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…and he seems to be living there, or maybe in the broiler, I’m not sure.

Unlike his amphibian colleague from last year, this fellow is relatively innocuous although, like the frog, he is of a substantial size. He comes out in the dark to hunt moths and other dainties but otherwise keeps mostly to himself within the confines of our (General Electric) gas stove.

Denise hasn’t baked often, and I never–but when she does he seems unconcerned.

I do not exaggerate in choosing to use the word “dragon.” This is no mere out-sized gecko, but a full-fledged member of some other race. I’d venture to say that he outweighs the big frog, formerly of the toilet, and may approach a pound in weight. To the tip of his long narrow tail, he’s over eleven inches long. He’s pretty thick, too, with a chest like a Rottweiler and a stance like a bulldog. I don’t know if he can unhinge his jaw or not, but he can wolf down a substantial-sized moth with no difficulties.

Recently he was cavorting about the kitchen with an eight or nine-inch long lizard. My guess is that it was all about territory or maybe sex, perhaps both. Anyway, it’s nice to know that he’s not living a solitary life in the kitchen, no matter how rewarding that might be.

It hasn’t occurred to us to name him; he’s nothing like a pet but more of an independent actor with whom we share only space and not really a relationship, as such. It’s fair to say that he has no discernable personality. In that respect he’s like the papaya tree in the garden or certain people I have known, but more interesting.

We won’t disturb him by using either the oven or the broiler to prepare food tomorrow.

It’s been awhile since we’ve been at home in the US for the Thanksgiving holiday. For several years past, Denise and I have either traveled on Thanksgiving Day, or we’ve already been here in the Dominican Republic, away from friends and family in the United States. For us it was a practical way to stretch my 10 days annual vacation by folding a chunk of that time over the four-day holiday weekend.

As a consequence it’s been a few years since we’ve actually celebrated Thanksgiving, which nevertheless remains my favorite holiday.

In fact, Thanksgiving is the only American holiday we ever really celebrate, even if we do regularly participate in Labor Day festivities and take note of both Independence Day and Veterans Day. (Disclosure: I often sing to Heather on her birthday, but she has the grace to not complain.)

Anyway, this year we’ll join a few American ex-patriots here in Las Galeras for a traditional Thanksgiving Turkey dinner. I’m told that the bird will be complete with the little pop-up plastic indicator that lets the cook know that the bird is sufficiently dry and ready to serve. I’m looking forward to it and to the canned cranberry sauce that Paul’s eighty-two year old mother reportedly brought in her luggage, even though the luggage is apparently still circling somewhere between Boston and Santo Domingo. Vamos a ver…

Even if her luggage materializes in time I won’t expect blueberry pie for breakfast on the Friday following the holiday this year, as is our custom in the US. Maybe that’s a tradition in your home, too. If not it should be.

Here in Las Galeras, the frog has yet to put in an appearance although I can hear him in the night, romping in the marsh that is theoretically my neighbor’s swimming pool. Perhaps he’ll make a rush for our bathroom once the dry season is upon us. We’ll see about that, too.

Further rummaging in the update department, I can report that the vagabond dog was sighted in town a couple of weeks ago, trotting along and trailing eight or ten feel of blue plastic string. I’ve no word of him since and both presume and wish him the best.

The mockingbird has returned. He was conspicuous for his absence the first few weeks that I was alone here before Denise arrived and I was envious of neighbors who had nests close to their homes. Now he has discovered the mast and borrowed Wi-Fi antenna that we installed on the roof. The antenna is not working so well for Internet access as yet, but is serving the mockingbird very well as a perch from which to survey the neighborhood and sing its praise.

As in years past, we’ve lots to be grateful for this year: satisfying careers, deepening relationships that the passage of time has brought with family and friends, our health and the prospect of a full and happy future. We’re also gratified by our new government, seemingly interested in developing rather than merely draining our nation.

If only you will think of us when having that second piece of pumpkin pie on Thursday I’m quite sure that our lives will be nearly complete.


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