Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Andrew was out of town last week, so bedtime stories were up to me. I was contemplating an alternative to Calvin & Hobbes when Little Guy asked, "Can I have more Woofaloo stories?"

I'd almost forgotten about Woofaloo. It's a planet I made up one night when I had limited brainpower about a planet inhabited entirely by dogs. In each story we land in a different area, where we meet up with a different breed and have adventures.

When we landed in the part of Woofaloo populated by Bichon Frises, for example, the dogs got so excited they ran around forming shapes (kind of like a marching band): a snowman, a fluffy bunny, and a mirror reflection of the clouds in the sky. We climbed an alp with the dachshunds after drinking faux-beer and eating faux-wiener schnitzel (edibles on Woofaloo are made of carefully crafted dog food and water, so we often pretend to eat while we're there) -- and the dogs kept getting stuck with their stubby hind legs on one rock and their front legs on another.

To me the stories are pretty lame, a hodgepodge of factoids about dogs and foreign cultures mixed up with end-of-day goofiness, but Little Guy and Snuggler love'em. "Do you remember when the Scottish terriers jumped on the bagpipe to make it play?" asks Little Guy on the way to soccer.

"Yeah!" replied Snuggler, "And remember how the whippets disappeared when you looked at them face-first?"

It brings me back to the tales of Milky-Milky and Walky-Walky, the cow and horse from (where else?) Milwaukee who populated Eldest's bedtime stories for months when she was four. And if I really reach into the past, it brings me back to my childhood, when my sister and I gave my dad three or four disparate nouns and he wove them into a made-up story. I have no idea how good my dad's made-up stories were, but I do remember the warmth and sense of specialness that came from having a few ridiculous ideas tossed together into something made just for me.

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