White Dog handed me a sheet of paper. “What’s this,” I asked. “A letter from all of us to our brother California Storm,” she answered. “Can you post it so he sees it? And try to not make any typing errors, don’t want him to think our momma is not up to snuff.” “Gee, thanks.”
So the letter reads:
Dear CA Storm,
We hope you do not mind us calling you California Storm because we have a sister named Gentle Storm (who lives over the Bridge now) and do not want her to feel we are recycling her name. When you get here and take part in your official induction into the White Dog Army, you will receive a special magic WDA name that is used as part of your full name AND EVERY pup gains a middle name of “Marie” (it is a momma thing). We are your brothers and sisters…Siku Marie, THE White Dog; Puff Marie, The Magical; YoYoMa (the Ma is short for Marie), Yet Another White Dog; Bella E. Premurosa, Tiny White Dog; Sachi Marie, The Dauntless; Zsofia Marie, White Dog At Heart; Nilla Marie, the Harmonious; Benson Marie of Calm Certitude; Pearl Marie, Precious Warrior; Sparkling Opal Marie, Amazon Princess…and of course, there is momma (the boss of the Universe) and Dad (our go-to soft touch).
Things are different here on the frontier of New Mexico. A lot different from your jazzy California lifestyle of swimming pools, movie stars and wine spritzers. First, most people cannot even spell “Albuquerque,” the city we live in. Practice it even though it is on your new tag. SOME think NEW Mexico is not even part of the USA! We don’t have palm trees…we have cactus and pinon, and juniper and horse nettles (which you must NEVER even taste)! There is no ocean but we have glorious mountains that turn pink at sunset. Our stars are not in hit movies but flood the darkest night with twinkling wonder and shooting magic…the kind of nights you can sit on the deck and howl into it and just KNOW you are connected to the entire Universe. Sometimes momma gets up before the sun and sits with us on the sunporch with her coffee. We watch the black lighten and as the first amazing color peeks through the trees the city comes to life. We live only ½ block away from Route 66, the most famous road in the country…and one which already connects us to you.
The White Dog Army loves to celebrate…for any reason…and usually food is involved. Our native cuisine is a meld that gives us custardy flan…and goat tacos…and green chile chicken enchiladas…coconut palettas…and chicken feet! A bit different from your California sushi and quinoa salad. Oh, but wait until you taste dad’s egg, chopped veggie, black bean, and yogurt breakfast burritos! It is drier here than in CA so you must remember to drink LOTS of water.
It gets hot here, too, so your “clock” may shift a bit. To avoid the heat we Burquenos do stuff early in the day or AFTER the sun goes down. Plus dad is a professor so some nights he does not get home until California nightclubbing time…like 11pm. We of course, wait up for him.
We know it sounds a like a lot is going to be different. You will have a new bed, new favorite spots, even different foods…but we will help you adjust, brother. Nilla has volunteered to help you learn the dog door and all of us will help you find your way around. Momma is always there, for all of us, for when we need a little encouragement, some extra love, or are afraid. You NEVER have to worry about being safe and loved…that is the promise momma and dad make to each of us…for always…and they NEVER break their promises.
Well, you are probably busy getting packed and ready for your flight, but we wanted you to travel knowing that we are so excited about your arrival and cannot wait to sniff in person.
Your family forever,
The White Dog Army