There Are Days And Then There Are Days


As I write this it is Thursday, March 27 at roughly nine in the evening. I've just gotten Lolly to bed and turned on the computer to write this. It will probably be about midnight or so by the time I get done writing and revising it. Then I'll e-mail it to Tom Brossart, editor of the Roundup, after which I'll go to bed.

Today started out like any other day. I got up about nine o'clock after having been up four times during the night to take care of Lolly. By 10:30 or so, I had gotten her dressed, and fed, and I had washed the breakfast dishes and begun another day, one I thought would be the same as every other day.

I complain about that a lot, each day being pretty much the same as the one before it. I complain to myself, of course. I can't very well complain to Lolly; wouldn't be right.

Today I discovered that maybe, just maybe, "pretty much the same" isn't so bad after all.

Today I lost a small, white, furry friend.

Gizmo was his name. I met him as a small white ball of canine fur about the size of my Reeboks, one that never stayed still for more than three seconds at a time in the yard next door.

I watched Gizmo grow from a happy little pup to a happy little adult. He didn't change much, except in size. He was as lovable two days ago when I last saw him, as he was when I first met him just a few short years back.

Gizmo was the official greeter next door. Tom might have been busy doing something out in his shop, Lisa might have been busy in the kitchen, not Gizmo.

He was never too busy to greet a guest and he knew how to make you feel welcome.

Set foot in that yard and you were treated like the most important person on earth. I've seen times when Gizmo almost turned inside out trying to wag that fluffy white tail of his.

If he greeted you inside the house? Oh, my! He'd circle the living room every two seconds, and after each circle he'd jump up and down like a drunken flea, trying to let you know how happy he was to see you. I swear that he sometimes ran so fast I was worried he might have to go back and put his skin on because it flew off in all the excitement.

If Gizmo had been able to talk, he would have said that he never met a human being he didn't like. It would have been a lie, although just a tiny one. He did make just one exception-- the water meter reader.

Well, if I saw some sweating, shirtless character jumping over the back fence into my yard I might feel an urge to bite a leg or two myself. After Lolly became ill I inherited the position of Chief Cook and Bottle Washer. I'm not very good at it, but I do boil a mean chicken. I always used to keep Gizmo in mind when I did that. I'd put aside a piece or two, let them cool off, and go out to renew my friendship with the little fuzzy-faced guy next door.

One call, "Gizmo! Puppy dog food!" and there he was. At the fence and definitely showing an interest in the little old bald-headed guy next door.

Graciously and well-mannered is the way to describe how Gizmo took things from a human hand. He was a canine gentleman of the first order. You could always be sure of having as many fingers after you fed Gizmo as you had before you started.

That's nice. I'd like to keep the set I was issued until I'm done with them.

Probably won't be much longer, but ... well, 10 is such a nice, round number.

Every once in a while, Tom and Lisa would go out of town and I'd get the job of letting Gizmo out to do what dogs do outside, humans mostly do inside, and flies do all over my back windows as soon as I get them washed.

Letting Gizmo out was the easy part. Getting him back in was more challenging. I tried a lot of methods, up to and including putting pieces of his favorite boiled chicken in the living room to entice him inside.

Didn't work.

When it comes to the "Is Tom going to trick Gizmo into going inside?" game, the score is Gizmo two thousand: Tom zilch.

But, I can be sneaky too. I found a sure-fire way to get Gizmo inside and locked up. I just let him go in when he felt like it.

OK, it's not high tech, but it worked!

Some day in the not too distant future I plan to meet Gizmo again. I expect he'll be the official greeter up there too. I look forward to a rousing welcome, and if Gizmo isn't there to give me one, I'll know for certain that I'm in the other place.

Anyway, I think I'll quit complaining about my days being so much alike. Today was very different. I don't think I like different.

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