It’s a dangerous business, loving people. So my theory on that is, the more people you love and the harder you love them-the more you insulate yourself from the awfulness that is loss. This story, is the story of a magical friendship formed over the mutual adoration of giant German Shepherds, cinnamon raisin scones and pure cussedness.
The dog was in the passenger seat of a large black truck, barking as if possessed and the owner of said dog was inside the deli. I patiently waited for the owner to come outside so I could demand to meet the angry lion of an animal. “Oh no!, says the man, “he’s not great with strangers.” But I disagreed and told him THAT dog and I were supposed to be friends. The owner chuckled and said, “We’ll see about that.”
And he opened the door while the dog kept barking and this beautiful 120 lb German Shepherd stared at me. And then he sniffed me, and with a huge sigh he placed his equally huge head in my hands and that was that.
Sometimes my friend would bring his wife by the bakery after church. Sometimes his employees, always his family when they were in town, but while Jimmy the German Shepherd was still alive they came EVERY time they were on the Island. We lost Jimmy-all giant dogs leave this world too early, but we had discovered a shared love of cinnamon raisin scones, coffee, yard work and deep-seated stubbornness. Our 40 year age difference impeded this friendship not one bit.
My friend worked until he was 80! He built me raised beds in an impossibly small space, in a place where there had prior to been nothing pretty, he built beds from rebar that no hurricane shall ever tear assunder! He would bring me pots of his homemade red sauce-to make sure I was eating while I was at work and because he knew I loved eating that perfect sauce.
Mark Twain said, “To get the full value of joy you must have somebody to divide it with.”
So thank you Tom, for dividing your time to be my friend, for dividing the joy of German Shepherds, gardening, parenting, and the language of food and friendship. You know you were loved but you are going to be sorely missed.