Monday, September 26, 2016

A Clifton (Cincinnati) Trivia Quiz

Dear George,
We’ve lived in Cincinnati’s Clifton neighborhood for well over half of our lives, but it turns out there are many important facts about our community that we’ve never known.  Clifton has a long, rich history, and it’s one of the city’s most distinctive neighborhoods.  Here is a Clifton trivia quiz that draws from the various sources listed at the end.  Even if you’re a lifelong Clifton resident, this is a challenging quiz.  My personal opinion is that you’re doing well if you get 16 or more of the 32 items, and, if you get 24 or better, you’re ready to be a contestant on a Clifton edition of Jeopardy.  I hope you’ll write down your answers and see how you do.  (Correct answers are given at the end of the quiz.)


1.  Clifton was incorporated as a village in:
(a) 1850; (b) 1870; (c) 1890; (d) 1910

2.  Clifton was named after: 
(a) a wealthy landowner
(b) the first European to reach southwest Ohio in 1642
(c) the highest mountain in the Tri-State region
(d) a large farm

3.  What percent of adults in Clifton ride bicycles to work?
(a) 0.2%; (b) 2%; (c) 12%; (d) 22% 

4.  The longest street in Clifton is:
(a) Clifton Ave.; (b) Lafayette Ave.; (c) Ludlow Ave.; (d) Vine St. 

5.  What percent of housing units in Clifton are occupied by renters (vs. owners)? 
(a) 35%; (b) 51%; (c) 67%; (d) 79%

6.  Henry Probasco, who donated the Tyler Davidson fountain to the city and whose mansion (Oakwood) is on West Cliff Lane in Clifton, made his fortune in:
(a) the slaughterhouse business
(b) the liquor business
(c) the railroad business
(d) the hardware business

7.  13% of adult Cincinnatians have master’s degrees or beyond.  In Clifton the comparable figure is:
(a) 21%; (b) 31%; (c) 41%; (d) 51%

8.  Dixmyth Avenue is named for:
(a) The wealthy family whose mansion anchors one end of the street
(b) Journalist and Gazette editor Richard “Dick” Smith
(c) The famous horse that won the 1898 Kentucky Derby
(d) The Myth of Dorothea Dix

9.  Skyline Chili at Ludlow and Clifton Avenues, the most popular restaurant in the company’s chain, was opened by brothers John and Pete Georgeton in:
(a) 1946; (b) 1956; (c) 1966; (d) 1976

10.  Compared to the city of Cincinnati as a whole, Clifton has a greater % of households with annual incomes:
(a) Under $25,000; (b) Over $150,000; (c) Both of these; (d) Neither of these

11.  What is the most frequent household income category among Clifton residents?
(a) Under $10,000; (b) $20-24,999; (c) $40-44,999; (d) $60-64,999; (e) $80-84,999

12.  Early 1900’s political boss George B. Cox’s mansion is now:
(a) The Clifton public library branch
(b) The Clifton post office branch
(c) The Sigma Kappa Pi fraternity house
(d) Clifton Commons (the neighborhood charter school)

13.  Originally an automobile repair shop, the Ludlow Garage was a rock and roll venue which offered national acts  between: 
(a) 1956 and 1968; (b) 1969 and 1971; (c) 1972 and 1977; (d) 1978 and 1986

14.  The overall crime rate in Clifton is ______ than the national average.
(a) 17% higher; (b) 9% higher; (c) about the same as; (d) 9% lower; (e) 17% lower

15.  How many houses of worship are located in Clifton?
(a) 7; (b) 10; (c) 14; (d) 19

16.  According to local legend, which Clifton landmark is haunted by ghosts?
(a) Arlin’s Bar; (b) Ludlow Garage; (c) Roanoke apartment house; (d) Graeter’s ice cream parlor

17.  According to, Clifton’s Ludlow Avenue has more same-sex couples living together than ___ percent of U.S. neighborhoods.
(a) 62%; (b) 74%; (c) 86%; (d) 98% 

18.  Rawson Woods at Middleton and Warren was donated to the city in 1923 by the Joseph Rawson family to establish a:
(a) wildflower preserve
(b) bird preserve
(c) southern pine and magnolia grove
(d) wildlife sanctuary

19.  Which age category is most frequent among Clifton residents?
20-29; (b) 40-49; (c) 60-69; (d) 80-89

20.  The Esquire Theatre originally opened in Clifton in:
(a) 1911; (b) 1928; (c) 1940; (d) 1963

21.  Clifton has a greater concentration of historic residences than ___ percent of all U.S. neighborhoods.
(a) 69%; (b) 79%; (c) 89%; (d) 99%

22.  The child poverty rate in Clifton is:
(a) 3%; (b) 11%; (c) 23%; (d) 53%

23.  In the 1980s Clifton residents successfully opposed the opening of a  _____ in the Ludlow Avenue shopping district. 
(a) Family Dollar store; (b) Wendy’s restaurant; (c) discount liquor store; (d) Victoria’s Secret

24.  Among Clifton residents, male median earnings are __ percent higher than female median earnings.
6% higher; (b) 18% higher; (c) 25% higher; (d) 41% higher

25.  Clifton residents most frequently identify their ancestry as:
(a) English; (b) German; (c) Irish; (d) Italian

26.  The website AshleyMadison,com, which caters to married people seeking affairs, has 64,500 users in Cincinnati.  Among Cincinnati’s 52 neighborhoods, Clifton ranks number ___ in AshleyMadison use. 
3; (b) 17; (c) 31; (d) 51

27.  What percent of Clifton residents are non-white?
10%; (b) 20%; (c) 30%; (d) 40%

28.  Which of these educational institutions is located within Clifton’s official boundaries? 
(a) Cincinnati State Technical and Community College
(b) Hebrew Union College
(c) University of Cincinnati
(d) All of these
(e) None of these

29.  How many homes in Clifton are worth a million dollars or more?
14; (b) 34; (c) 54; (d) 74

30.  The inscription on the Probasco Fountain in front of the former Clifton School reads:
(a) In teaching others we teach ourselves
(b) Thirsty and ye gave me drink
(c) Teachers open the door but you must walk through it yourself
(d) Where there is love there is life

31.  What % of Clifton children (K-12) are enrolled in private (vs. public) schools?
(a) 26%; (b) 36%; (c) 46%; (d) 56%

32.  Sitwell’s coffee shop is named for:
(a) British poet Edith Sitwell 
(b) a village in Ireland
(c) Sitwell Street in Clifton
(d) a Union Civil War general

ANSWER KEY (numbers in parentheses refer to sources listed at the end)

1.a.  Clifton was incorporated in 1850. (16) 
2.d. Clifton was named after a large farm (Clifton Farm). (16) 
3.a. 10 adults (0.2%) ride bikes to work. (8) 
4.b.  Lafayette Ave. (1.59 mi.) is longest, followed by Clifton (1.39), Ludlow (1.36), and Vine (0.98). (7) 
5.c.  67% of housing units are occupied by renters. (8)
6.d. H. Probasco made his fortune in the hardware business. (2) 
7.b.  31% of Cliftonites have master’s degrees or beyond. (7) 
8.b.  Dixmyth Ave. is named after journalist Richard “Dick” Smith. (2) 
9.c. Skyline Chili on Ludlow opened in 1966. (5)
10.c. Both — Clifton has more “under $25K” and “over $150K”. (8)
11.a.  “Under $10K” is Clifton’s most frequent household income category (17%). (8) 
12.a.  The Cox mansion is now the Clifton Public Library branch. (2)
13.b. The Ludlow Garage was a R&R venue from 1969 to 1971. (6) 
14.a. Clifton’s crime rate is 17% above the national average. (3) 
15.c. There are 14 houses of worship in Clifton. (9) 
16.a. Arlin’s Bar is said to be haunted. (12)
17d. Ludlow Ave. has more same-sex couples than 98% of U.S. neighborhoods. (13) 
18.b. Rawson Woods was established as a bird preserve. (10)
19.a. 20-29 is the most frequent age category (27% of residents). (8) 
20.a. The Esquire opened in 1911. (11) 
21.d. Clifton has more historic residences than 99% of U.S. neighborhoods. (13) 
22.d.  The child poverty rate in Clifton is 53%. (13) 
23.b. Cliftonites blocked the opening of a Wendy’s. (11) 
24.d. Clifton males make 41% more earnings than Clifton females. (4)
25.b. German (20%) is the most common ancestry. (13) 
26.a. Clifton is No.3 in AshleyMadison use. (15)
27.c. 30% of Clifton residents are non-white. (14)
28.a. Only Cincinnati State is located in Clifton (16)
29.b. 34 Clifton houses are worth a million dollars or more. (8)
30.b. The Probasco Fountain reads, “Thirsty and ye gave me  drink.” (2) 
31.d. 56% of Clifton children go to private schools (7)
32.a. Sitwell’s is named for British poet Edith Sitwell. (6)

(1) “Along Lafayette Avenue: Clifton Historic Homes,” by Sue Richmond and Anita S. Marks; 
(2) Cincinnati Historical Society, “Clifton”, pp. 371-391 in “The WPA Guide to Cincinnati,” 1943/1987;  
(3), “Clifton, Cincinnati, OH Crime”; 
(4), “Clifton, Cincinnati, OH Livability”; 
(5), “The Authentic History of Cincinnati Chili,” by Dann Woellert, p. 132; 
(6), “Clifton Gaslight District: Tree-Lined and Diverse” in “Walking 
(7), “Clifton neighborhood in Cincinnati, Ohio”; 
(8), “Clifton: Statistical Neighborhood Approximation”; 
(9), “About Clifton”; 
(10), “Rawson House”; 
(11), “History and recognition”; 
(12), “Local Lore: Haunted Buildings of Clifton”; 
(13), “Cincinnati, OH (Ludlow Ave)”; 
(14), “Clifton – Cincinnati, OH”; 
(15), “ Study: Oakley tops Cincinnati neighborhoods for infidelity”; 
(16), “Clifton, Cincinnati”

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Fall Floral Beauties

Dear George,
The Krohn Conservatory is currently exhibiting its 2016 autumn show, “Fall Back In Time”.  It’s inspired by formal gardens from Victorian England.  If life gets a little oppressive at times, few things are more cheery than photos of flowers.  

Saturday, September 10, 2016

How to Stay Married for Fifty Odd Years

Dear George,

Katja and I had our fifty-sixth wedding anniversary a couple of weeks ago.  We celebrated by going out to dinner at our favorite seafood restaurant on the river.  When I made the reservation, I told the maitre d’ it was our anniversary, and our twentysomething waitress, Ricki, wondered which number it was.  She was very impressed when we told her.  She said she’d never met anyone who was married for fifty-six years.  In her family, she said, everyone gets divorced by age forty, and she’s always wanted to learn the secrets of long marriages.  We were stumped for suggestions at the time, but, now that I’ve had more time to think about it, I’ve come up with a number of tips that I could give to Ricki if we see her again.    

(1) Show  your affection with gifts
Giving gifts is a good way to show love and affection.  Katja is actually much better at this than I am, though I’ve shown signs of improving.  My best success was last Valentine’s Day.  When I heard the doorbell ring, I looked on the porch, and there was a long box from the florist addressed to Katja.  She opened it up, and there were a dozen red roses and a card that said, “Happy Valentine’s Day from David”.  Since I had no recollection of ordering flowers, this was sort of upsetting.  Katja explained that the roses were a gift from our public radio station in response to her donation, and she’d requested that they send the Valentine’s Day roses in my name.  Katja thanked me enthusiastically, but I felt uneasy about claiming credit.  Guilty that my wife has to send my Valentine’s gifts to herself, I went down the street and bought a frilly card and a $20 box of dark chocolates from Graeter’s.  This time Katja was truly surprised, and she said it was the best Valentine’s Day ever.  Thanks to N.P.R. for getting me on the right track. 

(2) Act more like a boyfriend than a husband
When you go to the Olive Garden and see the gray-haired couples who’ve been been married for fifty years, they usually don’t look that great — gloomy, mute, avoiding eye contact.  It’s much better to pretend that you’re still dating.  I realized this a couple of weeks ago when Katja and I went to the grocery store.  Our usual routine is for each of us to take our own carts and get our own respective stuff (e.g., for me, three bottles of Merlot, 6 oz. of rasberries, a box of high fiber cereal).  On this particular outing I finished first, went through the checkout line, put my purchases in the car, and then returned and joined Katja as she was completing her purchase.  She was in the same  checkout lane that I’d used five minutes earlier.  While Katja paid the bill, I took her groceries out to the parking lot.  Katja later recounted that the cashier had asked her, “Am I hallucinating, or did your boyfriend already go through my line just a while ago?”  Katja confirmed that I had and that I usually finish more quickly than she does.  The cashier said, “Yeah, my boyfriend and I are the same way, only he takes longer than me.”  At first I was flattered that the cashier had mistaken me for Katja’s boyfriend.  Then I wondered if she is a little coo-coo. 

 (3) Celebrate your special married holidays together (maybe even twice)
Along with Valentine’s Day and birthdays, you can also celebrate your marriage on World Marriage Day (mid-February), Wife Appreciation Day (the third Sunday in September), Husband Appreciation Day (the third Saturday in April), Mother’s Day (late May), Father’s Day (mid-June), Sweetheart Day (mid-October), and National Grandparents Day (mid-September).  When I woke up on June 12 this year, Katja said that she was going to make Swedish pancakes for me in honor of Father’s Day.  I’d just been dreaming about breakfast at Frisch’s, so we went there instead.  Normally I order the #1 breakfast (two fried eggs, etc.), but I decided to celebrate Father’s Day with a Spanish omelet.  We sat and read the newspaper and had a leisurely time.  As we got up to go, I commented that it was strange that the newspaper didn’t make a single mention of Father’s Day.  Katja said it’s because it’s such a low-key holiday.  Just to be sure, I called Siri on my iPhone and asked her the date of Father’s Day.  “Sunday, June nineteenth,” Siri replied in her pleasant voice.  June nineteenth?  We were a week ahead of ourselves.  At first I felt foolish, but then I felt good about getting to celebrate Father’s Day twice.  On the real Father’s Day I opted for Swedish pancakes.

(4) A little jealousy is a good thing
Even after fifty plus years you shouldn’t take marriage for granted, and it’s a good sign to be a little jealous once in a while.  I was getting ready to leave with Katja for our Tuesday morning “Learning in Retirement” class at the University when I noticed her attire.  She was wearing her black T-shirt which said “Take a Chance on Romance” and was decorated with hearts and kissing lips.  She’d actually gotten the shirt several decades ago from her Romance Languages department who were using it as a promotional device for their major, but you’d only know that by reading the fine print.  I asked Katja if she thought it was a good idea to wear a T-shirt to our classes which invited romance.  She said yes, that our classmates were so old that they wouldn’t know the difference.  Then she described how a woman and a man in our class had met there recently and now were dating.  I wasn’t thrilled about Katja promising Romance to the public at large, but what’s a husband supposed to do? 

(5) Be good money managers
Money, of course, is a major source of conflict and strain in marriage.  We settled that problem long ago by having Katja take charge of all major purchases.  Except for the grocery store and the gas station, I rarely spend more than two dollars at a time, mostly at the thrift shop.  Lucky for us, Katja is excellent at scouting out bargains.  For example, a while back I decided to go to the antique mall to take some photos and asked Katja if she’d like to come along.  I finished in about half an hour and found Katja just as she was leaving a booth with 9 or 10 cookbooks in her arms.  The sign said 20% off if you buy two or more.  We already have shelves full of cookbooks at home, and I asked Katja how much these were.  She said they were 20% off.  “20% off of what?” I asked.  She said $20 apiece, though some were $10 or even $5.  In a mild state of shock, I protested that she had picked out $150 of used cookbooks.  Just then the dealer walked up and explained what excellent cookbooks these were.  Embarrassed, I wandered off.  As we left the mall, I asked how much she wound up spending, and she said $46.  I was very relieved.  I figured that my protest had saved us over a hundred dollars, and Katja had saved an additional ten dollars with her 20% discount.  That’s practically like making money. 

(6) Support the finer things in life
Having a happy marriage includes enjoying and contributing to the finer things in life.  Katja’s parents were classical music devotees, and she grew up attending the Philadelphia Orchestra and the opera.  I myself am pretty much a low culture type, leaning more toward country singers and boogie-woogie.  Nonetheless, we have been going to the Cincinnati Opera since we came to the city fifty years ago.  I was surprised at a performance of Tosca this summer when I noticed that the program’s list of “Opera Patrons” included our names.  I’d never imagined myself to be a patron.  Apparently it involves giving a donation larger than all of my personal expenditures combined for the last five years.  I asked Katja about it during the intermission.  She said not to worry about it, that it all adds up — e.g., her Opera Guild membership, tickets to the Opera Gala, various other donations, perhaps even the price of our season tickets.  After recovering for a few hours, I decided that it was quite something to be an Opera Patron.  I would never  have accomplished that on my own. 

(7) Be generous toward the  less fortunate
It’s admirable to contribute to the arts, but there are many other deserving charities as well.  I’m always amazed when we get our income taxes done because Katja routinely brings along a couple of single-spaced pages listing donations that she’s made during the year.  Katja recently gave me some stamped envelopes to take down the street to the post office, and I noticed that one of them was addressed to the Paraplegic Firefighters of Ohio (pseudonym).  I asked what it was, and she said it was a check for her yearly donation.  I said, before we mailed it, I’d just like to look up Paraplegic Firefighters on the internet.  It turned out that 80% of their donations go to administrative and fund-raising expenses, only 20% to firefighters.  Katja was taken aback and tore up her check.  Two weeks later she asked me to look into “Homeless Iraq War Veterans”, another favorite charity she’d given to annually in the past.  It was worse.  The top four administrators paid themselves $800,000 a year.  Homeless veterans received zero dollars, and Congress was currently conducting an investigation.  Katja agreed that it was good practice to check out charities.  If we’re lucky, our income tax charity list might drop to a single page.       

(8) Be competent around the house
When Katja goes out of town, I’m always pleased that I’m so self-sufficient in the house.  During her most recent trip I cooked my own meals (using my well-honed microwave abilities), put most of my dirty clothes in the laundry bin, and fastidiously sorted out recyclable items from the rest of the trash.   I wasn’t able to make coffee in the morning, but solved that by going to the United Dairy Farmers store.  Everything else went well until the last day when I set about to do the dishes that had accumulated in the sink.  Unsure how to operate the dishwasher, I decided to do them by hand.  Much to my chagrin, it appeared that we had no hot water in the sink.  I pushed the vertical faucet handle all the way back as I always do, but, even after I let it run for several minutes, it didn’t get any hotter.  I decided to wash and rinse the dishes in cold water.  Once I’d finished the job, I fiddled with the sink faucet a little more.  When I pulled it forward, lo and behold, the hot water started coming out.  It seems I had just gotten the faucet directions backwards.  I guess this means that, after forty years of living in our house, I need a refresher on how various things work.  I’ll definitely be ready for Katja’s next vacation. 

(9) Balance one another out
Marriages are more lively when spouses are different from one another, and that’s definitely true of Katja and myself.  I’m more inhibited, Katja’s more expansive; I’m stingier, she’s more extravagant; I’m more cautious, she’s more adventuresome; etc.  The trick is to balance one another out.  I’m reminded of this each morning when I go upstairs after breakfast.  First I go in the bedroom and turn off the radio, the fan, the ceiling light, and the bedside reading light.  Likewise for lights and fan in the bathroom, the ceiling light in the hallway, and sometimes the TV in the den.  Then I turn the air conditioner thermostat  up from 70 to 73.  A while later Katja will come back upstairs, turn the air conditioner down, and turn all the electricity back on. She’s a turner-onner; I’m a turner-offer.  It’s a good balance.  If it were just up to me, we would live in a silent, dark space in stifling temperatures.  

(10) Be prepared to sacrifice
Stable marriages require self-sacrifice.  Some time ago I complained to a childhood friend via email that Katja doesn’t seem interested in camping any more, and my friend explained to me that, unlike men, most adult women don’t enjoy camping.  This was a surprising idea.  Needless to say, I was delighted this summer when Katja suggested that we follow our Menominee visit with a camping trip in the U.P.  That’s exactly what we did.  The first night went well, and, with the help of an Ambien, we enjoyed a good night’s rest.  The second night, Katja’s sleeping bag slipped off the air mattress, and she spent most of the night on the ground.  The third night her air mattress leaked, and she wound up spending another night on the ground.  I exchanged mattresses with her on the fourth night, but, even so, we both wound up sleeping on the ground on our flat air mattresses.  The fifth night, Katja took charge and we stayed in a motel.  I was amazed that she didn’t complain that much about our sleeping circumstances.  At the end of our trip I asked if she’d like to go camping again sometime.  She said she would, as long as we go camping in Jamaica or southern France. 

All in all, I think these are some very good tips for Ricki and would help her to stay married for at least fifty years.  I do realize that Katja’s been better at almost all of these things than I have, and she deserves most of the credit for our longevity.  However, that gives me something to work on for the next decade.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Can Old Dogs Teach Us New Tricks?

Dear George,
We lost our sheepdogs about a year ago, Duffy in June of 2015 and Mike in November.  Despite the passage of time, we’re still recovering — the dogs were such ever-present sources of pleasure.  We do still enjoy sheepdog perks, though, because our good friend Donna owns Sophie,  Mike and Duffy’s younger sister.  When Donna went to Nashville last weekend, Sophie came to stay with us, as she does every now and then.  It was good to have a sheepdog back in the house, and I took lots of pics. 

At thirteen and a half, Sophie is approaching 95 in human years, and she clearly has various infirmities of a senior dog.  One of her eyes is clouded over, and she’s lost about 90% of her hearing.  Getting up from the floor is a struggle, and its’s been a couple of years since she was able to jump into the SUV.  Sophie gets a painkiller for arthritis at bedtime, another pill for a leaky bladder.  At the same time, her basic personality hasn’t really changed since she was a year-old puppy — sweet, frisky, attentive, good-natured.  Overall, Sophie enjoys a high quality of life for her advanced age and continues to be a happy, active dog.  If she were able to talk, Sophie might tell us a lot about the secrets of successful aging.  As far as I can tell, the following are some of the sheepdog lessons about managing old age that we’d be wise to attend to. 

(1) Stay positive.  Despite lots of discomfort, Sophie’s most frequent expression is a happy smile. Her good attitude undoubtedly has many beneficial consequences, physical and psychological. 

(2) Exercise.  Sophie’s healthiness for her age is due at least in part to Donna’s always making sure that she’s gotten plenty of walks.  Because of creaky joints, it takes Sophie longer to get warmed up now, but then she’s good for a mile or two (or actually as long as the humans want to go).   Frequent hikes are the best thing that Sophie does to ward off the ravages of Father Time.

(3) Rest up.  On the other hand, when nothing much is going on, Sophie lies down and nods off in a minute or two.  She is such a good sleeper, and naps are the best for healing aches and pains.   

(4) Drink plenty of water.  Dogs and people get dehydrated when they don’t drink enough, especially in the summertime.  Fortunately, water is Sophie’s forte.  She not only drains much of the bowl but splashes the leftovers onto the kitchen floor.

(5) Persist in the face of obstacles.  Arthritis makes climbing the stairway a laborious process.  Nonetheless, Sophie is always determined to complete the task, systematically putting her front paws up on each successive step, then jumping up with her back paws.  

(6) Take care, watch out.  Going back down the staircase is even more nerve-wracking than climbing up.  Perhaps as a result of previous falls, Sophie is slow and cautious.  It’s a good reminder for the rest of us.   

(7) Make some adjustments.  Our own sheepdogs were always terrified of our mysterious, noisy elevator.  One day, however, Sophie rode with Katja  to the second floor.  Now she routinely leads Katja to the elevator when she wants to go upstairs.   

(8) Be playful.  Sophie has kept her puppy spirit alive over the years.  One of her favorite activities is to walk around the house carrying her beloved stuffed dog.  Then she’ll bring it over for a spirited game of tug-of-war.

(9) Keep track of things.  While we humans go batty from misplacing things, Sophie likes to store her possessions in secret places.  The dining room table offers a perfect hiding spot for her stuffed dog. 

(10) Seek out favorite spots.  Dogs seem to sense that security and feelings of well-being result from being in favorite locations that are familiar and comfortable.  Sophie’s long-time sheepdog bed is her number one place. 

(11) Relish life’s treats.  Mike and Duffy always responded to their routine daily walk around the block as if it were a brand new, exciting adventure.  And food, of course, resulted in pure ecstasy.  Though Sophie’s appetite has declined some, she still gobbles up her meals in a matter of minutes when she’s hungry. 

(12) Stick close to loved ones.  Like her brothers, Sophie is very people-oriented.  She usually hangs out near wherever we’re sitting.  As bedtime draws near, Sophie is the first one into the bedroom, and I help lift her into the bed so she can stake out her position right next to the humans.

(13) Have a good bark every now and then.  Sheepdogs aren’t big barkers.  As she’s gotten older, though, Sophie seems to enjoy barking loudly when I lean over and wave my hands.  It’s a friendly, enthusiastic bark and seems to be giving voice to all her inner exuberance. Barking is good for the soul — we all need to bark a little more.  

I don’t know if we’ll ever be ninety-five, but, if we are, I hope we’re able to do as well as Sophie.  There’s a lot to be learned from the mysterious sheepdog world.