Charlie has a hankering these days for hopping the fence of our neighbors to the south.
He will jump the fence if the neighbors' four-year-old is bouncing on his trampoline and urging Chach to climb over and join him.
But he really doesn't need even that much coaxing. He'll hop that tall, solid wood privacy fence (obediently stained Monterey Grey in HOA compliance---we're lawful like that) at the drop of a hat.
Like on Mother's Day, for instance: the much-celebrated mom (me) couldn't find Chachi and went outside hollering his name. Not to worry! Charlie, wearing too-small tractor jammies and a pull-up, had hopped the fence and joined in the neighbors' lovely and dignified Mother's Day brunch on the patio.
The neighbor to the south is very kind and understanding, considering that on any given day, she may wake to find a pajama-clad, barefoot Charlie standing in her hallway, telling her that he got new feet.
Just last Sunday as we dressed and combed and shod the boys, we realized we hadn't seen Charlie for awhile. It won't take long to guess to whence he disappeared.
I looked out Charlie's little round south-facing bedroom window and saw him on the neighbors' patio, sitting by his four-year-old friend, enjoying a plate of French toast.
While at times he can be a ball of nerves, Charlie doesn't seem to mind the menagerie of pets in the neighbors' yard. Unless they unexpectedly leave their yard and venture into ours.
Then it's Armageddon.
Just last Saturday, we were aware that the four-year-old neighbor's bunny had escaped. All the neighbors were on the prowl for him.
Charlie was the first to notice the tiny black and white bunny in the driveway. Jeff figured this out when Charlie went ballistic, losing all his capacity for speech, as he spun wildly off into the stratosphere, like a screaming Sputnik.
My husband calmly and logically explained (he is an engineer, see) that the next several minutes of watching the bunny gently hop under our car felt exactly like that scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail where King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table crouch warily, watching for the deadly cave monster.
"Is it behind the rabbit? Asks one.
"It IS the rabbit!" Warns another.
We all know what happens next. Even Charlie seemed to know, though he has yet to see Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Run away! Run Away!
He stayed on our side of the fence this time, but only because crossing it would have meant running toward the bunny.