Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cheryl Norman & Ginger

Who is in the photo at right?

That's Ginger, who is almost six years old, a twelve-pound, red poodle; however, she’s lightened so much we call her an apricot. In this photo, she is perched on the back of the sofa in our motor home, camped at the Florida State Fairgrounds. Born in an RV, she’s a wonderful traveler and perfectly at home on the road.

I'm Cheryl Norman, romantic mystery novelist and author of a couple of cookbooks.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Ginger and I enjoy quiet time early in the mornings, right after her walk and before I begin my day, usually in the sun room (which I have decorated retro-style with all things Route 66—it’s no wonder I wrote stories for the "Romance on Route 66" anthology.). Or if we’re camping, we’ll sit outside in the early morning before it gets too hot or too busy.

What's brewing?

Please don’t think I’m an imposter, but I drink tea instead of coffee. I prefer Red Rose with a splash of half-and-half. I’ve tried to learn to drink coffee, and I love coffee-flavored ice cream, but I never developed a taste for the drink.

Any goodies to go with the tea?

I usually wait to eat anything until later, when I join my hubby for breakfast, either in the kitchen or out in the sun room.

Any treat for the dog on this occasion?

Ginger has a Science Diet dog biscuit as soon as she comes in from her morning walk.

How did the dog come to be united with you?

Good question. Just two weeks before I bought Ginger, I swore to friends I’d never have a dog in my house. Those same friends have never let me live down that declaration! My husband and I were volunteers at a camping rally, a Good Sam Samboree, and this couple from Niceville brought their poodles and babies, five puppies who were barely six weeks old. I was admiring the puppies, and one of the females latched on to me. I picked her up, she looked at me, and that was that. She picked me. Later, when I took her home, she slept all night the first night and never cried for her mother. She behaved as if she was home ... and she was!

How did Ginger get her name?

By the time I could take Ginger home, it was nearly Christmas. Because of the season and her color, I named her Christmas Gingerbread—and that’s her registered name. But we call her Ginger. Here’s a photo taken the day I brought her home. See how red she was? She’s my baby.

What are Ginger’s hobbies?

Ginger is a veteran walker, and even hikes with us on the trails (those we think are safe for her) in the state and national parks. She also loves to play fetch, chase the laser light, and hunt squirrels. We usually keep her on a leash for safety reasons, as there are many wild animals (including rattlesnakes) where we live. Ginger also performs a variety of tricks and will do anything for a Teeny Greenie®.

Where is Ginger’s favorite park?

We live on nine acres in the country, so she has her own park, complete with a full population of squirrels. She also is visited by deer, fox, turtles, even an occasional coyote. Chasing squirrels is her favorite way to get exercise. We do it with her leashed so she’s unable to catch any. Squirrels can hurt a dog, and we’ve had some cases of rabid squirrels in north Florida. Shoo-y!

What is Ginger’s favorite movie or TV program?

She loves "Snow Dogs" and barks at every dog on screen. She also loves the Advantix® advertisements. She hardly noticed the television until we replaced ours with a flat screen high-resolution model. Now it’s like a window to her, and she acts as if everything on screen is also outside. Don’t believe folks who claim dogs can’t reason. She fully understands that the remote controls the TV. I don’t know how, but she does. She also responds to complex commands, such as “Go get your cookie and come sit.” She does. Truly!

Ginger is a good traveler?

Ginger is an RV dog, as I mentioned. She has been all over the U.S. and parts of Canada, including Alaska and British Columbia. She found Las Vegas sadly lacking in grass and Minnesota with too much snow (at least in March) but mostly loves every place. We’ve taken her along parts of the old Route 66, including Santa Rosa, New Mexico, and St. Louis, Missouri, two places featured in my two novellas in "Romance on Route 66." Next we plan a return to Arizona via Amarillo, two places I need to research for next year’s "Romance on Route 66" Christmas anthology. Ginger is always ready to go bye-bye.

For more about Cheryl Norman, visit her web site. For information about her latest Route 66 stories, visit

--Marshal Zeringue

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