It's funny how fast we slip into roles outside us. No sounds from the dogs, and I walk outside to find Ned and my brother's dog, Tillie, digging a veritable Grand Canyon in the lagoon-side of the yard. No! I cry, sounding more parental than I've ever sounded in my life. No! Which prompts Tillie to look up at me with tearful expression only meant to be read as: I had nothing to do with it, blame Ned. Before all that, though, I'd taken the two of them on a sweet, quiet drive through Ocean City, all the way to Corsons Inlet and back again. The two of them looked out the windows the whole time, especially partial to marshes, sea gulls, bays, bay mud. It is incredible how well the two appear to like each other, given the disparity of their ages, given the fact that they'd only met yesterday for the first time. Over and over, I feel like I'm looking at the canine version of my cousins and me. There was never any question that they'd get along, though there's more distance, more carefulness between them than if they were siblings. They have wandered out onto the deck now, where Ned has flung himself on his side, panting, Tillie standing over him just to make sure everything is as it should be. Meanwhile, I am planning to steal some of my niece's candy before she gets back with my brother and sister-in-law, who have spent the afternoon in Philadelphia. The candy is called Toxic Waste, which purportedly has so much citric acid in it it's liable to burn a hole in your tongue.