The Lawn Chair is Empty


Lord of the Lawn Chair

Oct 20, 2006 – Sept 16, 2019

My feet are cold; there is no dog laying across them. He was always there, Wrinkles, from the first day he arrived at my house. Always at my feet, drooling on my toes, leaning against my leg, shadowing me. Indeed, he was my shadow.

He was my heart.

He never let me out of his sight. Even the past few days, when his back legs wouldn’t cooperate, he’d pull himself across the floor so he could be next to me. So I made it easier on him … I just carried him wherever I was going.

I love dogs. And I loved this one fiercely.

My secret dog … years and years past, Bruce told me he only wanted dogs with “proper snouts,” and so I couldn’t get a pug. But Juliana Wence, my beautiful friend, needed a new home for Wrinkles. She gave him to me one August, ten summers past. The greatest gift I have ever received in all my years on this planet. That I was getting a pug … Wrinks … was a secret I’d kept from Bruce. I guess it was one of those better to ask forgiveness than permission things. But I’m too strong-willed for the permission-route anyway. Good thing Bruce also fell in love Wrinks.

He slept between my feet in bed at night … until this past year when he started to fail and I was worried if he jumped off or fell he’d injure himself. And so he slept on a pillow next to the bed, and he snored loud enough so I could hear him. Pug snores usually lulled me to sleep. Comforting, you understand. My personal white-noise generator.

It was too quiet last night.

I could write a lot about him–his habits, favorite foods, how we shared the couch on football Sundays. How I’d slip him cheese when no one was watching. I slipped him into my Piper Blackwell mystery books. The Wrinks in those books … that Wrinkles will never die.

He attached himself to my soul. On my worst days all I had to do was look at him, and I’d smile. A good dog does that to you–makes everything better.

But everything is pretty damn awful right now.

If you’re lucky, you come across a dog or two in your life that sounds a special chord and insinuates himself into your soul. Wrinkles was one of those special dogs … my heart-dog, I called him.

I know it’s about the dash. Not the years listed on a birth and death certificate, but the dash between those years. Wrinkles had an excellent dash. Still, I will miss him terribly.

There is nothing to stop the trains from jumping the track and crashing into my back yard.

And the lawn chair is empty.

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