This piece originally ran in The Ohio County Times-News in Hartford, Ky., on Dec 21, 2006. The column was written by Sam Ford, Director of Audience Engagement at Peppercomm, our strategic communications and marketing partner. At the time, Sam had moved from rural Kentucky to Boston for graduate school and wrote a weekly column in his hometown newspaper about the differences between life in small town Kentucky and a big city on the East Coast. Sam now lives back in Kentucky, in Bowling Green, with his wife, Amanda and his two daughters, Emma and Harper. His Pekingese, Brando and Sissy, have also enjoyed transitioning back to Kentucky living.
Amanda and I had some news that we wanted to share with all the fine folks of Ohio County who read my column every week. We figured that a forum like this would be the easiest way to make the announcement: we now have a new addition to our family.
We had suspected that a new family member was on the way for some time but didn’t want to say anything until we were sure. You know, there are always little things that you notice—that foreshadow it—but Amanda didn’t really believe it until she saw it with her own eyes.
It’s one of those moments in your life you can’t forget. I was out walking Brando and Sissy, our two Pekingese, and talking to my friend John Morris when she beeped in to give me the news. She was shrieking, almost hysterical even, when she first saw.
I hung up quickly with John and took the dogs in to share the moment with my wife. We sat and talked for a long time about how a new member of the family would change our lives and what we should do to prepare.
To tell you the truth, this news wasn’t really what I was expecting for my life right now. With as busy as we’ve both been, we couldn’t help but feel that we didn’t really want to deal with all the new responsibilities this would entail at home, when we were just getting settled into our new life in Boston.
But that’s not the way it works, is it? Sometimes, life throws you for a loop. But we’ve decided that we’re going to make lemonade from this lemon.
Amanda and I have been trying to change some things around the house in light of our new arrival. It’s not always easy to think of everything, but we’ve been trying to make sure that there aren’t things lying around the floor for her to get into.
We were also a little nervous as to what our landlord might think, so we called her to share the news with her as well. She had been completely fine about two people and two dogs living in the apartment, but she hadn’t bargained on anything more, I don’t think.
I told her what was going on, and Shay took it pretty well. She said that they had had this problem before in the building and that she would have to meet with the owners of the other members of the condo association to talk about what it meant for everyone in our little community.
Most of all, though, I will never forget the first time I saw her.
I couldn’t help but be amazed how little she was. Her beady little eyes connected with mine, and I thought about how different the world must look from her perspective.
I can’t really decide if she’s cute or not. On the one hand, she’s so tiny. She looks so innocent.
On the other hand, though, she’s a lot of trouble. It’s yet another mouth to feed. And I’m disgusted with all the little messes she makes.
Amanda makes me clean them up most of the time, and I am starting to see why people complain so much when they are in this position. Somehow, she gets her messes all over the place, in spots you would never expect.
More than anything else, we have been curious how Brando and Sissy will react to the newest member of the Ford family. To be honest, we’ve been a little afraid that when they see her, they might eat her.
They aren’t typically vicious dogs, but they have certain instincts. If they eat our little girl, I can’t really say that I would blame them. After all, they’ve been in our family longer, anyway.
I hope I don’t sound insensitive. I know that there are some of you out there who worry about rights for these little guys and girls, who sometimes even argue if they might have a soul. But I’m not trying to be uncaring…just realistic.
It’s survival of the fittest out there, and death is just part of life, I guess.
So it’s nice to be able to share the news with everyone back home.
That’s right: we’re having a mouse.
We’re not having a shower, but be sure to send along your cheese and traps, your D-CONs and other poisons, your sticky paper and perhaps even a stray cat or two, to my parents’ house.
And I’ll share with you again soon how our little girl is fitting in with the Ford family.