Thursday is noodle night. And Dottie knows this.
Dottie, aka Tooker’s Girl Lightning, her registered name with the AKC, is a purebred beagle. She is an old gal now, but does not let her age defy her registered name as she circumnavigates the fenced yard’s perimeters with bursts of flash speed like lightning from skies above. At home, she is known as Dottie Doodles where she sprawls on the couch stretching from black nose to white tail with one eye slightly open, more like a slit, to track activity in her house. She does not twitch or jiggle; her eyeballs do not roll in their sockets, signs of being fully under the spell of doggie dreams. It’s not what she sees, but what she smells and hears.
In the kitchen, pots clank together as I pull one from the stack on the shelf. The faucet runs hard, blasting water into the pot. I drop the heavy pot on the stovetop and crank the gas on, banging the lid to pot. The box of noodles stands by. Rips and tears – sounds of peeling cardboard are made as I tug the noodles from their box, freeing the brittle sticks. I poke the stiff stack, drowning them in steam and boiled salty water. The noodles loosen with the thrashing of swirling bubbles. I wait.
Dottie’s wake-up call has sounded. She picks up her head, turns it from side to side, trying to read the language of sounds. She runs into the kitchen, halts quickly and plants herself on the rug in front of the sink, bumping up against the cabinet. She tracks me and the action with her senses. The pot’s steam clouds the kitchen with humidity and the fog clings to the windows. I pluck a noodle from the whirlpool with a fork, and taste the now limp stick for doneness. Dottie follows me to the sink. Her ears perk forward as she tries to understand the draining sounds of water forced through small colander holes. She’s got a direct scent of cooked noodles now. She also knows it’s time. She displays her excitement, turning in circles, scampering about the floor. She becomes a companion with her dinner bowl. “Just a few at a time. They’re hot, Dottie,” I tell her. She can’t wait. She wines and howls like any good beagle does when she knows a conquest is imminent. Dottie slurps them up as fast as I placed them in her dish. She looks for more with a nose to the air, head pulled back, dancing, hopping from one front foot to the other. “Sit, Dottie.” I slowly lower the noodle to Dottie’s face. It’s gone, lickety-split. She sniffs for more.
Enough noodles for Dottie Doodles, until next Thursday, when her ears and nose will tell her it’s noodle night.