Bulldogs and Yellow Jackets

In Atlanta we have two and a half acres, in LA we had two and a half trees—the Jacaranda we brought home in the back of our little Honda Civic at the time, never really became the springtime purple explosion of a tree that it was supposed to.

So I was out front in Atlanta digging holes to plant trees when a neighbor (this time the real deal) said hello. She was finishing a jog while simultaneously pushing a baby stroller, texting, and pulling a dog on a leash. She was a fit young mom with blond hair pulled back in a ponytail, wearing a red Georgia Bulldogs t-shirt.

“You a Bulldog?” I asked innocently enough. “Excuse me?” she said. “Your shirt…?” “Oh, yeah, my husband is. You a Jacket?” she asked. It was my turn to be miffed. “Georgia Tech?” she clarified. “Oh, no, neither” I said. “Well then you and my husband will get along. If you were a Yellow Jacket you’d be starting off on the wrong foot.”

I went in later and told my wife about my encounter. “That sounds like the same woman I saw earlier today… Was the dog a golden?” “Yes.” “Do you think she’s training for some kind of marathon?” “Maybe,” I shrugged.

Later the same day, we drove by another woman who fit the same M.O. “Is that your new friend?” my wife asked. “Could be,” I replied, then seeing a Georgia Tech hat: “No, definitely not. This one’s a Yellow Jacket, not a Bulldog.” My wife, who’s not into sports too much anyway, had no idea what I was talking about. She just laughed and shook her head.

There seemed to be a lot of ponytailed blonds with golden retrievers and young kids who jogged around here. Amongst ourselves, we started calling them “Seconds”, since they all seemed to be second wives. The neighborhood was divided into our newer section in the back with the Seconds and the older section in the front with the “Firsts”. You could tell when you entered the older section by women who were walking instead of jogging, a little less fit, and with a dog a little less golden. We didn’t fit into either category really: Didn’t jog or own a dog, no kids or local college football affiliation, and on our only marriage. I guess we were Thirds.

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