First time readers, kindly read the first entry for October 27, 2012, when this story began:
* * * *
"Dear Sir Lancelot,
Without your given name, I'm deprived of the opportunity to give you the cold shoulder by addressing emails to you as "Mr. Thistlewaite," or "Mr. Crabapple," or whatever it may be.
In further reply to your email, you should know that for a very long time, I bristled when anyone but family and very close friends called me Janie. I've mellowed, but until I know your identity, I'd prefer to be addressed as Jane.
Since the emails I've received from you have all been written at or around 3:45 a.m., I'm suspicious you're the guy from Malaysia, or one of his cronies, who purports to be there on business purchasing exotic gems. I fully expect to receive an email in the next day or so explaining that you've been robbed and need me to wire you emergency funds. I won't fall for it. Sorry.
Our dog and his companion now live elsewhere. It's part of the pathetic backstory I can't tell without crying, so you have now been inducted into the fraternity consisting of the handful of men who have brought me to tears.
I will provide a short synopsis of that chapter of my life, but no more. The dog in the photo's name is Pete, which is short for Peter Pan. I'm not going to worry about proper punctuation or spelling with tears coursing down my cheeks, so bear with me, okay? We adopted him and Lily (short for Tigerlily) from a local greyhound adoption organization after I had my daughter's beagle, who was terminally ill, put to sleep.
Pete (aka Rainman) was pretty withdrawn when he arrived, but Tigerlily was almost called Tiggerlily because she behaved like her top was made out of rubber and her bottom was made out of springs.
Pete, as you may have surmised, eventually adjusted and made himself at home. His track name was "Victory Dancer." Lily's was "Zingo." We know nothing more about them, but suspect Lily was retired because although she won many races, she was terribly accident prone. She suffered the same injury as Barbaro tearing around the woods behind our house and had to have stainless steel rods attached to the outside of her leg. My daughter took one look at her post-surgery and had to look away.
"Mommy . . . she looks like Frankendog!" And indeed she did. Lily recovered, but later lost the end of her tail in the dog door at the boarding kennel.
At the time, we lived on 2 and 1/2 acres on a wooded hill overlooking a lake. We had a pond, which was stocked with bass, bluegill and sunfish. I added some young triploid grass-eating carp to control the aquatic vegetation. I probably should have erected a sign that read, "This pond is patrolled by guardfish," since the Alpha carp grew to be quite large. So large, in fact, we dubbed him "Bruce," after the mechanical rubber shark in the movie "Jaws." He flapped his two foot tail and left such a huge wake when anyone approached, our neighbor was afraid to cut through our yard when she made periodic visits to give us a bag of vegetables from her amazing garden. She chose, instead, to take the long way around the pond, ducking the low branches of the weeping willow to make her deliveries, which were accompanied by pamphlets from her church. If my daughter was home alone, she knew it was polite to say, "Thanks Mrs. P; I can't talk about the Lord, right now, since I'm doing my homework."
In addition to Bruce, a 12 inch large-mouthed bass, named Oscar, inhabited our pond and so craved human contact he often jumped onto the bare hook attached to any fishing line thrown by the kids who came to play at our house. Oscar was a wise old fish who knew his life would be spared again and again.
A pair of geese, named Gomez and Morticia (aka "Go and Mo"), nested each year next to the pond. We recognized them because Mo had a limp and Go had a patch of white feathers on his head. We imagined all sorts of explanations for that characteristic, from misjudging the height of a bridge to being hit by a random piece of space junk. In any event, they returned from Florida each year later than the rest of their counterparts because they were so old and slow. I don't know for a fact they wintered in Florida, because they didn't bring us souvenirs, but it's as good a guess as any.
The year before we moved away, a new pair of geese arrived much earlier in the Spring. I like to think one of them was returning to his or her birthplace, just as Papa Gomez and Mama Morticia had for all the years we'd lived there. I'm just as certain Go and Mo arrived in goose heaven together.
If we still lived there, and you weren't in Malaysia, I might have invited you to dinner.
P.S. Pete's not playing dead. He's sound asleep. It takes a lot of energy to drag stuff around the house when no one's looking.