After reminiscing with retired second grade teacher, Judy Misiniec, and current-day second grade teacher, Christie Smith, we figured out that I’ve been visiting Indian Creek Elementary in Trafalgar, Indiana for at least 16 years! Judy was a teacher devoted to bringing outdoor adventure into her classroom through the Last Great Race curriculum, and her passion for the annual Iditarod unit wore off on other great teachers at her school. Every year I look forward to returning to Trafalgar to see my friends and bring a little of that outdoor mushing magic indoors to the students. This is Noggin’s second year visiting Trafalgar but she already considers it home.
Virtually, that is! Thank you to everyone at the American International School in Chennai, India! Romano and I really enjoyed visiting with the class. The 3rd grade students just finished reading the book, “The Stone Fox” by John Reynolds Gardiner, and sent 3 pages of great questions to us in advance. Because of the 9.5 hours time difference, I was worried Romano might sleep through his unusually late night gig but like always he was a true big screen star. He even stayed awake for the entire 45-minute chat (with the help of hot dog treats). Because of a thunderstorm moving through Indy at that exact time, Noggin was “not available” to join us — she spent the evening wearing a Thundershirt and hiding under the kitchen table! Thankfully, I have a dog for every occasion.
Noggin is finally starting to get the hang of posing for photographs which was a good thing last Thursday night at our talk in Hope, Indiana. We had a fun crowd at the Bartholomew County Public Library (Hope branch) and everyone wanted shots with Noggin, the rowdy star, who for once didn’t snooze on her bed the entire talk, but instead browsed the aisles looking for a good book. She is a VERY smart dog, you know!
A big hug and thank you to our friends, Sue and Larry and GOAT, for stopping in and surprising us. We always love seeing you. Goat, Romano’s brother, is quite the sweet talker and has the most creative vocabulary of ANY dog I know. Noggin was quite impressed!
Whether it be warm, dry straw on the Iditarod Trail or a thick foam cushion at the South Whitley Library (IN), sled dogs LOVE their beds.
Karen Land and Noggin speak/snooze at the South Whitley Library.
Top photo: Cherry (L) and Viper (R) on the 2002 Iditarod Trail, McGrath Checkpoint.
Yesterday before our Iditarod talk at the Pendleton Community Library in Pendleton, Indiana, we discovered this cavedog graffiti on the concrete trestle under the CSX railway. I’m opposed to all types of graffiti and destruction of property, yet these simple figures caught my attention, prompting me to pause and admire, and even smile. I’m sure it had something to do with the fact that four dogs — Jigs, Chloe, Romano, and Noggin — were leading us down the gorgeous paths of the Falls Park Trails. Or maybe it was the simplicity of the modern-day pictograph — woman and her dog — and what it represents, what it feels like to be in such a relationship. To all of you who have shared a profound bond with an animal, I’m sure you “get it”… so I’ll just let the image speak for itself.
Karen, Jigs, and Noggin
Even though it was a perfect autumn day in Indiana and there were dozens of football games on the tube, we had an awesome turn-out at the Pendleton Library. I really enjoyed visiting with everyone. Our always-delightful-host, Kristen Case, let us take home a sheet of her famous Romano Stickers.