I guess the older we get, the more we recall past experiences with tempered melancholia. What seemed tragic in childhood, after mature reflection, seems somewhat sweeter as time passes. Bitter-sweet is an apt way to describe it.
My shepherd dog, Skippy, was my best friend. We were both born in Birmingham, Alabama. My parents got him when he was a puppy & I was barely walking. We loved each other unconditionally. I remember my parents telling me how Skippy saved me from toddling into a busy street by pulling me back by the seat of my pants before they could get to me.
Time wore on & we were living in Paducah, KY. I was in 4th grade & when we were at school, Skippy, would leave our house just off Schniedeman Rd. & go to my Aunt’s house – all the way to Park Ave. That’s a long trek for a dog, but he learned to cross the street with the lights & always made it back safely. She took care of him until he decided the visit was over. Most everybody on his route knew him by name.
One afternoon he came home sick & laid in the backyard for hours. Dad came home from work & said he had been poisoned & we would just stay with him until it was time for him to leave us. We didn’t leave his side. My Mom cried. We all cried as we watched him leave us. I remember it as if it happened 5 minutes ago. Daddy wrapped him in a clean white sheet & carefully carried him away. We buried him in the field right next to our house. I drove by there a while back to see if the field had been upset by new construction. It hasn’t been touched. “Consider the lilies of the field” has a special meaning to this woman who will never forget her best friend, Skippy.