In A Small-Town Girl, two beagles cause all kinds of trouble. Unfortunately, I have first-hand experience with this! So, in honor of my March release, here’s my personal beagle story.
I’m not a great entertainer, but I am a pretty organized hostess. I enjoy having people over, and I do enjoy that crazy, hectic excitement that comes just hours before everyone is supposed to arrive.
Unfortunately, my hostessing claim to fame is not on the many dinner parties that have been successful, but instead on the Dinner Party That Almost Wasn’t. I blame all of this on our beagle.
We have the sweetest beagle in the world. Her name is Phoebe, and she’s now 11 years old. Basically, all she really does is sleep. Her other main activity is eating…and that’s when one evening everything went wrong.
It all started when my husband, a salesman, was given an account to try to sell. After two years of hard work, he and his team were very close to getting a decision. Six people flew into Cincinnati to prepare and ultimately give the final presentation. After months of meeting in hotels, my husband and I thought it would be great to have everyone over at our house for dinner. It was a piece of cake for me to plan. I ordered a beautiful Honey Baked Ham and made a whole bunch of side dishes. The afternoon that everyone was due to arrive, I set the table, bought flowers, made sure I had drinks and coffee…even made a cake. I waited until the very last moment to get out of my sweats and put on a dress.
Well, when I got back downstairs, two things happened: the phone rang,--my husband, saying they were five minutes away, and I noticed Phoebe lying on the ground. Beside her was my ham. Yep, my beagle somehow found supernatural powers, jumped up on the table and pulled the whole 9 pound ham to the ground. She’d managed to eat a big chunk of it, too.
Panic set in. I had the vice president of my husband’s company due any minute! I had a giant ham mark on my white tablecloth from where the ham had been dragged off the plate and pulled down to the floor. Phoebe also wasn’t doing too well, either. She was looking a little green…obviously no ham was intended for such beagle consumption.
Hastily, I did the only thing I could…I picked up the ham, rinsed it off, lopped off the corner that looked attacked, and put it back on the plate. I found a pretty cloth napkin and hastily covered the grease spot on my linen tablecloth. I tossed the beagle outside just as the garage door opened.
After serving drinks and appetizers, everyone sat down. As everyone ate, Phoebe circled the table, just like a shark. I glared at her and tried to pretend she didn’t look seriously like she was about to, well…divest herself of the ham.
Finally, when the rest of the table was busy talking, Tom said, “Shelley, what’s wrong?”
“The dog ate half the ham,” I whispered.
Unfortunately…there’d been a break in the conversation. Everyone heard. “What?” someone asked.
I could feel my husband’s horrified glare as I tried to laugh it off. As confidently as possible, I relayed how we were all eating Phoebe’s leftovers--just as everyone was staring at their now empty plates. Almost in unison, eight forks hit the table.
And the beagle’s stomach started to gurgle.
Well, before I knew it, everyone left the house in a rush and I was left alone with a sick dog.
But still, there’s more!
Of course, my son needed a poster board for a school project, so I loaded my son in the front seat, beagle in the back, and ran to Walgreens. By this time it was dark. We left the beagle in the car, got the posterboard, got home and cleaned up.
The next morning, my husband woke up late, took the car, drove to the big meeting, gave his presentation, then offered to the drive the VP to the airport…where they both discovered that the beagle had uh, gotten rid of the ham in the backseat while I’d been at Walgreens. I’d been too busy with my son to notice, and my husband had been too worried about the big meeting to notice.
Needless to say, the VP wasn’t impressed.
That’s the last time I’ve offered to give a dinner party. In fact, the last time someone came in town for a meeting, Tom offered to take them to a very nice restaurant. Far away from beagles!