HO HO HO

The big tree is back. The folks brought it home a few days ago and I was immediately suspicious but decided not to alarm anyone until I was sure that it was THE big tree. Yesterday they started dressing it up so I think it’s safe to say we should be on the alert for fireworks.
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JAKE and ALICE

I was a little worried about the last piece I posted—the one about retirement. This column has always been about you, and the answers to problems or questions you might have. Phoebe and quarantine, RJ Squirrel and our preoccupation with chasing him, the mysterious problem of fireworks. The sorts of things I and my guys deal with and worry about on a daily basis. But when the Doc started in with the retirement thing and wouldn’t let it go I felt obligated to humor him, hear him out, offer what advice I could, and share the experience with my readers.
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RETIREMENT

In my last post I mentioned that the Doc has been talking about retirement lately. Not talking, actually. Either mumbling to himself or ranting to no one in particular. I’ve tried not to pay too much attention. He mumbles and rants about lots of things and this ‘retirement’ business seemed to be just one more. So what? He likes to rant, I like to bark at squirrels. We’ve never asked each other ‘why’.
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TEAM WORK

Those of you familiar with this column probably realize by now that you haven’t heard from me in a while. Months, (years, if you look at if from my perspective), and nothing. Silence. As though maybe I died, or did what the Doc is always muttering about, ‘retired’. I’m not sure what that means, exactly. Listening to him it seems to have something to do with his job. Specifically, not doing it anymore.
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THE LUMP

For years now I’ve had this lump on the right side of my chest. The Doc noticed it first, when it was really small. I guess that’s part of what he does for a living—checks people for things. I’m sure there’s more to it than that. Has to be. Spending all day checking people for lumps doesn’t sound like much fun. Anyway, he pointed it out to mom and the two of them spent some time feeling it and talking about it. It made me a little self-conscious. I mean, I knew it was there but it didn’t bother me. Why, I wondered, should it bother them? It was a little weird, sure, but if I started worrying about everything I thought was a little weird I wouldn’t have time for anything else. Eventually they changed the subject and I assumed the business of the lump was over.
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