Bookmark, my shaved goldendoodle, looked at me. She was regal, sitting in the doorway as the Thursday evening sun seemed to make her glow. The golden light accented the fact that she was blue.

The scene looked like a digital photo had been manipulated — a golden aurora had been added and the whole thing had been over saturated with blue. It was a soft glowing blue, but blue nonetheless.

“Why is the dog blue?” I asked Mick, opening the front door.

He had a blue piece of chalk in his hand and looked up from the sidewalk while matter-of-factly saying, “For Shannon,” as if those two words explained it all.

Shannon was at her first swim meet for the season in Two Harbors. As with everything else this year, the rules for sports have changed and no spectators are allowed at her meets. We were anxiously awaiting her return and news on her breaststroke and butterfly as well as the relay in which she competed.

“OK, but why is the dog blue?” I said, trying (really hard) to be patient. As the end of summer is within reach, staying patient with this chatty and limit-testing son has become increasingly difficult.

“Because she is a Blue Devil,” he said, trying (really hard) to be patient. He, too, is ready to be done explaining himself.

Next week, the first school year for the Rock Ridge School District begins. The consolidated Eveleth-Gilbert and Virginia schools new mascot is the Wolverines with the colors green and black.

Over the last year, sport teams have begun consolidating but the girls’ swim teams are still separate — the Virginia Blue Devils and Eveleth-Gilbert Golden Bears.

I smiled and shook my head at Mick. He went back to scrawling “Congratulations!” in blue chalk on the front walk.

The same piece of blue chalk he had used to color the dog.

I turned around. Bookmark, the goldendoodle which tends to look increasingly like a bear as her hair grows, was still blue. Was she representing the Blue Devils and Golden Bears? Next year, will I turn around to find her covered in green chalk?


Hours later we welcomed our swimmer home. Shannon was happy, hungry and exhausted. Bookmark, covered in blue, greeted her at the door. As did Ira Glass, the mutt whose coat had refused to be chalked over.

The big sister smiled at her little brother as he proudly pointed to the dogs and sidewalk.

Shannon said it was a close meet, with Two Harbors narrowly winning. “I need to work on my butterfly and I could have done better on my breaststroke.” But outweighing her own results, she focused on those of her teammates.

“I am really proud of Grace. She shaved eight seconds off her breaststroke!”

These Wolverines, these devil bears, are already fiercely united!


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