Monday, October 31, 2011

A doggy reunion and Lebanese brain food

On Saturday Hapi and I went to Ingramport on the South Shore where Sam and Hiro have been living for the past month. The weather forecast for Sunday was wet and stormy and Saturday was cold but sunny, and since Sam is leaving Ingramport on Hallowe'en I thought it might be my last chance to visit there. Sam told me about the Rails to Trails trail he has been walking Hiro on and I thought I'd like to see it. Not to mention Sam's delightful cottage on the sea there.

We separated Hapi and Hiro at the end of September, to see how it would go while Sam was still in the province. Hiro and Sam moved to Ingramport and has only been back to visit once, at Thanksgiving.

Hapi and Hiro had as excited and happy a dog reunion as you can imagine when we walked into Sam's cottage. They leaped on each other, an orgy of licking and biting and jumping on each other. Then Hapi did the same for Sam. Hiro's a bit more reserved with humans, he rubbed against my legs and leaned heavily against me, almost toppling me with his weight.

Sam and I left the dogs to their reunion and went out for a late lunch at a local Lebanese restaurant. I don't know what its name is, a kind of ramshackle stop on the highway that sells groceries and ice cream cones and advertises its Lebanese restaurant that does not appear much used. The entrance to the restaurant was locked, and only led into the kitchen in any case. We went around to the grocery store and entered through there.

The woman who runs the place unlocked the door to the kitchen to let us in, but we were already in. She gave us menus and directed us to the dining room.

The menu said, "Lots of Lebanese Food!" and that was it. No prices, no hints as to what exactly they served.

I asked her what kind of Lebanese food she made, and she listed off Hummus, Tabouleh, and a bunch of other things I did not recognize. So then she offered to make a Combination Plate for us.

Sam and I sat down and chatted a bit, then the woman's husband, a large mustachioed fellow with a rather grim look arrived at our table.

He laid his load on our table and said, "Empty plates."

I said, "Oh." and he responded, "What, you no want?" and made to take the empty plates away again.

"No no! We want!" I said.

Then he laid down another plate and said, "Bread."

It was broken strips of pita bread, which we nibbled on until he arrived again with a large platter of food. I recognized hummus, tabouleh, stuffed grape leaves, and some kind of rice and noodle mix. There was also something I don't remember the name of, little footballs of deep-fried ground meat and grain.

The man came back with two little plates, each one with a sombrero-shaped piece of bread. He put them down and said, "Eat this. Make you smart."

A little later he came back with two tiny bowls of soup with a ball of something floating in it. He said, "You eat this and live to 110. My grandmother's recipe, she live to 104."

It was all great food, and there was so much of it that it took us a long time to eat as much as we could handle.

The man came back and Sam told him he really liked the bread, he felt smarter already. The man said, "You smart now? You rich yet?" Well, maybe not so much.

After lunch we went back to the cottage and put the two dogs in the back of my truck to go to the trail. It really is nice to see them trotting along together, side by side with tails floating like plumes above them. We walked for around an hour and a half, first one way and then the other. Nice views of the ocean, a couple of bridges over brooks and a short side trail to a picnic spot beside a "lake", more like a widening of a swift-flowing river.

We came back to the cottage and the dogs wrestled with each other while we chatted over coffee. I wanted to be back home before it got dark so pretty soon I had to leave, I was worried that the dogs would be upset about that. But no, they seemed very matter-of-fact about Hapi jumping into the truck while Hiro stood by and watched us leave.

They seem to understand the shape of their new lives apart; they are delighted to see each other but not heart-broken to part. Watching them together though, they seem like perfect buddies. I can't say how Hiro is doing, but I think that Hapi is pleased to have me to herself, she doesn't have to compete with Hiro for attention.

Sam is in Wolfville for Hallowe'en and is not sure how long he will stay, but then he is headed back home to BC with Hiro. The dogs will not see each other again for a long time. We wonder if they will remember each other, I kind of think they will. Sam hopes Hapi will remember him, in a good way. He sometimes wonders if she feels that he abandoned her, but I don't think she does.

Compared to Hapi, Hiro seems much more like an oversized playful puppy. I miss that, and I miss his big fuzzy head. He is the fuzzier of the two, he looks more like a giant stuffed dog than a real dog. I imagine them to be the bossy older sister and the mischievous little brother, even though he is quite a bit bigger than her.

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