The day after it snowed, it was bracingly cold outside. A day the word “bone-chilling” was invented for (spoken as a true Southerner, I know). The bright sun helped only a little.

“Are you sure we have to go outside?” I asked Pepper as we stepped out on the icy front porch.

“Yes!” she cried, bounding ahead into the frosty yard as I gingerly proceeded across the treacherous driveway and into the safer grass.

Pep ran joyfully around the yard, looking up into various trees to stare down the local squirrels and checking out scents in all her favorite spots. She made sure there were no bunnies or other critters lurking in the local bushes and underbrush. My face meanwhile felt like it might harden and freeze. I slung the frisbee a few times though it was hard to throw accurately with my very puffy Canada Goose mittens on.

It took me a while to warm up once we came in. Pep on the other hand radiated warmth and good cheer, curled up in her chair in the kitchen.

“Pep, how can you be so happy?” I asked with more than a hint of grumpiness.

“Two words,” she replied contentedly. “Core mission.”

Not to be neglected, even on the coldest of days, I reflected.



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