For a number of years, my husband and I raised three purebred Salukis, an ancient breed of sighthound. Our move out into the county was motivated by wanting acreage to let the dogs run and run. The property we found met our requirements and also one that wasn’t even on the list, but a real bonus. A creek! On maps, it is listed as No Name. Our nieces and nephews named it Kelsey Creek. I’ve forgotten why. I just remember that they thought it needed a name.
After the last of our three Salukis died, we had only one cat in the house for a few years. Then, we got a puppy for our daughter one birthday. A black lab named Chloe. Our friends also got one from the same litter, and named her Sasha. We convinced our friends that if they also got a dog from the litter, we could raise them using the same commands, and feeding them the same food on the same schedule. That way, when either of us wanted to travel, the other could take the vacationing family’s dog easily and neither of us would have to board our dogs. We had done this with our Salukis and a different set of friends. It was the perfect arrangement.
The first Christmas with the puppies, we were on for having Sasha. It was also what was to be my dad’s last Christmas and we had almost the entire family up for several days. (Yes, I’ll get to Thanksgiving!) We also had about 18 inches of snow that Christmas! More stories about that week another time.
Several years later, Chloe was about 3, and it was my family’s turn to host Thanksgiving with my brother’s and sister’s families. You remember I mentioned a creek? It runs along side one edge of our property and then crosses in front of our home to the other side of our property and down into Lake Samish. It is dry from mid-May until the end of October. I usually think of this as from Mother’s Day to Halloween. It is a spawning creek for Kokanee, a freshwater salmon found in Lake Samish.They don’t come up every year (there’s another story about what happened to the creek soon after we moved in, including a 50 year flood in 1989), but this particular year the creek was loaded with these big red fish swimming upstream. They provide great hunting for eagles. I watched one take off with a fish in it’s claws one morning. Fantastic, impressive, spectacular are not exaggerated adjectives! So, eagles, raccoons (they like just the eyes…) and dogs.
Yes, dogs. Chloe and Sasha didn’t even have to try hard to catch a fish. They loved to get down in the creek, grab a fish and throw it up onto the bank. Then they would play with it while it flopped around. As soon as it quit moving, it was no longer a fun activity and they’d go back for a new, live fish. Who knew? Here’s the part where weather factors into the story. It was freezing. Below freezing. And had been for several days. So what do you imagine is happening with the fish on our lawn? Yep. Freezing! It was actually pretty funny to look out our front room window, onto the lawn, and see it littered with frozen fish, mostly missing eyes only. So bizarre! We had just had Sasha visiting and the two dogs had had so much fun fishing!
As we were preparing for the arrival of our family for Thanksgiving, I was in the house cooking and my husband was outside, sweeping the porch and deck, and tidying up outdoors. I looked outside and what else was he doing? Raking up the fish! Yes! I went out to ask him about this activity. He explained that when it warmed up, we’d have a lot of stinking fish rotting across the yard and he thought he’d just get them into a pile. Yes, they’d be good fertilizer, but most likely not in this condition.
The creek crosses though our front yard through a culvert and the driveway goes across the culvert. About this time, we hear the first car arriving. My brother pulls up to the culvert and stops the car when he sees us. The astonished look on his face is one I’ll never forget! He just shook his head. Was he seeing his brother-in-law raking fish? In the front yard? On Thanksgiving? What the heck was going on at our house?! It is truly one of the funniest Thanksgiving experiences ever! Makes me laugh just remembering this.