White Dog slumped dejectedly against me and complained, "Friday the 13th has sure been unlucky for the White Dog Army." The others woofed in assent. "Here it is, our Saturday and we're just sitting here doing nothing!"
It was our Friday-Is-Saturday day but Steve was tied up doing all sorts of business errands and tasks that we couldn't even ride along to accomplish. Between demands, he would briefly stop home and lavish attention on the White Ones but too soon had to gather up this or that and leave again. He hoped to been done so that there could at least be a late afternoon trip to the Park but it seemed every errand took twice as long as he had anticipated and the day vanished into disappointment.
The White Dog sadness was compounded by our commitment to dine out with Dragon's parents, so the WDA would be abandoned during the evening as well.
The owner of our favorite Moroccan restaurant which had closed last Spring has opened a new venue just blocks from our house. We enjoyed a fantastic meal and mint tea but did not see Ridha, the owner, who was kept busy with chef duties in the back. We were just readying ourselves to waddle our overstuffed selves out the door when he rushed to our table with hugs and greetings.
"Why did you not tell me you were here?" he demanded. "Let me bring you some Turkish coffee and baklava and we can catch up!" We were thrilled to see our old friend but inwardly groaned at the thought of more food. Plus we were feeling guilty about the White Ones at home. Be he was not to be denied...and so gracious.
He came out carrying the small cups of java mud and a plate where he had thankfully heeded our "stuffed" protests by cutting the nut and honey pastries in half. His first statement was "I have the girls wrapping up lamb shank bones for your beautiful White Dogs. Are they well?" We told him they were actually grumpy at home because they are not allowed at the Casbah and that his remembering them with such a fabulous take home box would be the highlight of their day.
When he learned of YoYoMa and his addition to the family he excused himself and hurried to the kitchen to make sure enough shanks were packaged. He came back a bit crestfallen apologizing that he only had three shanks. Steve indicated that we would either save them in the freezer until our next visit or cut them in half. "But they are sad tonight," Ridha said, "They need a pick me up!" Again he scurried off, this time to return with the three bones AND two huge containers of chicken couscous. "This is my favorite and my mother used to make it when I needed to be cheered up," he said. "Do you think they will enjoy this?" Steve said he thought they might happily gobble it down and Ridha's eyes lit up with delight. Of course, the was to be no discussion about us paying for the generous treat. "I wish one day to meet them in person," he said.
We chatted a bit more about his sabbatical travels to Paris (his hometown) and Tunisia, as the staff went about shutting down the dining room for the night. And then hugged our friend wishing him success and prosperity. We promised a quick return and he smiled. "Next time call me ahead and I will be sure to save enough bones."
Back home Steve barely had two feet inside the door before the White ones swarmed him with upturned noses and wagging tails. Gregg, Candace, and I waited on the porch until he waded to the kitchen encased by the WDA. They did not allow Steve to even remove his coat as they sat line perfect blocking the door awaiting their treat.
"OK," White Dog conceded, "Maybe Friday the 13th isn't SO bad after all."