Pickles is such a fatty fat boy … but so-oh cute.
Yesterday I told you about my visit to Little Friends Pet Memorial.
Today I got a call from Greg at Little Friends. He told me that Jane (the nice woman I spoke to yesterday) told him about my question about K2’s missing plaque. He told me that he was the most senior employee and that ten to fifteen years ago the site had been vandalized and all of the plaques had been ripped off of the memorial walls and tossed into the fish ponds. He was the one who rescued the plaques, but he wasn’t sure he had gotten all of them. He also told me that they had even replaced several of the plaques that had been damaged.
Greg then told me that they would make up a new plaque for K2 and try to place it as close to Anna’s plaque as possible.
He asked me what I wanted K2’s plaque to say. I suggested “K-2 With Anna Forever” since I didn’t remember what the original plaque said. Greg agreed and told me it would take about ninety days to get the new plaque made and they they would give me a call when it was up so I could come out and view it. He also told me that if I had any questions or concerns to please not hesitate to give them a call. It was an emotional conversation for me (as is typing this out now).
I will provide an update once K2’s plaque is up. More to come …
a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations
Hanging in our master bathroom is a picture we picked up in a
junk antique store somewhere in rural Texas. It is a fit starting place for today’s tale.
In 1981 the Mrs and I moved from Bergen Park Colorado (Bergen Park Dreams, Olde Time Radio) to John Rolfe Lane, a rent house in the suburbs west of Houston to begin my career in the oil patch. We lived at John Rolfe Lane from 1981 to 1989, when we moved into the current Catbeard Manor, using the severance package from my first employer as down payment. Both of our sons were born at John Rolfe Lane.
The John Rolfe Lane residence is a but a few blocks north of Catbeard Manor in a different subdivision, yet sufficiently out of my way that I must intentionally drive past it. I rarely do so, maybe once every ten years. I did so today. Gone was the large tree in the front yard and the red tip photinia growing between the windows of what were the two boys bedrooms. Gone were the shrubs up against the front of the house. Gone was the flower bed around the mail box. In their place was a newly planted tree (looks like an oak of some sort) and an otherwise barren, but well cared for, front yard. I have many photos of John Rolfe Lane … somewhere. If I find them, perhaps I will post them in the future.
We moved from Bergen Park with two dogs, K2 (male) and Anna (female). Their tale is one that deserves a much more detailed elaboration, but I will give you the condensed version now …
K2 was a wedding present from Jeff and Cheryl. His name came from pen 2K at the Dumb Friends Society in Denver. He was alleged to be part Collie / part Australian Shepherd, but I actually think that the “Australian Shepherd” part was in fact coyote. K2 was the smartest dog I have ever known. As a puppy he had enormous ears. I remember noting that he did not bark when we picked him up (turned out to be a nasty case of kennel cough). I vividly remember the drive home when we stopped by a Dairy Queen for a burger. Not sure what followed next but I recall wondering if K2 was hungry only to discover him in my lap devouring my burger. One could not have wanted for a more loyal dog. He would defend us to the death against small children (we think he has abused). Yet he easily accepted his role in our pack as the defender of our children. We used to keep him on a long lunge line attached to the front door of John Rolfe Lane where he would sleep in the entry way. One night we heard a muffled grunt and we ran to the entry way to find the door open and blood on K2’s muzzle. We think that someone had kicked in the front door and a surprised K2 had “taken a bite out of crime”. Only the lunge line had kept him from pursuit. I reinforced the locks after that.
K2 is also the name of the mountain next to Mount Everest. Our next adoptee occurred courtesy of our vet in Bergen Park, Dr. Nealy. She was the only pet we never had neutered, a cat we named Everest. Not long after we got Everest, we were grocery shopping in Evergreen south of Bergen Park and a young boy had a grocery cart full of mixed Samoyed / Golden Retriever puppies. I bought a bag of dog food and came home with Anna Purna (another mountain near Everest). Anna was the stereotypical dumb blond, a Samoyed with floppy gold tipped ears. She was the sweetest, gentlest, most patient creature you could ever have. In Bergen Park the drive way was paved in smooth river rocks. I threw them for her and she loved to chase them. One day I threw one for her from the second story balcony. It went through the driver side window of our new car. Below is a picture of Anna (foreground) and K2 taken by my dad. It hangs above our stairway next to the picture of Bob.
Regarding Everest … she got pregnant at Bergen Park, had kittens, and promptly disappeared. The Mrs and I bottle-fed the kittens and Anna adopted them as her own. She would carry each of them around with its head in her mouth ever so gently. She would clean them with her tongue and let them nurse on her until she was raw. We would go on outings with Anna in the lead followed by “her kittens”. She grieved when we gave them all away. I have slides of Anna and her kittens that I need to get scanned. When (if) I get around to it I will post them. So-oh cute!
K2 and Anna got old as all pets do and each had to be put down in time. K2 died while we were at John Rolfe Lane. Anna died after we moved to Catbeard Manor. She really missed K2. The bard said “It is better to have loved and lost then never to have loved at all”. No where is that more true than with our pets. They give us all of their love, unconditionally, but we out-live them.
We had both K2 and Anna cremated and their ashes scattered at Little Friends Pet Memorial out in the country west of us. Today the Mrs and I took a road trip to visit them. We drove past it at first and I thought maybe it was gone, but we spotted it on the way back on the dead end road. It is in farm country, surrounded by cotton fields. It was an extremely hot and dry day. Too hot for the Mrs. She waited in the car with the AC on while I walked around the deserted memorial. It was very peaceful and serene. Several people had left their pets toys at the memorial. It was quite emotional for me, but I have always been emotional.
I found Anna’s plaque …
but try as I would. I could not find K2’s. I did note that some plaques appear to have fallen off in the almost thirty years that have transpired. K2’s plaque was there when we last visited with the boys in the early 90’s when I thought we might all be moving to Russia for work. That never happened and the Mrs diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis put the kibosh on any thought of foreign assignment.
I called the main number and talked to a very nice lady who told me that Little Friends had a new owner. The original owner was doctor, certainly now deceased, who established it when his pet died and he discovered that no facility of this sort existed. He would collect the pets and take them to the memorial to be cremated and then scatter the ashes. Anyway she asked for my phone number and promised to get back to me.
More to come …
So … twenty years ago Number One Son and I went to a Līve concert. I have been re-listening to Throwing Copper and Secret Samadhi. One song in particular, Rattlesnake (from Secret Samadhi) deserves mention.
I really like this song. The tune itself is powerful. So are the vocals. I particularly like the guitar solo at 3:08. As with many of the songs by Līve, the lyrics are enigmatic, but I find the entire song quite stirring.
Twenty years ago (circa 1997), Number One Son and I went to a Līve concert at the Cynthia Woods Mitchel Pavilion. Number One Son was 14. The forecast was for rain. Our seats were in the uncovered part of the Pavilion. We brought rain ponchos and a large umbrella. We needed them. We sat in a torrential rain throughout the concert.
The Mrs had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis the year before. My life, all of our lives, were changing in unpredictable ways. The Mrs was going downhill and I was grieving the loss of her quality of life, our quality of life. The medical bills and hospitalizations were taking a toll. Little did I know that it would get worse.
We sat in the pouring rain listing to Līve blast out their songs. I have very fond memories of that concert. I bought two of their albums, Throwing Copper and Secret Samadhi (I think I even bought Secret Samadhi at the concert). I used to listen to those albums in the CD player of the Ford Windstar we owned at the time. Perfect music for grieving. I actually own a large collection of CDs that I no longer listen to because we have switched to iTunes. I should probably invest in an external CD drive for my MacBook and begin ripping my old CDs to iTunes, but have avoided doing so.
I heard I Alone earlier this evening in the playlist of a local sporting goods store’s PA system. It brought all those memories back with a vengeance. Music has a way of doing that for me.
Epilogue (Twenty years later …)
The Mrs and I have been married forty-one years. She still battles MS and the diabetes she developed as a result of massive dosage steroid treatments she has received over the years. Twenty years of MS have eaten up all of our finances … and continue to do so. If you and your family are in good health you have no idea how fortunate you are. If you are battling a life altering illness, you know what we have been going through.
I may go dig out my Līve CDs and put them in my car to listen to. I still have grieving to do …
I have been dealing with a variety of issues over the past year and a half that have been stressful, to say the least. My life has been plagued with, let us say … uncertainty. I used to say it was like being on a roller coaster, but now I think it is becoming more like a ride on the Vomit Comet.
To quote Arlo Guthrie (totally out of context) … “you may know somebody in a similar situation or you may be in a similar situation, and if you’re in a situation like that, there’s only one thing you can do … sing it the next time it comes around on the guitar …”