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But enough about me...

"Best-in-show" winner Ripley poses for the camera at the canine costume contest hosted by the Towne Gift Shoppe in Jeffersonville, NY.

October 25, 2012

There are those who would argue that I never tire of my favorite subject: me. But after this last week, even I have had enough. It all began months ago, when I (foolishly?) agreed to make some public appearances around the Upper Delaware valley. Truth be told, these requests for my presence were, as always, actually invitations for Dharma the wonder dog to participate in local events.

Last July, North American Cultural Laboratory ( cofounder Tannis Kowalchuk placed a call to Yarnslingers’ ( director Ramona Jan and invited the storytellers to appear at the theatre. “We’d love Jonathan’s dog to host the show,” Kowalchuk whispered to Jan. “Do you think she’d agree?” Ramona chuckled and suggested that they make it seem like I was also a part of the equation and called me to inquire as to our availability. Unsuspecting, I checked my schedule and noted that we (I mean she) was already booked to be a judge at a canine costume contest in Jeffersonville that same weekend, but I told Jan that I would “pencil it in.”

As summer flew by, I conferred with Ramona on various aspects of the Yarnslingers’ event, “True Confessions: The Game Show,” and we began the laborious process of casting, reading and writing (there was even some arithmetic involved!). In between phone calls and columns, I admired myself and the endless list of invitations that came my way, still not realizing that most were disguised desires to bask in the glow that is Dharma. Summer gave way to glorious fall foliage and rehearsals for the NACL show began in earnest.

Still thinking that I was hosting the NACL show, I took my tux to the cleaners and patted myself on the back just before the phone rang with a reminder from Towne Gift Shoppe proprietor Kristen Fischer that my “life partner” (I mean dog) was slated to help celebrate the two-year anniversary of her store in Jeffersonville. “You’ll be joining contest judges Brenda Seldin and Cassandre Egan,” Fischer told me before the inevitable, “Don’t forget to bring the pup!” The party was a huge success and the doggy parade was cool. Dharma gave “paws up” to all, but after conferring with the other judges, we (I mean they) agreed that there were some stand -out costumes including “best-in-show” Ripley, “most original” winner Barracuda and “too-cute-for-words” Aubie.