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Temperatures are warming up, backyards are clear of snow, the sun is out longer  and people are starting to spend more time outside – including the neighborhood kids.  There is noone more excited about this than Holly!   Years back I had a basketball hoop mounted above my garage door, meant to be a stress reliever for those bad Compliance Officer days.  The true purpose of the hoop has finally surfaced!   Rae, the oldest of the neighbor kids, is on the 5th grade girls basketball team at school.  She had a tournament a few week-ends ago and when I asked her how it went she proudly said ‘ we were the winners of all the losers’.  My familiarity with tournaments came in handy and I was able to quickly reply back – You are a consolation champion!’   She was proud of her team’s feat and I felt like I scored points by understanding the glory of the accomplishment.   I mentioned to her the basketball hoop behind my garage was open to her anytime and after approval from her mom & dad, it has been game on for us, including at times Marissa, Grayson and even Hartley!  Holly & Helen score too because generally if Rae is over, Hartley and Grayson aren’t far behind.  With three kids in the area, it’s a pretty good bet one is going to give some level of attention to the dogs.  The longer the daylight, the happier a dog, child and child at heart.

I had a nice surprise this past Saturday.  Cynthia and her husband, Kevin, stopped by for a short visit.  It was very short because I was on my way out the door to meet up with friends but it did give us time for an update on life.  Cynthia was my pet sitter with Boden & Gracie during many of my  out of town work trips.  She is a soft soul that has this uncanny way of warming an animal’s heart and mellowing their mood.   I would get pictures from Cynthia with Gracie laying calmly in her lap soaking up strokes of loving from her.   I’m not even able to get those kinds of endearing pictures with Gracie!   It was apparent Gracie remembered Cynthia because she came right out from hiding, despite all of Holly’s commotion and the unfamiliar presence of Kevin, and made her way to be close to her.  When it was picture time, Gracie was not about to budge, not wanting to miss out on any of her time next to Cynthia.  This scenario pretty much sums up Cynthia’s demeanor better than any words can describe.

Cynthia met Helen for the first time, which was a big hit for both of them  In a matter of minutes, Helen was stretched out laying on her back next to Cynthia’s feet inviting a belly rub and soothing talk.   Holly took to Kevin right away because Kevin allowed himself to be pulled into playing ball.  In those same short minutes, Holly had Kevin on the floor reaching under the couch for her ball.   The routine is so predictable to me, but to others it is fresh and fun.   I sit back and watch it unfold.

Drop in visits are rare these days.  It’s odd how that works – staying in touch is now instantaneous and sits in our hand, yet the ring of a doorbell and sight of a smiling face is what leaves a lasting memory and brings a swirl of warm fuzzies.  I think of Holly and her struggle for restraint when company comes.  She doesn’t have the timely text or phone call to fill in the gaps.  Every knock on the door is always a surprise visit for her and her warm fuzzies take awhile to settle for her.  I get it now.