Holiday Digest: Every Day is Christmas in Laguna Beach


By Fran Masket

Every Day is Christmas in Laguna Beach

Who wants to go for a ride?

I love it when our owners pile us into the family car. It is a place filled with the wonderful smells of other car trips—freshly mowed grass falling off our paws as we wipe them on the seats, a favorite old ball retrieved from under the seat, and the familiarity of our hair on the upholstery.

The morning paper is crammed under the front seat. We smell the wonderful aroma of Starbucks coffee. Yes, the day has started, and we are off to Laguna Beach.

Teddy, my sidekick, and I are ready for anything at a moment’s notice. My name is Clara Mae, and I am a 4-year-old black and white Australian shepherd weighing in at a comfortable 49 pounds. Teddy is a 12-year-old orange, curly-haired Yorkie dachshund mix weighing in at a wiry 14 pounds, but still full of energy.

We see familiar sights—the view of the ocean, its frothy waves careening up and down our line of vision as we bounce along the rolling streets of Laguna Beach.

We stick our noses out the window and a fragrant breeze floats into the car as we stop first at an outdoor restaurant, a roof of ballooning umbrellas protecting diners from the sun.

We know the drill. We have been here before. Our humans arch their necks, as they have on other occasions, as they look at the high hills above the restaurant where building-block houses nestle.

Our humans finally bring their breakfast to our table. We feast on bites of scrambled eggs mixed with grilled eggplant slices, tomatoes, and cheese. I pass on the spinach leaves. The pieces of croissant laid at our feet on the cool concrete are to die for. They flake off easily in my mouth.

We sniff other dogs from a distance, seeking a friend we have met before. Some shoppers stuff shiny black bags under their tables. Red ribbons and green-and-white-striped boxes peek out.

We are on the brink of our owners’ favorite holiday—Christmas. What my humans refer to as the “Christmas spirit” seems to hover over this restaurant in particular.

We move on to Main Beach where volleyballers in scanty uniforms practice their expertise day in and day out. We walk along the boardwalk, our paws filling with sand. Our owners find a fountain and wash out the uncomfortable white grains, and we walk back to our car.

I smell lots of dogs now. We are headed to the Laguna Beach Dog Park. I can’t wait. I was full of piss and vinegar when I first made an appearance at the park at the age of 1 year. I outraced every dog in the park and made a lot of friends.

The old water fountain is still there, and I wait in line to get my bowlful of cool water. Teddy and I wear collars adorned with gold and red bells, and when I run after a ball, everyone hears me coming toward them. I guess I am spreading Christmas cheer at the dog park.

Afterward, we collapse on our blanket in the backseat, while a well-bound pine tree rides on top of our car. When we get home, our humans put it in a tree holder. We grab our spot on the couch and smell the delightful odor of pine needles. But we will never understand why they put a tree in the house and leave couches and chairs outside. Go figure.

Our humans and Teddy and I wish you all a very happy holiday, and we hope to see you next year.

Fran and Clara and Teddy spend their mornings on a grassy hill studying clouds, trees, and birds and chasing an occasional ball. Fran spends her afternoons writing funny stories.

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