Every year since my girlfriend, Melisa, moved to China, then Viet Nam, Thailand, Cambodia, Korea….to teach…she and I and Sydney, “Squid”, have met in Texas for a few days to catch up and love on each other. I always get really excited about these visits because it only happens once a year. It stays special.
Little did I know, they were all being pulled in my direction…to support me while grieving for Punkin. She died suddenly, the day before the gathering, at her supper time.
We had been having a love fest, just her and me, she in my lap and me kissing and rubbing her soft, sweet face. Ready for supper?, I asked her. She jumped up and I walked to the house. She didn’t follow me. Okay, then…back in a second.
When I came back out with her supper, she was lying where I had left her.
So, this girl gathering began as a day of mourning for me. God brought them to help me through the toughest first days of Punkin’s absence.
We spent time sitting in the river, laughing and playing with grandchildren that dropped by to visit. I don’t have a grandchild yet, but this week convinced me it will be a blast when I do one day. No pressure, son.
We ate and drank way too much, sat around outside in the heat and woke to an early morning rain. The first in months, poor Texas.
Finally, on the last night, we dressed up and ventured into Austin for a nice dinner and some live music. The Austin music scene is all over town. It is hard to be walking down the street and not hear notes drifting out of a doorway somewhere.
We stopped by the Continental Club’s Gallery to listen to a female duo, Barbara K. and Cindy Cashdollar. We had never heard them before but Cindy’s slide guitar was the perfect ending to the greatest friend gathering we have ever had.
This morning, everyone has gone. I am alone with my thoughts and the inevitable empty space beside me that once contained a small, scruffy, smiling dog I rescued from the side of the road some 9 years ago when she was a beat up, skin and bones puppy.
God bless you Punkin. Everyone says I rescued you…but really, it was the other way around.
|“He [Wakan Tanka] walks with us along the pathways of Life, and He can do for us what we could never do on our own.”|
|— Fools Crow, LAKOTA|