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It’s been quite the busy weekend here. I graduated with my Master’s in DeKalb, IL on Friday the 11th, and my wife graduated with her doctorate in Urbana, IL Saturday the 12th. Along with the back-to-back celebrations, we had a lot of driving to do, as my father drove in from northeast Indiana and my in-laws met us in DeKalb, three hours from where we live in Urbana. So after driving up with my dad and wife to NIU, I got my cap, hood, and robe and we met my wife’s parents and my sister at a local Thai place in Barb City. The meal and ceremony were awesome, and trust me, I was plenty happy to be out of NIU and on to the next phase of my academic life. We returned home a little after midnight to Urbana with all three of us pooped after the six hours on the road and nearly three hours in the Convocation Center. Dorian woke up and gave us all the stink eye, but it wasn’t long after that he returned to a dreamland filled with bread and oranges. Dorian was a little grumpy the next day, what with us leaving and my dad being in the house, but the most interesting thing happened during my dad’s visit on this occasion. Pops isn’t the friendliest man in the world. It’s not that he’s unfriendly, he’s just not the most gregarious guy around. He’s in his late 60s, a former Marine who bikes 20 miles a day, and is generally tough as rhino hide and pricklier than row of barb wire fence. He’s chafed whenever we call him ‘Grandpa’ in reference to his ‘grandlizards’ saying, “I’m not your grandfather. Can’t be a grandfather to a lizard! That’s just ridiculous.” He says this in jest, but there’s a nugget of truth to it. My dad’s never been a pet guy, he didn’t have them when he grew up, and he was never all that attached to the dogs and cats we had in my youth. Well, at least not as much as he’d like to admit. And so over the course of the next three days (Dad stayed ‘til Monday), I got a kick out of seeing him interact with Dorian. Even when guests are at the home, Dorian still has free run of the house. He goes when and where he pleases, just not the backroom over the iggy gate to harass Gobo. When Pops was sitting on the couch with Dorian, they had this witty repartee going between the two of them. Dad would say something snarky, Dorian would headbob. Dad would retort with laughter, to which Dorian would stare with mock indignation and then lick towards my dad. Maybe because our laughs and voices are similar and he was trying to figure how who this guy was, or maybe Dorian was just showing affection as he is wont to do with me, but eventually, the two became buddies. It was funny to watch my dad interact with Dorian, scratching him behind the ears and rubbing his belly just like he would have with a dog I grew up with. Pops started talking to him, doting on him just as we do, and it just made me happy to see the crusty old man softened by an incorrigible iggy. At one point, Dorian thought he could get into the kitchen and past the new guy, but Pops stepped in to block his. Dorian had this look that said, “Damn. I guess they told the new guy too.” Dad picked him (shock!) and put him on the couch. At the end of the weekend, I think my dad gained a new appreciation for Dorian, and Dorian got to make a new friend. Who knew during the weekend of our graduations, we’d learn more about iggy?

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