Friday, November 16, 2007

In Memorial

We used to have these two dogs, Boo Radley and Gatsby. We got Boo Radley when we first got married. He was the naughtiest dog who ever lived. We could never have toilet paper on the roll where it belongs because he would pull it all off and eat it. He lived to be 12 years old and would still do it (if we occasionally tried to put it on the roll in a burst of optimism) even though he had arthritis. We could never use any wastebasket or garbage can that was not enclosed in some sort of cabinet. We could never leave any food out for any period of time however brief on any surface, including high-up countertops. Once we had some friends over for dinner and then had dessert in the family room. One of our guests couldn't finish his, and put his plate on the coffee table. We sat around and talked for hours, while Boo Radley slept deeply, snoring, on the couch. When our friends left, we of course walked them to the door. In that brief moment of time (he had been awaiting his opportunity all evening--what had we been thinking, talking for so long) he was wide awake, up from the couch, and calmly eating the remaining piece of eclair cake.

One time, at our previous house, Darren left the basement door open (unusual for him). Keep in mind that our previous house was huge. Cavernous. 3,000+ square feet with 11-foot ceilings. We had three living rooms and two bathrooms the size of living rooms. We had a full English walk-out basement. The basement was dark and used only for storage. At the far end of the basement, Darren had a cluttered work bench. On the bench, he had put the remainder of a bag of unshelled, salted peanuts he had gotten at a Kane County Cougars game. Boo Radley had never eaten peanuts. To my knowledge, he had hardly ever been in the basement and had no interest in going.

Yet, when we got home and went up to our bedroom on the third floor, our bed held the remains of an empty plastic peanut bag and all sorts of peanut shells. So. In our absence, Boo Radley had gone to the dark basement, gone to the farthest corner of said basement, rummaged through the various detritus in the dark basement, found the bag of peanuts, carried the bag in his mouth up not one, but two very long flights of stairs, hopped up onto our high, Victorian bed and eaten them. In comfort.

How I miss that dog.

But, this week, Darren and I have decided that Boo's spirit lives on. He has been reincarnated, if you will, into our youngest daughter. All of a sudden, in addition to her infamous wallpaper-ripping activities (and Boo so would have done that if he could have) Elaine can leave no roll of toilet paper left unrolled.

Every time I sit down to eat, even if she's just eaten a large meal herself, she will climb up on my lap, push her face by my plate, and insist, "Mine. Mine," until I give her a little tidbit. And on Wednesday, I left a garbage bag of trash just inside the kitchen door for one of us to take out on our way to church that night. I came down and found her sitting by the (now open) bag of trash with a good portion of the contents strewn around her on the floor and an empty Sprite bottle in her hand as she attempted to drink from it. I'd have pictures of it, but I guess you understand that the first thing on my mind when I saw that wasn't grabbing the camera.

Boo Radley. RIP, buddy. Or...maybe not.

1 comment:

Juliet said...

I better not ask what was on your mind. Perhaps I should start calling her Boo Elaine. She wouldn't know what it least not yet.