Friday, January 4, 2008

Thanks for the Memories by Barbara Quinn

It’s cold outside. The windows are rattling and I’m sitting here nice and warm with my slippers tucked beneath my desk. I’m not much of a fan of the cold, but I do love the crisp, clean smell of a brisk winter day. The bone-chilling air reminds me of winters when I was a kid. Back then, I’d throw my ice skates over my shoulder and hike to a frozen, hidden pond where I would meet up with other kids who loved to skate. My dog accompanied me on these jaunts. Some of us would build a fire for warming our hands and feet in between hitting the ice again and again. Those who stayed late trudged home quickly, because once the sun set the cold became much more intense.

One frosty day, soon after I arrived, my dog ventured to a place where the pond’s ice was too thin. He fell through, yelping and howling. A couple of us struggled to get him out, fearful of falling in ourselves. When we freed him, I tried warming him by the fire. His shivering and shaking, and the white crystals on his fur, told me I had to do something more. He was so cold he couldn’t walk. I was ten years old, and he was thirty pounds. I picked him up and carried him. I thought my arms would break.

The walk home was longer than ever. I finally made it and wrapped him in blankets. Please don’t die, please don’t die, kept running through my head. I wiped the tears from my eyes and patted him dry. I still remember the feeling of relief and gratitude that flooded me when he shook off the blankets, jumped up and licked my face. Wet dog never smelled so good. Frisky is long gone, but he’s very much a part of my memories, memories I am thankful to have. And I’m grateful that at a young age I learned not only to struggle for something I love, but that sometimes things do turn out all right.

6 comments:

Kathryn Magendie said...

I was reading this aloud to Roger - he's a bigger dog lover than even I am, and he kept saying "so, did the dog make it? did the dog make it?" *laughing* I was mean, I made him wait, just as I had had to....beautiful post, Barb.

OnDaBayou said...

I had a dog in childhood named Frisky also. Pets are a blessing for so many reasons. My 15+-year-old smart Boston Terrier has been such a good watch dog and loving member of the family. She's deaf and almost blind...but lordy, she can still sense any time someone opens a peice of cheese (her fav)!

Barbara Quinn said...

Old Frisky didn't die till he was 15, and only died then because he decided to chase a motorcycle. He hadn't moved that fast in years, was arthritic and slept most of the day. I think he had a heart attack when chasing it, because he keeled over in the street.I hope he's chasing lots of them in doggie heaven. Pets are such a wonderful part of life.

Nannette Croce said...

I just gave the funny looking Australian Cattle Dog, with the too-big ears and mottled coat, lying beside me, a really big hug. In response to which I received an annoyed groan as she re-arranged herself and got back to napping.

janet said...

I am a dog lover. I felt the terror as I was reading this one. I have wonderful winter outdoor childhood memories riding sleds down the hills of Pittsburgh with smoky bonfires too! I am glad he lived a full and happy life. It made me smile and appreciate my little white furball who is 9 years old.

Barbara Quinn said...

Janet, That little white fur ball is such a joy. Pets do have a way of making us keep things in perspective. Give her a scratch behind the ears for me. Matter of fact, give yourself one too. ;-) And a big hug.

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