Batman and Arly

Batman, age 5, has just been scratched on the chin by Arly the puppy and is near tears and speaks only in his tiniest voice.


He clings to his mom next to the new deck, even though Arly ran off into the yard.  He and Hansel, age 9, chew their peach fruit leathers as they listen to their sister Gretel, age 7, tell us about her very loose tooth.  Our old neighbors moved six months ago, but happily they still visit.  This time to meet Arly.  They’ve all grown.

“It’s been so long since I lost a tooth,” I say.  “Does it hurt?”

“No.”  Gretel smiles and shows her upper gum with all the tiny baby teeth now widely spread.  The front right is gone, and the left is barely hanging on.

“My father used to tie a string around my loose teeth and yank,” I say, shivering even though the low midday November sun covers the entire new deck.  “Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t.”


“Oh oh oh,” says Gretel.  “The Castaway!”

Hansel’s big brown eyes light up.  “Oh, yeah!”

“I get to tell it!” says Gretel.

Hansel agrees, but paces the deck.  Even Batman is riveted and hopes desperately that Gretel can tell it right.  I watch as she mentally backs away to get the big picture.

She starts with the point.  “He had a real bad toothache and had to knock it out with a rock and an ice skate from a Fed Ex box!”


Hansel is pleased with her delivery, but he knows the story.  It’s a movie, apparently.

“A Fed Ex box?” I say, as lost as the castaway, but reveling in their sheer joy of sharing stories.

Batman says, still in his tiny, puppy-scratched voice, “He’s a Fed Ex Delivery Man.”

Gretel stares at her little brother then continues.  “His plane crashed in the ocean and he went to this island and lived all by himself — ”


” — EXCEPT for,” Hansel says, and Gretel tells him that isn’t the main story here, but lets him tell about the Castaway’s sole friend anyway — a salvaged volleyball named Wilson.

At this point Arly runs by with a rotting cornstalk in his mouth.


He likes to pull the silk out of the undeveloped ears which I planted too late so they are composting in the garden.

Arly in the corn 007

Arly’s grown an inch since yesterday, I think.  Batman eyes him suspiciously.

I turn to Hansel and Gretel and say, “Last year, you stood out in the corn patch and told us a corny joke.”  This is ancient history to them, but it is their history and it is such a fine joke, they are already laughing.  Batman was there but doesn’t remember.

“I get to tell it!” says Hansel.

Gretel agrees, but has to cover her mouth to keep from butting in.

“Why shouldn’t you tell secrets in a corn field?” says Hansel.  Batman stops chewing, baffled.  “Because the corn has ears!”


Everyone laughs, and Arly the beagle puppy prances up to the deck with the cornstalk.  We all remark on his cuteness.  His white fur and black spots and waving tail.  Batman stands tall, a twinkle in his eye, and says the punchline softly, “I like his ears.”

Arly in the corn 003

24 responses to “Batman and Arly

  1. I love that Gretel is the story teller and that her brother gives her that deference and allows her to tell the tale (albeit with pacing 😉 ). I just had a “Woo-woo” moment there! I told Steve that there were a couple of movies that I really REALLY wanted to watch again. Numero uno was Castaway. If you haven’t seen it please do, it is one of those amazing movies that makes you feel glad to be alive and Tom Hanks was awesome in it. Life doesn’t always run to plan and neither does love but you can choose another pathway and you can choose to live vicariously wherever you are. AWESOME movie Christi, PLEASE find a way to watch it if you can, you won’t regret it :). (The other movies were Men in Black 1 and 2 and “Up” a movie so gorgeous that I think I might have to raid the moth eaten sock under the bed and buy it so that I can watch it whenever I like 🙂 ).

    You have the CUTEST ever pup :). Arly is gorgeous and looks like he would be scrumptious to hug (scratchy little paws or not). I could use him in the veggie garden to keep Earl occupied…Earl ate the watering can when I was wheelbarrowing horse poop and Bezial kept trying to tell me that he was up to no good but I was tired and wheeling and ignored him…to the watering can’s peril ;). Earl loves puppies and is very gentle with them. People get scared because he is a big dog but inside his head, Earl is just a big puppy.

    I LOVE that we are working on comments to each others blog posts at the same time these days. Maybe you can get Arly to harvest your veggies for you in the growing season ;). Hugs to cold Olalla from sunny Sidmouth 🙂

    • I’m putting Castaway on my Netflix queue right now! As we type to each other over 14,000 miles. Boggles my mind, but warms my heart. Garfield tells on Arly, too. It’s amazing what Garfield is putting up with — chasing, humping, sniffing — but he actually seems to be training Arly with his “whappy paws” and an occasional hiss. Love and hugs to you and the gangsters. 🙂

      • Its amazing how clever cats are (especially when they are being subject to the odd puppy power hump 😉 )…the ferals here are humanised but we can’t actually touch them. They spend their days lazing around below the deck and have a hate/hate relationship with Earl. He HATES them, barks at them and stares at them and in return they parade outside the gate, knowing that he can’t touch them hissing at him and trying to hit him with their claws…whereas Bezial just walks through the middle of them and they ignore him! One of them touched noses with him the other day but Bezial says “DON’T TELL EARL FOR GOODNESS SAKE!!!” He pretends to be hard and cool whenever Earl is watching but knows that he is only allowed outside without a lead because of his good behaviour with chooks and cats…clever boy eh? You will love Castaway Christi…you will laugh and you will cry and you will get to the end and will feel amazing. I did and as my twin you are probably at least somewhat like me in the emotive status (a big sooky la-la 😉 ). Have you seen “Up”? That animated movie by Pixar? I resisted watching it for ages as most animated movies for kids these days are just product placing drivel but “Up” is gorgeous. It’s an incredible life story and something awful happens within 5 minutes of the story starting that had my daughters turn it off and not watch it! Very powerful stuff for an animation and absolutely delightful 🙂

      • Oooo, I’ll put “Up” on the list as well. Garfield is a Buddha with this puppy — I can just hear him, “This too will pass…” The Bearded One just gave Arly an empty, washed, liter-sized plastic Coke bottle to chew and he is mad for it. I’m enjoying the huge difference between cats and dogs. It’s amazing to me that they eventually can co-habitate lovingly, see Bezial. Please tell me that Arly is a miniature Bezial and will chill out!! 🙂

      • Sorry Christi…he is all Earl but with Bezials endless gizzard to boot 😉

  2. So do I. xo.

  3. I enjoy the ongoing comments between you and narf77 just as much as the original post 🙂 She is right about ‘Castaway’ and ‘Up’ – but Men In Black??? Really Fran??

    So nice to catch up with Hansel and Gretel and Batman again. Batman proves to be a hero with his last comment too!

    I hope your week is going well Christi and your Thanksgiving goes even weller {!] 🙂 xoxo

    • We love those kids, and it pleases me no end that they continue to come here even after moving. Our Thanksgiving is quiet this year, with the girls at their spouse’s and boyfriend’s families and His Majesty at his dad’s. Oh, I guess not so quiet….we have Arly and Garfield, who are figuring out how to play with each other. A riot. 🙂 Thanks for your comment and good wishes!

  4. Oh what a gorgeous little sausage of a dog 😀 He’s still at that stage where you can pick him up and cuddle his wriggly, licky little body 😀 Like a squirming toddler that wants to get back to whatever mischief they were creating. Like Fronkiii (narf7 to you all) I love the movie “Up”. Watched it on TV the other night and it makes your heart so happy, eventually. I also love Ed Asner who I think voices the old man. xox

    • Yes, a sausage dog! We call his tush a “bowling ball butt”….such a little cutie. He plays frantically and then collapses, near comatose, on a pillow somewhere. Keeps us hoppin’. I’ve put “Up” on our Netflix queue. Have a good week, Cathy!:)

  5. Another lovely post :). We have just been looking after a little puppy and I had forgotten the funny, wiggly, scratchy, silly side to them. My older dog just regarded her with superior horror and growled a warning to her if she so much as looked his way. The younger one(by only a year mind you) was very taken to her and they had such fun, even sharing their beds and toys. Your puppy is gorgeous, what a sweet face. I’m sure butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth. LOL!!!!!!!

    • LOL Butter would melt in his mouth after his razor teeth sank into it! We’re taking care of our daughter’s puppy for a week next month — Roger is a month older than Arly. It will be a chaotic joy, but after your comment, I’m wondering if it just might be EASIER since they’ll have each other to wrestle. Have a lovely weekend in your spring weather. 🙂

  6. Great post, Christi! Arly should have a book written about him (hint, hint).

    Have to say that I liked ‘Men in Black’, too. Tommy Lee Jones . . . in anything! 😉
    . . . and ‘Castaway’ was also great. I have avoided ‘Up’ so far, as I usually only watch cartoon movies when I’m with younger kids (like ‘Finding Nemo’). But I’ve always had a soft spot for Ed Asner, so I think I’ll look the movie up on Netflix soon.

    Thanks for the ‘corny’ jokes, too. I’ll be sharing them soon . . .

  7. Your line about the corn having ears reminds me of the old song “Never Make Love in a Buggy.” It included lines like, “Potatoes have eyes” and “For horses carry tails.”

  8. I forgot to tell you that I remember tying a string to a loose tooth and to a doorknob, then slamming the door to pull out the tooth. Mostly, it worked and was quick, if not painless. With my boys, we just let them worry at a loose tooth until it came out on its own. ~ Linne

  9. Christine Widman

    Arly and his ears. Aahhh. His sweet face too. Makes me think of the endearing (& much loved by my two grand-kiddos) Golden Book, The Poky Little Puppy.
    Here we have javelinas knocking over our white wicker rockers in the hopes of getting to the bird seed…which we have locked in a big plastic bin because they know how to get into an unlocked bin and spill birdseed everywhere.
    Can’t wait to hear about Arly having his “cousin” Roger come for some “sleep-over” days.
    Loved “seeing” Hansel, Gretel and Batman again!
    And a big thumbs up for the Bearded One’s drawing of Arly running with the cornstalk in his mouth!!!!!

  10. Arly is adorable, and I’m so glad that Hansel, Gretel and Batman still visit. I am loving your puppy anecdotes, even though I’m a bit behind with them.
    My daughter likes to tell the story of how one of her teeth came out when she was eating spaghetti. Talk about ‘al dente’… 😉

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