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On Koh Chang

December 3, 2002
Koh Chang, Thailand

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Early one morning on the beach at Koh Chang resort, Ellie was playing with a stray dog -- I know, I'm back in America, and that's gotta look like a really bad idea, but by now we had given up on saying no. So the dog's a real good sport, letting Ellie pour sand and shells on her hind quarters, and Ellie says, "Her name is Shelly!"

She runs off down the beach with the dog playing with her, "C'mon, Shelly!", and then back again to where I'm laying on a hard wood chaise lounge, watching the waves lap the white sand, and waiting for the sun to come up over the hills behind me.

"Good, Shelly!"

Then Ellie is hit by a spark of clarity, a tiny incremental bit of growing up, just a moment's worth. She looks at the dog, whose tongue is hanging out, and says, "She's like, 'Who the hell is Shelly?' "