Saturday, February 23, 2013


Last weekend, Loretta made scrambled eggs for breakfast. Nothing special—just plain old scrambled eggs. We hadn't had scrambled eggs in a long time, and they tasted delicious—light, fluffy, and buttery. I remarked on how tasty they were.

"It's Hazel's recipe," Loretta said.


"Hazel and Frank?"

Of course! How could I forget Hazel and Frank?

And Toby.

Ten years ago, Loretta and I traveled to England. We spent a few days in London, then rented a car and drove all over the country. I wanted to revisit some of the places I visited with my family on my first trip to England in the 1980's. We visited Salisbury, Bath, the Cotswalds, Liverpool, and Oxford, before returning to London and taking the Eurostar to Paris.

It was in Stow-on-Wold, in the Cotswalds, that we met Frank, Hazel, and Toby. Frank and Hazel were an elderly couple who were house- and dog-sitting for the owner of the bed and breakfast where we stayed. Toby was the innkeeper's terrier.

Everyone we met on our trip was friendly and made us feel at home, but with Frank and Hazel it was more than that. Maybe it was because they weren't professional innkeepers. They felt more like family.

In the morning, after a delicious breakfast featuring Hazel's scrambled eggs, we did not want to leave. Hazel sensed that we wanted to stay a bit longer. "I was just about to take Toby for a walk," she said. "Would you like to do it?"

"Could we?"

It was a beautiful June morning. Off in the trees, a cuckoo was singing. Toby led us through a field, then turned down a quiet country road. We continued for some time, then stopped at a small farm.

"Do you have any idea where we are?" asked Loretta.

"No, but I'm sure Toby does. He seems to know these cows."

After he finished visiting with the cows, we thought sure Toby would turn around and head for home, but he continued pulling us in the same direction, away from town. We began to become concerned.

Don't dogs have an established route they follow on a walk? Don't they always circle back and end up at home?

Not Toby.

Maybe he missed his owner. Maybe he was tracking an interesting scent. Maybe he didn't think as much of Hazel's cooking as we did.

Whatever the reason, it became apparent that he was headed for the next village.

We finally took control and got Toby headed back the way we came. Fortunately, we remembered the way, and we all returned unscathed. It was quite an adventure, and we learned a valuable lesson from it.

Never follow a dog unless you're sure you know where he's going.

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