Jessie stretched and flopped down on the floor beside the patio table. She had just returned from a jaunt with Santa and Molly around Molly’s mother’s garden. Molly’s mother owned her own seed and bulb company. She liked to test the newest and most beautiful flowers in her back yard and Jessie had enjoyed sniffing the fragrant hyacinths, while Molly picked parrot tulips and removed the odd dandelion from the garden beds.
Molly and Santa had come to visit Molly’s mother and father on their 60th wedding anniversary. Her parents hadn’t wanted a large party, but Molly had wanted to do something special and had planned a grand dinner for her family. She had risen early that morning and baked a feast. They had all enjoyed the food at lunch but before dessert could be served Molly suggested that everyone go for a walk in the garden.
It was a warm day in May and Jessie enjoyed the sunshine when she noticed that a cat was sitting on the stone fence licking its paws. Ever since her encounter with Charlie, Jessie had tried to avoid cats. She backed away and hid behind Molly. Molly started to laugh.
“Afraid of the cat are you, Jessie? A big dog like you usually chases cats.” Molly bent down and kissed Jessie on the nose. “I’m glad you’re so gentle girl. Don’t worry about the cat. That’s old Einsenhower. He’s partially blind and pretty much stays to himself. He won’t be giving you much trouble. Now, I have a special desert for everyone. Let’s go to the patio and I’ll bring it out.’
Jessie had happily trotted to the patio and sat beside Santa’s big chair. Santa always slipped her crumbs of his dessert and she wanted to make sure he could see her.
Molly brought out a heart shaped angel food cake drenched in raspberries and whipped cream. As she cut into the delicate cake Jessie’s mouth watered and her tail pounded on the patio stones.
When Santa received his piece he cut off an edge of the cake and slipped it down to Jessie. She greedily gobbled up the piece and held up her paw for more.
Santa whispered to Jessie. “I’ll give you some more later girl. If I don’t eat some of it myself Molly will be upset. “
Jessie sighed and slumped down to the ground. She sighed again hoping to change Santa’s mind but he ignored her. Jessie was about to get up and move over to see if Molly would share when she saw something interesting happening on the table. Small red ants were climbing up the cloth and marching in a straight line towards the sweet cake. Jessie watched as the lead ant moved quickly forward and grabbed a crumb of cake. It turned and started climbing back down the table. A trail of his fellow ants followed.
Jessie whined and pushed the table with her nose.
Molly noticed the dog’s antics and frowned. “Jessie, get away from there. You’ll break the plate or topple the dessert. I promise I’ll save you a nibble. Go sit down like a good girl.”
Jessie sighed again and looked at the table. An ever increasing wave of ants were approaching the cake and Jessie was not pleased. Cake for the ants meant less cake for her. Jessie pushed the table again and then barked at Molly. She wagged her tail and looked directly at the cake.
Molly sighed and came over to the table. She reached down to grab the dog’s collar when she noticed the trail of ants on the table. “Oh my, ants!” Molly swatted several ants with a book that lay on the table and then picked up the dish with the cake on it. She brushed off a few stray insects and took the cake into the house. She returned shortly and patted Jessie on the head.
“You’ve saved my parent’s anniversary cake. Thank-you. “ She kissed Jessie on the nose once more and turned to her family. “Who want’s more cake?” she called.
Jessie barked and turned around in circles.
Molly laughed. “All right, Jessie. A tiny piece for you and then go play in the garden. There are spring vegetables down by the garden shed. Why don’t you take a walk and see if you can stir up some of the rabbits that are eating my mom’s radishes.”
Molly smiled and gave Jessie a small sliver of cake. Jessie gracefully accepted the offering and then trotted towards the shed. She liked rabbits and if she could do something to help Molly she would. Molly wasn’t only an excellent cook but she was a kind and affectionate companion and Jessie really liked helping her. Besides, unlike cats, rabbits didn’t scratch at you with sharp claws. She didn’t like hurting rabbits but they were certainly fun to chase. If she was lucky she could clear the vegetable patch of rabbits by supper time. Then maybe Molly would give her more cake!