Last Day of Summer

I wonder how many posts with this title are running today? Everywhere the light is changing, calendars are flipping, windows are opening to let in the first cool dry breezes of fall, and parents are rejoicing and mourning the impending first day of school.

Tomorrow we go the high schools – new teachers, new principals, new schedules to conquer. An urge to volunteer for everything and nothing. An itch to get to all of those practical things we meant to do on a rainy day this summer and the bittersweetness of having to do them in an empty house.

Cats vs. Dogs

A version of this post appeared in LettersHead in October 2010

Our boys play a game called cats versus dogs, and as you can see, one side of the room is mostly cats and the other is mostly dogs.  The game involves a fight modeled on the battle scene in The first Chronicle of Narnia movie, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.  Devised by my older son with ASD, it involves charging horses and airborne animals colliding all over the place, accompanied by epic music and battle cries.  If you look very closely, the animals and toys that are neither cats nor dogs are divided up (roughly) by good guys and bad guys – Captain Hook with the dogs, Peter Pan with the cats, etc.  After the battles, we notice that cats and their friends always win, and the ensuing conversation goes something like this:

“When you play cats versus dogs, who wins?”

“The cats.”




“They’re the heroes; dogs are villains.”

“How come?”

“Because dogs chase cats.  Dogs are villains because they are too jumpy.”

“So the cats are good because they get chased by the dogs?”


“You’re a good kid, you always root for the underdog.”

“No – the undercat.”