid equivalent of packing the 4-pound ham into 8 pounds of sugar, but perhaps the various chemicals and acids in the soda play a part in turning the ham into melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness. Even Chickadee said it smelled amazing, and she hasn’t eaten meat in years.]

So we ate. And after we ate, we each offered Licorice small ham scraps, and she just about bit my finger off, but I’m sure she didn’t mean to. It’s just that the ham was REALLY good.

Otto and I performed a nominal clean-up of the (completely destroyed) kitchen, and then we moved out to the screen porch to commence with Family Games.

Licorice, of course, trotted right out her little doggy door and planted herself at the top of the deck stairs, so as to fully survey her domain.

We first played Set, which the Easter Bunny had thoughtfully placed in one of the baskets, and that was entertaining because Otto and I are old and decrepit and would yell “SET!” and go to pick up the cards and then realize that it wasn’t really a set after all. This would make the children laugh as we had to turn in cards due to our, um, premature en-set-ulation, and what is more entertaining than watching your parents lose at a game? Not much.

After a while we decided to switch games, and Monkey looked out over the rest of the deck and the yard and said, “Where’s Licorice?”

Otto and I kind of shrugged and said she was probably out in the run, but Monkey walked out and called her and she didn’t come. So I walked out and called her, and she didn’t come.

“I think I saw her chasing a squirrel in the run and then she never came back out,” said Monkey. “I wonder if she found a way to get out?”

Chickadee burst into tears and buried her face in her knees. Otto and I exchanged a look.

First we checked every inch of the area inside the fenced in area, then we started walking around the yard and the woods and widening out our circle. We called, we shook the treat jar, we adults quietly remarked to one another that for a dog as spoiled as this one, she sure does seem to want to get away from us pretty badly.

I felt oddly calm. Although the first time she got out nearly caused me a coronary, the fact that she came back of her own volition was a reassuring memory. I figured she was roaming around and would come back when she was ready.

“But what if she gets hit by a car?” Chickie sniffled.

“This is a good day to be a rotten escaping dog,” I told her. “It’s Easter Sunday. I haven’t seen a car the whole time we’ve been out here. People are at home, there’s hardly any traffic. She’ll be fine.”

Monkey grabbed some treats and headed up the road to look. I headed down to the pond. Otto continued circling the house. We all came back, verified that no one had seen her, and stood in the driveway trying to figure out what to do next.

“I’m going to go drive around some,” Otto said. “Tell Chickadee to stay by the phone.” I did, and he left, and I went back into the woods, calling and shaking the treat container.

By the time I came back, Otto was still gone, the kids were half-heartedly playing a game, and I was beginning to wonder if, indeed, it was all going to end badly. But then the phone rang, and it was Otto—he’d spotted Licorice running through a yard a couple of blocks away, and when he called her she’d come running, happy to see him, leaves tangled in her ears, and totally proud of herself.

Rotten dog.

Back at home, Monkey scolded Licorice for all of about 30 seconds before giving in to petting her and hugging her and telling her how much he’d missed her. Chickadee wiped her tears and told Licorice she was VERY VERY ROTTEN but kissed her, anyway. Otto walked the fence periphery and located the tiny gap where he suspected she’d made her escape, and laid down some bricks along the opening before we let the dog back into the yard.

Once released, Licorice ran STRAIGHT to the escape point, sniffed and pawed at the (unmoving) bricks, and glared at Otto. He is always RUINING HER FUN.

Some people like to celebrate Easter by rolling a rock away from a cave opening and declaring “HE IS RISEN!”, but I like to think that a rotten little dog escaping from the yard is practically the same thing. I feel certain that if the disciples had had chicken jerky bites on hand they totally would’ve walked around, waving it in the air, calling Jesus’ name, trying to lure him back.

Granted, it’s been a while since I reviewed the full story in the Bible, but it could’ve happened that way.


  1. Megan

    I can totally see how ancient Greek for ‘DUDES, HE GOT AWAY!’ got mistranslated to ‘HE IS RISEN.’ Suddenly the Easter story makes a whole lot more sense to me!

  2. AJ

    We do “linner” around here a lot, even on regular, non-holiday weekends!

    There are just three of us, so I too feel your pain: it’s so expensive to buy a small ham!?! WTH?

  3. Alison C

    My dog almost caused me to have a coronary this weekend too. I took her to the beach (which she loves – I think she was a fish in a past life). A mile or so along the beach I put my hand in my pocket and realised that my car keys were not there. They had dropped out when I lifted her poop right back where we can on to the beach.

    (Aside: why do dogs poop at the furthest point away from the nearest bin meaning we are carrying a bag of poop for most of the walk?)

    Anyway there was I on a pebble strewn beach looking for car keys. I had to go back to the start and try to remember were I dropped them. I was just about to call someone to come rescue me when i found the keys! So relieved!

    Glad to hear you had a relatively relaxed Easter.

  4. el-e-e

    Hee hee. I like the “rolling the stone away” analogy. Happy Easter and glad Licorice is back where she belongs. Nothing like a little stress to make it a REAL holiday. :)

  5. Diane

    Hey, I’m single and I couldn’t resist the sale prices on a quarter spiral cut ham, an almost eight pound whole chicken and a six pound brisket. Good thing I’m a good cook and like to entertain.

    My never-fail icky grease and oil garage floor cleaning recipe uses Coke as a main ingredient. Apparently, it does something to help dissolve the grease?

    I’ll shut up now.

  6. elz

    My husband ignited a theological debate yesterday about the use of “He IS Risen.” Shouldn’t it be He HAS Risen? Isn’t that better? (This from a man who couldn’t care less about grammar usually.) Ah yes, the proper grammatical usage, oh so important to the Bible. Of course now that I know it bugs him, you can bet I’m going to start saying “He IS Risen” all the time now. That’s just love.

    Your Southern assimilation is complete when you make beer can chicken, grits, and biscuits and gravy while properly using “Fixinto and gointo” all in the same day.

  7. Mom2trplts

    Since your comments lack a LIKE button, I’m just going with Megan on this! (And Lupper ~ can I use it?)

  8. Trish C

    Speaking of peeling mountains of boiled eggs, you do know the trick of putting baking soda in the water when you boil them to make them easier to peel, right? Works like a charm, especially if all you have is fresh eggs instead of two week old eggs.

  9. Lori N

    That meal can also be called Dunch — it’s the gastronomical equivalent of Brunch, just served later in the day.

  10. Midj

    “I feel certain that if the disciples had had chicken jerky bites on hand they totally would’ve walked around, waving it in the air, calling Jesus’ name” Hah! Exactly! Thanks for the laugh, Mir!

  11. Another Dawn

    Your version makes way more sense.

    So glad you got Licorice back. Missing pets are the worst.

    And Hammy Easter!

  12. Katie in MA

    I so totally thought that the story was going to end with Licorice hiding somewhere in the house eating stolen ham. That doggy door swings both ways you know. Still, your ending with the disciples chasing after missing Jesus with chickenbits was even more amusing. Just ask all the co-workers. :)

  13. My Kids Mom

    Ok, I think a “like” button under each comment is a great idea. I am going to “like” Tricia C. and say What?! There is a trick to peeling a fresh egg? I honestly forego the fresh, laid yesterday eggs and buy them at the grocery if I really need them to peel. Pathetic, but sometimes I’m vain about my looks.

  14. Jeanie

    At least the ending of your story left me with a chuckle. I was totally anxiety-ridden reading about the missing Licorice. One of my dogs was picked up as a stray and would love nothing more than to roam the neighborhood for a while. In fact, he’s gotten out a couple times. He’s a street dog, for sure. I’m going to try to remember to make coca-cola ham the next time I cook one. Sounds wonderful. I thought I was getting a pretty good deal on my $1.58/lb. Smithfield ham until a friend told me she bought hers for $.65/lb. Grrrr. Great ham, though.

  15. Kelly

    Root beer is also great to cook a ham in. Never fear, the ham doesn’t taste like root beer when you’re done. :)

  16. Lady M

    I’ve never known anyone but my husband to have the game of Set! How cool. We need to find out deck – used to love that game.

    By the way, I tried to send you email to thank you for identifying the episode of Glee with the awesome retro swimsuits, but it kept bouncing. So . . Thank you! You have amazingly detailed knowledge. :)

  17. Tami

    Are you sure that Licorice wasn’t out looking for leftover Easter eggs? I’m just sayin’ that Someone’s gotta do it, and after all she IS named after a flavor of jellybeans that closely resemble the afore-mentioned Easter eggs. Think about it!

  18. mamaspeak

    I too thought the post was going to end w/Licorice in the kitchen making sure there were not leftovers.

    And the jerky treats for Jesus thing….just glad I didn’t have something liquid in my mouth of I would’ve ruin my laptop.
    This is how I know you’re part of my tribe: when pregnant w/our first child, my husband & I told everyone (especially his VERY right-wing, red-state, christian-coalition, fox-news-watching parents,) that if we had a boy, we were going to name him Jesus, so when we lost him in a store we could yell out, “Jesus, where are you???” We NEVER tired of this one. (Mostly bc of the pained looks we would get from his parents.)

  19. Lauren

    We play Set by yelling, “Set! Wait, never mind” a lot. Great game, and my ten-year-old is the undisputed champ.

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