The ruts brimmed with rainwater. Dead frogs littered the gravel and weedy verge. This I know only because every twenty feet or so, I stopped to extricate skeletons in various stages of decay from Henrietta’s mouth. I’d just sprinted as fast as my half century old legs would carry me to catch up to the imp who was exercising her heart and body along with her independence.
The silver Honda CRV bobbed and weaved toward us, eventually stopping with the windows rolled down. The couple, hair a mix of salt and pepper, asked if they could get out and greet Henri.
“Of course!” I said. “But I’ll tell you, she’s wet, muddy, full of wiggles, and completely lacking manners.”
The pair didn’t care and were out of the vehicle in a dash.
I learned they’d lost their Luther a year and a half ago. It seems Henri was just like him in every conceivable way—the depth of her brown eyes, the size of her ears, even the length of her legs. How could they know this…comparing my 15 week old puppy to the memory of their 14 year old companion? Impressions fashioned into story I presume.
Childless, the couple’s pride and joy was rolled into Luther. A gentleman in every way, the well behaved fourleg walked on busy Milwaukee streets without a leash. Three hour strolls on Vernon Marsh dikes and dips in the Fox River brought the family joy and union with nature. Luther ate frogs while they were still alive!—full of hops and jumps.
“Last I heard, Henrietta had an un-adopted brother,” I said raising my eyebrows.
Husband looked at wife—asking. She gave a solid side-to-side shake of her head.
“I can’t go through that loss again,” she said.
and checked myself from asking, “Yes…but eleven…or fourteen years of joy so heavily outweigh the months of loss and agony, don’t they? Luther would want you to share yourself with another dog!”
We all tell ourselves stories…
I guess you can infer what I told myself after letting Mara go.
Perhaps puppy kisses from Henri will nudge the kind woman to rewrite her tale?
What do you choose to remember?