Our errand into the snowscape–a 72-hour “vacation” in Syracuse–is over, just a bunch of fading tire tracks left in the brine and melt-off along I-90. This excursion was strange and unexpected, a short-planned trip to CNY to retrieve Yoki from his once-adoptive now-reluctant family. Remember Yoki?

We’d quietly parted ways with him in July after arranging for him what we thought would be a happy and permanent situation. No need to re-rationalize why we gave him up when we did, now that he’s back. But the top three reasons were 1) renting in new town, 2) Child One heading off to college, 3) Child Two young enough to forget, 4) high-needs dog, 5) no fenced yard at new digs, and so on.

Only, Is. didn’t forget. In fact, she proceeded to mention him every single day for five months as if she knew all along he would return. Just before sitting down to supper: “God bless Yoki on his play date in New York.” For five months. A three-year old’s determinative rhetoric rooted in repetition, memory (i.e., memory cast as an image onto the future), and an unwavering pre-purposeful innocence: these turned out to be highly effective, at least in this case (were she asking for a pony, perhaps it would have been less so). We began to wonder about Yoki’s return, too.

In early November, on a hunch, I tried to contact the new owner but reached a disconnected number. I dug around a bit more and eventually found her name on Facebook, friended her, and sent a short note saying we were just curious how things were going, happy holidays, and so on. Five days later, I received in reply a thorough breakdown of how persistent, how egregious Y.’s behaviors had become.

Next thing I know, I’m driving 500-miles along the snowy road to Syracuse. And as of midnight last night, we’re safely home from the trip, the bulk of winter break snow-driving is behind us (only a jaunt to Okemos to pick up D. and Is. later this afternoon still on the list of drives).

I’ve mentioned before that Yoki’s name comes from Musyoki, a Kikamba word meaning “one who returns.” When Ph. and D. visited Kenya in 2005, Ph. was dubbed “musyoki” by friends he made on that trip. A year later when we picked up a puggle puppy just before Is. was born, Yoki seemed like a suitable name, a good choice. And now that he is back again after his five month “play date in New York” the name seems more appropriate than it did before, as if “Yoki” fitted him to an entelechy Is. understood better than the rest of us.