I’m sitting here by the fire in my rocker. It’s 10:45, and I just got home fifteen minutes ago. I was supposed to be off all day today. My plans were to get up about 8 and after making showering and making coffee to start on my taxes. It’s Feb 27th, and I’m late getting everything together for my accountant. I remember earlier years when I used to do them myself. It sure was cheaper, but there is no way I would attempt it now. It’s like everything else in life, it all seems more complicated than it used to.
I was talking to someone at work about how it was when I was growing up. We lived on a dirt road that circled around a lake. I had a dog named Rocky. He was a Dalmatian. My dad called him Damnation because he was so dumb. But he was loyal, and he was my dog, loyal to me. That was long before people had fenced in yards, or you had to had a dog on a leash. I would get on my bicycle and take off. Rocky was always at my side. I might be gone four hours, or all day. It was a time before child predators. It was a time when parents didn’t worry. It was a time when dogs ran free, for good or bad. It was a simpler time. Now you don’t dare let you child or grandchild get out of the yard without supervision. Your dog had better be fenced in, and not get out or you will probably face a lawsuit. But back then we didn’t worry about any of that. My only worry was the dog up the street that liked to chase bicycles. He also was big, and tried to fight Rocky. Most of the days I would try to go the other way around the lake. But sometimes, especially if I was running late, I would take the chance and try to get past my biggest fear. The key was speed. If I could be going fast enough, and surprise him, he might give up without much of a chance. Luckily it was downhill heading back home. So I would try to build up my speed and keep Rocky close. I didn’t want Rocky giving away my surprise. Then if the dog came after me I would take my feet off the pedals, and raise them as high as I could so he couldn’t bite me. I would coast downhill until he gave up. I would then pedal home. Most of the time it worked, and I made it without a scratch. Every now and then I might get a scratch. Never in my wildest dreams did we even entertain the idea of a lawsuit. Never did we even think to ask the owners to put their dog on a leash. That’s just the way it was. Sometimes I wish our children and grandchildren could experience life like this.
Today we have to manufacture friends, keep pets either behind fences or on leashes. I even saw a cat on a leash. Now that was weird. Today we have to worry about abductions, child predators, all the stuff that we didn’t even know existed 20 years ago. Julia and I were very blessed. We were able to raise our girls on 13 acres of land, yet still be close to civilization. Jennifer and Lisa didn’t have to have a fenced in yard, and in the early years, our dogs and cats roamed freely around our property. As I look back, it was a happy fun time. We sacrificed many things to live on the land. We didn’t have money for a lot of things because we were paying for the land. But Julia and I had priorities. Our first was to have a safe place where our girls could grow up and play with as much freedom as possible.
Sitting her by the fire, I can look over my shoulder and see a picture of Julia and Me taken on December 19th. If you had told me then that I would be here writing about her now I would have said you were crazy. She looks so healthy, so alive. She had just turned 60 on Thanksgiving Day. She was the picture of health. A young vibrate 60 year old who could easily pass for 50. She hadn’t been sick for years. I still can’t believe it when I write it. How can she be gone? How could she get so sick so quickly? How could we not recognize that she was that sick? I love the picture. I love it because it catches her spirit so well. Her smile is so contagious that I can’t help smiling when I see it. So I find myself looking at it a lot. It is one of my main connections to her. AS I sit here tonight, I’m not grieving; the fog of grief is not here. But I am lonely, and I really do miss her. I miss her smile. I miss her voice. Anyway I know that she isn’t coming back. I’m not numb anymore. I think that I am doing pretty well going through the grieving process. It’s not simple. Life and death is complicated. I really do wish that I could live in those simpler days that I grew up in. But I guess they are gone too.