Friday, December 7, 2012

Home is where the grandchildren are

Our family welcomed another new member this fall when my daughter, Laura, who lives in Washington, had her fourth girl — my fifth grandchild.

Oonagh’s arrival brings an added treat to our holidays. My wife, Robbie, and I will finally get to spend time with her when we travel west to share Christmas with our three children and their spouses. It will be the first time in more than two years that the entire family will be together — a geographic challenge we face living and working in different parts of the country, including my youngest son living in Hawaii and oldest son living in Colorado

Interestingly, this hasn’t been the hot topic of our family conversations, particularly with our daughter. However, our other newcomer has!

About four months ago, Robbie and I brought a new puppy home to Buckalew — an Australian Shepherd named Shadow. We had an Australian Shepherd before and know they’re really smart and interesting dogs.  This summer, I spent a week on a cattle ranch, and the two best cattle dogs were Australian Shepherds. They reminded me how much I missed our old dog.

When I came home, I told my wife about the Aussies and that, perhaps, we think about getting one of our own. Robbie doesn’t believe in delayed gratification, so in about 10 days of searching the web and going to a dog show, we found a good breeder near State College. There, we found a 10-week-old puppy they named Shadow, because she followed the other puppies around.

The same has held true here at Bloomsburg. I can’t go anywhere in Buckalew without her by my side. An Australian Shepherd is a cattle dog.  Its natural instincts are to herd and they will often herd sheep, cattle and children naturally. Shadow, now six months old, will accompany me and my wife on horseback rides. Robbie takes Shadow out to the stable every day.

Shadow is a great companion and has been a wonderful addition to the family. Laura has joked during our recent conversations that Shadow is our “grandchild substitute,” since Robbie and I are often sharing pictures and talking about her with our children. “It’s what you have to do when you don’t live near your grandkids,” Laura quipped. I think there’s some real truth to that.

Well, in about two weeks we’ll have our opportunity to get pictures and have plenty of stories to talk about with our grandchildren. With the whole family together, it’s going to be a very special holiday season. I’m really looking forward to going home, which I guess at this time in our life is where the grandchildren are.

I want to wish all of the members of the Bloomsburg University community a happy and relaxing holiday.  We can all look forward to a pleasant and productive Spring Semester.

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