Happy Birthday, Dog

I celebrated my birthday last night with a can of Chef Boyardee.

Well, sort of.

Actually I’d gotten my real celebrating done early since I heard a few weeks ago that winter would be arriving on my birthday, which it did.

It’s amazing how the weather folks can nail down their predictions, but not those political prognosticators.

Anyway after scraping ice off my car locks I drove safely back home in snow and a howling wind. I could have picked up chow mein and chocolate cake, but putting the car to bed and grabbing a can from my personal blizzard bistro seemed much more inviting.

I partied briefly with the dogs afterwards, ignoring the big mess of papers on the floor from a bag of recycling I’d forgotten to take out in the morning. My terrier Tucker had been particularly tense and had torn them all up into tiny pieces.

It seemed the screen door near Tuck’s crate in the kitchen had been banging for hours from the 50 mph wind gusts.

We all decided to try to turn in early to stay warm, even though we knew it could be a restless one.

This morning still hearing those high winds and feeling a draft in the house my spirits sank some.

I got down on my hands and knees finally picking up the tiny bits of paper I’d ignored that were now lodged into the back of Tuck’s dog crate.

Looking out the window, I was blue looking up at the gray sky and the return of a frozen white landscape.

And I was likely blue as well from missing my big brother Scott whose birthday was today.

Being just one day shy of two years apart, we typically celebrated together until he passed away unexpectedly some years ago.

Scott was experiencing a few challenges right before he left us, but I’ve been reminded by my sister that he’d begun work on making changes in his life and “he’d even gotten a dog.”

‘Dog’ had always been Scott’s nickname.

And he loved every one of them.

As I was about to finish cleaning the crate, Tucker walked over and licked my hand just as the old Bing Crosby holiday song, “Counting My Blessings” began to play on NPR.

Suddenly a picture from a stack of old photos resting on a shelf in my kitchen slid down towards the floor.

As the rest of my canine crew trotted over my way, I picked up the photo.

I saw it was a picture of Scott and myself with a big birthday cake.

And I’m thinking it’s from the last celebration we shared.

“Happy Birthday, Dog!” I said softly walking out the door into the day with my little pack of blessings on leashes.

All was calm and the sun was bright once again.

And that’s another blessing for sure I thought, as I made myself a snow angel.

Moving Lesson: 2

So I’ve learned something else about packing for a move to a new house.

Never ever refer to your possessions as “treasures.”

Because here’s what happens.

You’ll stop ‘moving’, for one.

And two, you’ll soon be picking up every little gem, holding it up to the light just to see how it shines.

I learned that many years ago helping Grandma Esther go through her old agates and Life magazines in that musty magical storage shed.

Every last gem in there was a treasure for sure.

As for me, I don’t have a storage shed.

But I do have a basement.

And my nephew’s even deemed it magical.

If you enter my yellowing submarine, you’ll find yourself lost below ground for hours.

In fact today I snorkeled down there, finding new treasure trove which caused me to float off course.

This morning’s special diamond was an old family picture of Big Dog (a.k.a brother Scott) and Little Dog (a.k.a Buffy). They were a very bonded pair.
https://quiltofmissingmemories.wordpress.com/2013/08/21/big-dog-little-dog/

I’d never seen the birthday shot of the two ‘dogs’ before.

Likely it swam my direction in a box, as we did last minute clean up on Mom’s and Dad’s house before it sold.

I noticed Little Dog looks old and very gray in the picture.

The shot was likely taken shortly before she passed.

Yet Little Dog had a great and long run, far exceeding our expectations.

In contrast, Big Dog looks young and vibrant in the picture.

Though he passed shortly after the photo was taken as well.

Still Big Dog’s run was also good, even if his distance fell unexpectedly short.

I’m very happy I made my detour today, finally coming up for air up with my picture in hand.

It really is quite a treasure.

And I already have a special spot in mind in my new home, right on top of the fireplace mantle.

I know the light there will continue to shine on this bonded dog pack for many years to come.