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And now there is one….
Two days ago, Kathy Barker and I had to make a decision about two of our three Canine-Americans…Tripp and Tango.
Tripp and Tango
Old age, arthritis, a stroke, lack of appetite, balance problems, eyesight, maybe a touch of bad hearing, worsening conditions all around. What had once been a full energy romp to the top of the hill, an excited look at everything visible from up there, became a slow, creaky walk downhill. And having been down this particular road before, I simply couldn’t let their quality of life deteriorate to the point of agony because it somehow made me feel better to keep them longer.
The only solace I can take in the whole day is that those two hairy baboons, who spent their lives together, somehow managed to get low together.
It has been horrible since. The house feels quiet and empty, not as warm, not as fun, not as bright.
There is little smile that Tango and Tripp lived until almost 17 and 16 years old in the face of an average lifespan closer to 12. Nor is there much smile that medications managed to help Tripp to another three or four months. Yes, I had much more time with them than many people get with their animals, but right now, that simply bounces off my heart. Someday, maybe soon, it’ll be different but not yet.
Book is still here, though she, too, has lived beyond averages. She is still energetic and still grins constantly, but she is slower of foot and heavier of heart than in the past.
No one has yet said, “They’re just dogs…they’re just animals,” though they will. We all know those people exist and I have no patience for them. They do not understand and, barring any sudden life change, probably won’t understand. Even if they laugh and smile when a puppy cocks its head hearing a new sound, or when a kitten falls off the bed and stares at you as though gravity is a cruel joke, those people will never completely understand what it means to miss the sloppy emotionalist of dogs or the heavy pant directly in your face when they’ve been running outside with you and want to go even further.
So the next few days will be ugly, and there will always be a void in my heart after that, just as their is for all the animals I’ve lost, though nothing comparable to the void of the people I’ve lost (Gramma S, Joe K, Sean M, Todd M, Mrs. C, Ranty Buff, Tom P, Ed B, Melanie T).
But having been down this road before, I know where it will eventually take me.
Friends of Strays….
“For the last 50 years, the West Texas wind has been doing its best to blow the remnants of Orla away, but in a true show of Texan grit and determination, the small cluster of buildings at the intersection of 285 and Farm to Market Road 652 refuses to budge.”
Nick Zantop (http://www.letsbewild.com/orla-texas-ghost-town/)
A bit boiling, the prose; Texas independence and own bootstraps, the hard Texas mythos, the thing that keeps west Texas alive when by all rights it should sink back in to the desert.
Built in 1906, Orla hardly had a population to speak of. Less than 10 through the end of the World War II.
But in the 1960s, supplying oil fields, Orla became a real place; shops and cafes, filling stations. And just as quickly, Orla became a memory. With a dear friend, I visited in 2013 and while it wasn’t lost to time completely – sitting at the major crossroads of US 285 and FM 652, the rumble of oilfield trucks and equipment so embedded in the landscape it never completely leaves your bones – it was getting closer moment by moment.
I realized it was getting more and more difficult, as the hours passed, to get a picture without passing trucks blurring through the background. The intersection is a major part of what was, at that point, still an expanding energy sector in Texas. Two years later, the price of oil has crashed and no one seems to know where those oilfield trucks might head next…another field or storage.
There weren’t many buildings remaining but there was much of previous lives left in those buildings; the cans in the refrigerator, clothes hanging in a bedroom….
An empty box of booze….
A rusty blade on a shop’s saw that has seen no work in a while….
And tires. Everywhere tires. Left from how many thousands of cars and trucks traversing the west Texas desolation, each seeking that next place with energy.
An interesting place. Created, then forgotten, remembered before being left to itself, then discovered as a bleak and lonesome crossroads in the energy field.