The other night we were dining at one of our favorite downtown restaurants with our friends Fred and Louise.
“Well the dog days are almost here,” said Fred with a very serious face.
They are here I replied, it was in the lower 90s today and it’s pretty steamy this evening.
“No, I mean the days when dogs will be permitted in the restaurants. The Naples City Council has already voted in favor of allowing them to eat in outdoor areas.”
Hot dog I exclaimed! I can have my chow with a chow chow.
“You won’t think it’s so funny when some dog at the next table starts sniffing and whiffing at another diner’s dog.”
I guess that would be like wiener sniffle
“Or barking and fighting which I have seen and heard in restaurants in Europe,” injected Florence.
As a matter of fact, I said, that happened when we were eating at a restaurant in Belgium where two dogs went at each other. Management finally had to ask them to leave.
“You mean the dogs or their owners?”
I think they gave the owners the choice, I said facetiously.
Well in some restaurants, not only are dogs allowed in the restaurant, but you might find them on the menu as well and I don’t mean like a frankfurter. We saw that in Asia and I am not talking about chow mein either.
“Was it listed as item K-9 on the menu,” asked Florence getting into the spirit of our trivial conversation.
Before I could think of a good response she added “Do you remember the song that starts ‘In China They Never Eat Chile’?”
“Yes,” said Fred, “and in Hungary they never eat Turkey.”
Whoa Nelly, I said. We’re not talking about China or Hungary or Turkey. We are talking about Naples. Dogs have been permitted in the outdoor areas of restaurants downtown for quite a while and I have never been bothered by them.
“That’s because we eat indoors,” my wife reminded me.
“And that’s what bothers me,” said Fred. “It’s like the camel getting its nose under the tent.”
You mean camels will be allowed, too? That will be a bit of a hump to get over, I said, proud of my pun.
“Seriously,” continued Fred. “Do you really want to go to a restaurant where dogs are allowed?”
Probably not, but I do enjoy restaurants that allow doggy bags. And we don’t even have a dog anymore.
“I’d say,” said my wife. “Our refrigerator is filled with them.”
Oh come on, I rarely bring one home.
“Yeah, sure. You’ve been doing it for years.”
Well, I did when I was single and that way I didn’t have to cook.
You’ve been married for 50 years and you still don’t have to cook. Besides, didn’t you tell me about the doggy bags you used to bring home from the Officers’ Club?
Yes, but I had a dog then.
“Didn’t you also tell me you took him to the Officers’ Club?”
Actually not. His name was Sergeant so he would not have been allowed into the Officers’ Club. However, many a night I would pick up a bag of steak bones to bring back to him.
“Yes and I’ll bet they didn’t all go to the dog.”
Well, they weren’t always bones. Occasionally I did eat a steak that hadn’t been touched, I admitted sheepishly. But that wasn’t often, I proclaimed doggedly in self defense.
The conversation finally shifted to other, more topical subjects, including the oil spill which might eliminate fish from our diet and Jackson Lab which could add mice to it.
Back to our dinner. Fred and his wife both ordered fish on the chance that it might not be available in a week or two. Barbara went for the veal chop, boneless of course. I settled on the paella, which had lots of shells, but no bones.
In spite of that, I asked for a doggy bag, but then so did we all.
Chow! Oops, I mean Ciao!