Dog-Gone Birthday Treats

9_TreatsIt seems like the life journey never ceases to be entertaining. Saturday night was no exception.

It was a typical fast food shift – the kind where we were swamped with orders.  But we survived and I was able to get home for the 8:00 Saturday night Star Trek “fix”.  Then it was back to the restaurant to use the free Internet.  While surfing, I noticed a commotion in the parking lot.

A beautiful white and black dog (sort of Dalmatian-like but with fewer spots)  had escaped from the owners’ car and was running around the parking lot and adjacent properties. The owners, a husband and wife, offered $50 to anyone who could capture the overgrown pup.  I pursued “Maggie” all over the grassy areas and parking lot with a 10 piece box of expired (but still edible) chicken nuggets. Eventually I got Maggie to pause and eat one …  enabling a young man to subdue the energetic dog. The owners rewarded him with $50 for his efforts.

I reentered the “golden arches” and resumed reading blog comments and eating the last of the expired (but quite delicious) nuggets.  Maggie’s traveling companions approached and insisted I take $20 for helping recover the dog.  I thanked them and explained that this means a lot because Sunday is the 49th birthday.

Though by now it was 11:00 PM, I drove the 25 miles to Marion, Iowa and bought mini brownies, mini cupcakes, and tiny cinnamon rolls.  That way the co-workers could “grab and go” and everyone could enjoy birthday treats courtesy of our buddy, Maggie the dog.

8_Big TroutThe brownies and cupcakes were not the only special treats today.   This fish was stuffed and cooked for lunch.  Sadly, while soaking in salt water the last few days, much of the coloring had washed out.

This fish was a wild brown trout from extreme northern Iowa near the Minnesota border.  When I caught him on Thursday, he was actually a brown color with black and red spots.  His belly was very yellow – almost the color of a yellow “caution” sign.  You can see the last of the yellow near his head.

This is the only native brown trout I’ve ever caught.  He was stuffed with bacon, green onions, mushrooms, and a bit of boxed stuffing mix.  The pasta next to him was fettuccine alfredo with asparagus and shrimp.  It was a fun birthday meal and one of the tastiest trout I can ever remember – he was almost salmon-like in flavor!  Jesse James was a big fan of the trout as well.  Thank God for a wonderful birthday gift in the form of a delectable fish!

It was a fun birthday today.  When it was time to leave work the kids gathered around and sang “Happy Birthday”.  One of them asked why I didn’t spend the $20 (from the dog incident) on myself and I responded that it’s more fun to spend it on my family – gesturing toward the work friends.  You couldn’t ask to work with nicer folks and they are all like family… and make a person feel welcome.

Take care and have a terrific week!

Brad and the kitties in Anamosa, Iowa

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About VanTrekker

I am a former vandweller in Eastern Iowa who, for several years (off and on), lived in a 2007 Chevy cargo van. I still travel around Iowa with my tortoise shell cat, Jennifer Stefanie. Our favorite place to explore is the Country Heritage Community, the four far northeastern counties of Iowa (Clayton, Winneshiek, Allamakee, and Fayette). Ride along as we fish in pristine trout streams, enjoy fine home cooked camping meals, and meet new people. It's all possible on a shoestring budget. Happy travels always! --- Brad, the "Van Trekker"

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