Today begin early for me, it was not quiet daylight and I suddenly knocked over my water bottle; damn, it would not have been a problem if the top had been on! The darkness turned to gray and refuses to change; it is raining here in Wisconsin with a temperature reading of 50 degrees. The snow came in October, left quickly and has not returned, this makes for a shorter winter season and I am certain that some love it, I do. Who does not love it, those who ski, snowboard, snowshoe, or the children who just want to play in it? My thoughts, I live within the walls of my very own sanctuary where I write, paint, watch movies and those other normal living characteristic that make up the remainder of who I am. Who am I? I am still in search of the answer to that question, one would think that after living eight decades that one would have it all figured out, no!
My great-grandmother told me when she was in her nineties that we must know where we have been before we will know where we are going, others believe to forget the past and move forward into their future. I persist on returning to the past and I continue to wonder about where I am going. This could be a good thing or bad, I return often as I am continually writing about the past, and these days I try to live more in the moment, and as for the future, planning is done but with limited time constraints.
Speaking of the past, I woke this morning thinking of the day that my first four-legged companion passed away, she was twelve years old, the same age as I then. My daddy found her on the side of the road the day I was born; she had been thrown in a ditch. He said that she was so tiny that she fit in the palm of his hand. He kept her in a old shed at the edge of the woods, as my mother did not like domestic animals of any kind, dog or cat, or otherwise. When the little dog was big enough to survive on her own daddy brought her to the old house we live in and begin his battle with my mother. Finally, she agreed to have her live outside. This would have been difficult accept Alabama in those days did not have winters, the weather was never a concern and daddy made her a bed in a wood crate under the front porch.
I can recall as far back to when I was four years old slipping Little Bit into my bed. Yes, daddy called her Little Bit saying that she must have been the runt of the litter. During those twelve years, I had other dogs in my life, a big yellow bulldog named Buddy and two Chinese Chows, King and Queen; but the love of my life as a child was Little Bit.
When I was twelve we left the country moving to Decatur, Alabama and during all those years, Little Bit had never had puppies. Still, mother would not allow any animals in her house…we lived in a bi-plex and daddy was allowed to build her a small pen in what was our back yard. I came home from school one day and someone had broke the lock on her pen and let her out, I found her under a bush bloody from what I imagine was a fight with a cat or dog. A short time later her little belly begins to become, round and daddy said that she was pregnant; being a country kid, I did not have to have the facts of life explained to me. A few weeks later, she lay in her pen crying, when I rushed her in the house daddy said he needed to take her to a Vet, and I had to go to school or my mother would “kill” us both, not literally.
I arrived home mid-afternoon and daddy was sitting on the front porch steps waiting for me, I could tell by the look on his face that something was wrong. My first question was if something was wrong with my mother. His eyes filled with tears as he told me the Vet had to put Little Bit to sleep; she was hurt bad and would never have recovered. I cried for the first time I could ever remember, the only thing I thought truly loved me was gone.
Throughout the years I have played in my dreams many times with Little Bit, we are both young rolling in the fresh grass of spring, or I am wading in the near-by shallow brook while holding her in my arms like a baby. In this winter of my life, I have not dreamed of her in years, but I woke with her on my mind on this gray morning. I sat with my coffee thinking of my long ago friend, and for me, she will always be just a thought away.
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