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Brand New Ford

06/12/2003 11:35AM

Small gray paws scratch against the door, hopeful yips giving way to a low whine. Harrison Ford, sipping coffee at his dining room table, doesn't budge. "That's Webster," says Ford, barefoot in blue Wranglers after an early-morning tennis game. "We tolerate each other. Calista rescued him from a Dumpster when he was a pup. He's 15 and deaf as a post." Behind the room's other door, another little guy – Calista Flockhart's 2 1/2-year-old son, Liam – excitedly proclaims from the kitchen, "Haaarrisson! Haaarrisson! Haaarrisson is working! Haaarrisson!" Ford doesn't blink. These days he's used to the din that fills his five-bedroom New England-style farmhouse in the Los Angeles hills. He's used to the dog bowls in the laundry room. The baby monitor on the washing machine. The gigantic stuffed yellow duck propped beside his redbrick patio. And, for better or worse, he's particularly used to one thing. "I'm good at changing diapers," says Ford, a father of four and grandfather of two. "No sense letting that experience go to waste." Besides, it's all for a very good reason. A few days later, Ford says softly: "I'm in love."

Such declaration of his feelings for Flockhart, 38, is a veritable sonnet from the taciturn Ford, 60, who has specialized in "no comments" since the When-Harry-Met-Ally headlines first trumpeted the match a year ago. "Romantic love is one of the most exciting and fulfilling kinds of love, and I think there's a potential for it at any stage of your life," says Ford, who was separated from his second wife, screenwriter Melissa Mathison, in 2001. (The two recently "settled everything amicably" and have only to sign the paperwork on their divorce, according to Mathison's attorney.) "I was not surprised that I was able to fall in love, and I wasn't surprised that I did. But I'm very grateful."

So is Flockhart, who moved in with Ford earlier this year. As for their much-vaunted age difference, "it doesn't faze me. Sometimes I even say, 'Wow, I keep forgetting that he's (22) years older than me.' It doesn't factor into our relationship at all." What fills her thoughts instead: "I like the way he looks first thing in the morning," she says. "It's not handsome. It's more cute. He looks like a little boy. You know how when you wake up in the morning and you're kind of puffy and rumpled and you look kind of vulnerable? That's what he looks like."

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