Hof, Iceland

Mr. Coca Cola Dog

Dearest Adyn:

Our first separation! I can’t believe I’ve actually left you! It’s been only a year since Mama & Dada brought you home. I can’t wait until our return. It IS possible, why everyone was astounded when I, a life-long dog-hater, fell for you! I suppose abandoning you to a Pet Sitter for 3 weeks means I’m going to be punished for abanding you? But don’t hold it against me, it was your Mama and Dada who abandoned you, and for what? A stupid honeymoon! How dare they depart exactly when Grampy and I were off on next adventure? So selfish of the two of them not to better plan! 

But I digress.

How are you? I hope my letter finds you well enough, considering how long those two So-and-So’s have been gallivanting all over the Mediterranean. I hope you’re not suffering too badly. Howz the food, the sleeping arrangements? Does your sitter give you any privacy, special treats, recognition for your Bonafide Alpha Status (like I always do)? I certainly hope so, it’s the least they could have done if they wouldn’t take you along. I mean, don’t they know you want to work on your summer tan, too?

But I digress, again!

The real reason I am writing is Grampy and I had the most unusual incident with a cousin of yours. Frankly, I’m not sure if he would be your first cousin, or 100th, but I’m guessing, for sure, he is somewhere in that range.

Last Saturday night we were pitching our tent in the soccer field of the Kalfafellsstadur Community Center/Campground because a five-year Icelandic family reunion was in full swing. The manager didn’t think it was a good idea if we, Complete Strangers, planted our tent (sniff, it IS a Hillberg) in the middle of their reunion, so they gave us a break on the camping fee.

By the time we arrived at 7:00pm about 200 people, related by blood or marriage to a local farming couple, Einarson and Tinnadottir, were seriously into the real reason for the reunion: eating and drinking, gabbing and drinking, singing and drinking, playing and drinking, until the wee hours. Icelanders hardly sleep all summer because the sun never sets!.  The mood is party, party, party while the sun shines. No doubt you can you get a sense of what that night was like!

Anyway, as we were setting up our Hillberg near the soccer goalpost, your “cousin” came over with a red ball and a stick, and I know I’m still learning, but I think he wanted to play catch? It had been a long day, and I’m embarrassed to admit, My Sweetness, I went to bed without making any real effort to be friendly. Unlike the rest of the campground we were tired enough to have no problem falling asleep, even with all the sun still shining and all the ruckus!

Next morning Grampy and I were busy, we knew there was a marvelous outdoor natural hot spring 25 miles down the road and we wanted to get there as soon as possible to spend as long as possible soaking our SORE bods!

We’re breaking camp as the first partyers started stumbling and grimacing their way to the facilities when your cousin showed up, not with his ball or stick from the night before, but with an unopened bottled of Coke! Now I just had to pause and try to figure out what message he was sending! Instead of bringing it to me (to open?, to play catch?) he sat down and started chewing on it!! I guess I still have a lot to learn about the canine species. I coulda told him, I tried, to tell him what might happen next, but I didn’t get the chance – he chewed a hole in it, and Kerplooie! – all over went the soda! 

I must admit I burst out laughing, SO funny was the sight of this big sheepdog, wet, shocked, flustered, and sticky, I’m sure! He trotted away and I thought that was that, but then a few minutes later he returned, with a mangled but not-completely-empty bottle of Coke and got really close. I think I maybe made an erroneous assumption that he was just like you and wanted to play with me? Later I realized a lowly 40-pound sheepdog is a tad different than a 4-pound High-Bred-Yorkshire-Terrier such as yourself, for when I went to play catch with him he tried to bite me! Maybe it’s his breed, maybe it’s poor upbringing, or his personality, but after that I totally lost interest in him.

Yet NO, even that is not the end, as we pedaled down the driveway the nitwit came with us, leaping over the fence (instead of through the open gate – just brainless! – didn’t his mother teach him anything?), and onto the road and put himself in front! I could not believe it, I, being the navigator, why I am always in front! 

After a few miles when we approached a river and he went down the grassy bank to the water’s edge and I thought, “Good, enough’s enough!” – he’ll get a drink and go back to the family reunion. But the dimwit swam across the raging river and came up the other side. Doesn’t he know we humans build bridges precisely so we don’t have to swim the rivers they go over?

Then it got even sillier, hard to believe but true, we encountered some stray sheep (Iceland is different than the U.S., there aren’t many fences here), I think 2 moms and 4 babes, and they got confused, and I mean really, really confused. From what I could gather (remember, my knowledge of sheep is considerably lower than that of canines) the sheep took one look at Grampy & I and wanted to run, but took one look at Mr. Coca-Cola Dog and had to obey! The result: Grampy and I B biking with a dog who thinks you drink Coke without using the screw top and some distressingly lunatic sheep in a conundrum over mixed messages.

So this went on for miles and miles and miles! With stray group of sheep after stray group of sheep having the same reaction as the first, bleating themselves to exhaustion and eventually collapsing. Over and over Grampy and I were pedaling with carazy bleating, squealing 4-legged animals, running and panting along with us.

I finally suggested we stop at the next farmhouse and ask them how to shake Mr. Coca-Cola Dog, but Grampy said “No!”

Then, an old, battered, small grey sedan passed us, stopped, and a clearly hassled old woman in a worn dress, beat-up sweater, and mud-covered galoshes opened the door, stepped out, planted herself right in the middle of the road, pointed at Mr. Coca-Cola Dog, then at the open car door, signaling “Get in!” I stopped pedaling to explain we were not dog-nappers, HE followed US, but she just climbed in the car, ignoring us. It certainly seemed to me she had been through the drill before.

Then, instead of going back to the campground, she drove to that next farmhouse, got out of the car with Mr. Coca-Cola Dog, chatted briefly with the farmer before the 3 of them went inside. I certainly hope that farmer didn’t give Mr. C-C-D no special treats after his bad behavior!
So Grampy and I got back on our saddles made haste for the hot springs.

Life in the slow lane,
Sweet dreams,