The Book


Many people take their dog along when they travel by car, but not so many when they go to Europe.  We probably would not have either, had it not been for the fact that our one month vacation was to be followed by twelve months of living in France.  Since one year of human life is said to be seven years of dog life, we did not hesitate.  Richard, or the "Little Dog," our four year old black and tan dachshund, was going on a trip.  (page 1)


                                     IN FRANCE

The older bakery was located on the main street running right through the middle of the village, its entrance flush with the street.  The family operating the bakery lived next to it in the same building.  

"Are those your grandchildren?" I asked the proprietress one day, pointing to the loud noises coming from the back of the shop.

"Mais qui," she responded proudly, "they are here all the time."

One of the active youngsters came running into the shop, and grandma gave her a pile of sweets to take back to the rest of them.  (p. 114).


Without a doubt, French food and wine is what we liked best. Judging by his behavior, the Little Dog agreed.  His preference was more specific however: he loved French bread.  He adored French bread!  Should there have been a slump in bread sales in France, which is unthinkable, the bakers' union could have hired him for advertising purposes.  There was no more passionate advocate for French bread than our dachshund.  

No matter where he was in the house or what he was doing, sleeping or eating something else, when he heard the bread drawer in the kitchen being opened, he raced into the room, jumping and barking madly, demanding that he be given a piece of bread.  At dinner, he became impossible as soon as he heard the baguette being cut.  (p. 135).


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                          KATHY (MADLAND) WRIGHT 


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We had left Ingrid (my sister) behind, doing research on German identity, or something like that---I never can keep up with her research---at the Deutsche Literaturarchiv (the German Literary Archive in Marbach).  It is  my favorite library.  But this time, I said "ha, ha," as we left Ingrid to her books.  (page 43).


In a festive mood for we had saved our money for one last splurge (in Paris), we did not hesitate to enter an expensive delicatessen.  Once inside, we egged each other one, with wondrous results.  The thin slices of foi gras we had requested at first soon doubled, partially abetted by Ingrid recounting the story of a friend who had ordered thin slices of foi gras in a chacuterie, causing the shopkeepers wife to call out to her husband:  "Maurice, bring the razor."  (pp. 175-76).



                               HUBERT STIPA (PAPA) 


                        MICHAEL (MIKE) STIPA                                  


We avoided speaking French for the next ten days, the time Marie Christine and Jacques were still in the house.  About half-way through that time, we had visitors, my father (Papa), son Mike and brother Mike.  English was definitely in, and Jacques and Marie Christine, both of them language teachers, could really show off their skills.  We did not have to utter a word of French.  Even when we were suddenly propelled into the French world, we had translators.  (pp. 85-86).    


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                                          BOBBIE COOK  

                                   (in our house in France)

We survived Christmas and our clothes still fit, I often wonder why.  I want to spend Christmas in France again.  That alone is worth the trip!

For New Year's Eve, Richard, Pat, Bobbie, the Little Dog and I decided to go to Paris.  It was so cold that she carried the Little Dog inside her heavy jacket.  In the evening, we wandered around the Latin Quarter, which was rapidly filled up with tourists and Parisians; by ten o'clock the restaurants were full.  Somehow, we had forgotten that eating in a restaurant in a big city on New Year's Eve is extremely pricey, but managed to convince our favorite Greek restaurant to let us order only two complete meals for the four of us, that is, five of us, because the Little Dog ate too.  He sat happily on my lap and let me stuff assorted tidbits into his mouth.  Along with our dinner, we celebrated with so much champagne and wine, that the restaurant did not loose money on us.  And they brought us plenty of food anyway.  (p. 145).     



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                          TABLE OF CONTENTS


         1.   YOU ARE GOING TO TAKE YOUR DOG?

         2.   OF TRAINS DOGS AND GERMANY

         3.    WHERE ARE THE DOGS IN GREECE?

         4.    MORE ABOUT GREECE

         5.    IN FRANCE AT LAST

         6.    SETTLING IN

         7.    NO PARKING

         8.    FOOD AND FEASTING

         9.   CHANGE AND TROUBLE  

       10.    AU-REVOIR

In the morning, we arrived in the small town of Pescara on the Adriatic Sea.  The train station was very large, very new, and unoccupied.  Everywhere you looked there were signs promising fabulous services--telephones, copying facilities, post office, hair dressers, restaurants, etc.--but the rooms they identified were empty, even though it was mid-morning.  Everything was locked. It was eerie--we wondered if we had walked into a Fellini movie.   (page 47).

On the train to Brindisi:

The Little Dog was a big success on the train, particularly with several Italian bambinos, who thought he was "bello."  The Little Dog was very self-assured, some considered him arrogant, but since Europeans are much more effusive with dogs, he heard his good looks praised many times in many languages.  In Paris he was called "magnifique."  Undoubtedly, he added these words to his vocabulary.  (p. 48). 

Returning from Greece:

Later, we walked to the train station to get information about trains going to Patras.  To our amusement, we met an American student sitting in a spot of shade next to his overstuffed back- pack, his back propped against a wall.

"Don't count on trains going out of here," he told us.  "Since I have been in Greece, I have completely revised my travel schedule and am now two weeks behind."  (p. 82).

       

DINING ROOM IN JACQUE AND MARIE CHRISTINE'S HOUSE 

The photo is posed.  The Little Dog did not really sit at table.  He sat next to the table and participated in the meal in his own way. He always managed to get a treat or two, or.........  .       


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We decided that before flying, we had to get the Little Dog used to spending some time in his crate, which he detested and avoided at all costs.  When he was a puppy, I had intended to follow the advice of the puppy manuals to "let your puppy sleep in its crate, especially when it is alone in the house."  The Little Dog quickly persuaded me that life in a crate was not the happy life to which he was entitled.  When I first brought him home, my  daughter Kathy was visiting.  A smart woman, she persuaded me that he, and the house, would be safest if he slept in his crate with a soft, cuddly blanket, a warm water bottle and a ticking clock, also the advice of puppy manuals.  The six weeks old dachshund was not fooled; that was not his mother in the crate.  I resembled her more than the blanket and the warm water bottle.  He howled and whined until I put him in bed with me.  When I awoke a few hours later, his little head was snuggled against my shoulder, and it was impossible to get him out of bed after that.  (Pages 10-11). 

                                    INGRID STIPA 



                                     MICHAEL (MIKE) MADLAND 


A young French woman, who had been my student at the University of Oklahoma, invited us, including the two Mikes, to spend the fourteenth of July, Bastille Day, with her family.  Since she spoke fluent English, we were at ease.  (p.86).

The following day everyone left: Dad, son Mike and brother Mike, to continue their European vacation (which included Upper Silesia, now a part of Poland), and Marie Christine to their house in the country.  We were all alone, two people and a small dog in a big house in the middle of France.  (p. 92).


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We learned that there are two kinds of oyster knives: some with thin blades and others with broad blades.  We could not open the oysters with either.  Before we had time to panic, my son and his wife Bobbie arrived from Alaska to spend the Christmas season with us.  Bobbie is an expert oyster opener and we were happy.  We got into the spirit and consumed dozens of them, just like the French.  

In the Mammouth, we discovered an oyster room behind the fish counter, stuffed full of cases filled with oysters that reached to the ceiling.  And on New Year's Day, when we were in Paris, we saw people in the food markets spilling out into the streets, happily consuming raw oysters at ten in the morning.  (p.144).  



                                   
                                    PATRICK MADLAND

About this time we had a lot of compay, including my cousin Rita from Germany.  We decided to go sight-seeing and took the Little Dog in his chariot along.  Our first village was to the small village of Orcival south of Clermont-Ferrand, which has a small, but superb, Romanesque church. ------- Across the church was a restaurant with a good-sized outside seating area, filled with patrons.  Suddenly, a very large dog walked up to the Little Dog and growled.  To everyone's delight, the little dog growled back and chased the aggressor down the cobble stone street, the clanking wheels of his chariot making a terrible racket.  The large dog, who apparently could not believe this, ran like a scarred rabbit, with the Little Dog. undeterred, right behind him.  The crownd laughed riotiously, and one man commented that the large dog ran away because he had probably never seen a dog in metal before.  (The little dog had hurt his back and was in a metal cart, his chariot). 

(pp. 163-64)

 

                                         RITA ECKERT

                                      (second from right)

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