By ~ Absolutely*Kate
I had a puppy named Happy. Happy was a be-everywhere, but mostly real close right-at-your-barefeets-in-summertime kind of wagging-his-love-where-he-rambled dog. The summer I was sixteen he sat beside me on the bottom cement patio step when a couple of tears did that slow-motion slide from a first love about something or other that might've not gone right the date the night before. I don't remember the date or what might've gone wrong, but I don't forget a Happy dog that didn't leave the side of a sad girl in summertime. The next day, everything must've gone right with lovin' and livin', 'cause Happy followed me through the big back yard to the garden at the long white fence where I picked daisies, roses and blue bachelor's buttons. Nothin' like a summer bouquet when you're feeling as Happy as your trusty dog's name. Those are the days that give a life well lived a certain center of meaning.
All our dogs were named Happy, from the time when I was two to sixteen and probably even beyond that. Good-natured Aunt Barb would come to visit and wonder right out loud why our dog lived so long. The last Happy I remember was some kind of combo spaniel and full-fledged pal to all ends. He led a dog's life in a dog-eat-dog world with a family who flourished like summers tend to do ~ brighter lights, more warmth, and constant growing. You know, like the way colours collide in a garden out back by a long white fence.
Love and laughter, as corny/cliche as it sounds,
is the best nourishment for
a good happily ever after, after all.
There were five of us kiddos who grew and knew Happy at our sides, nippin' at the spokes of trikes and two-wheelers going up our dead-end street to meet friends and take on adventures. We grew up in all our own stories that friends, adventures and a laughing family with a Happy dog made possible. We're spread across this big ol' country now. We're figgerin' out how to go about our new sense of happy 'cause we lost our hero, our core, our Dad, last summer. Our Mom was his sweetheart from when she was just nineteen. Imagine that! Valiantly, she took on the home and the gardens and the friends and the family that came to call with casseroles and concern at the house where Happy used to live. Through the empty NFL fall and the brittle playoff winter she rooted for herself and Dad's Steelers, but her heart finally caved. That's what solitude of loneliness can do in a house where Happy used to live. Dad's Steelers made it to the SuperBowl. Mom didn't make it to Mother's Day. Like Happy though, each of us five kids made it to her side when feelings or healings needed ~ well, a sense of understanding, as close as one could get. Memories adhered. Knowings without words passed within, the kind emanated to last through all our ages.Happy went into the woods like loving dogs who are part of a laughing family do when it came the time for him to end his time on this earth. There's a kinder nature that comes outta love and loyalty. Natures like that lick wounds so loved ones don't have to sensate so much suffering.
|Paul and Fran, together again|
Recently, I've gone into the proverbial woods ~ barefoot through sun splotches on a back deck back in Connecticut after fonding my final farewell to the Ohio homelands. I took two days, fully alone, first sick and then better . . . me and the sun, with a sense of happy at my side . . . thinkin' 'bout all the family, friends, Ohioland neighbors and good-gumption author folks who were all along the journey down a deadend street headed back into adventures.
There's something to be said for giving in to licking wounds. You come out of your woods not ever the same person.
This was me, writing
to you to say,
"Thanks, for being around".
You wanna go run or throw a ball or take an adventure with me or somethin'?
Happy Good ol'Summertime,