Happy and Playful

Posted September 7, 2010 by jimhigley

I didn’t know George. But, there’s no doubt in my mind that I would have liked the old guy. Or girl.

A few weeks ago, while our family was on vacation, I’d pass daily by George’s resting place during my morning explorations. The fire hydrant-red marker – which seemed to scream out to me – was one of fifty or so in this little roadside pet cemetery.

Most of the other markers were handmade. There were a few crosses for the obviously religious pets. And many of the signs had hand painted letters that were so old that you couldn’t read them anymore.

But George’s marker was close to the road and it was big – maybe three fee wide and two feet high. It always seemed to have a ray of sunshine on it – like a spotlight from the heavens – so it became my daily ritual to stop for a  moment to hang with George.

I’d wonder what kind of dog he was. I imagined him to be a big, old lab or some mixed breed. Who knows, maybe he was a Chihuahua that was carried around in a shoulder bag all day. I think I’ll stick with my big dog theory. I’d wonder what kind of “playful” spirit he possessed. Was he the kind of playful that would fetch tennis balls for hours on end or was he the kind of playful that would pull great dog pranks, like Tiger in The Brady Bunch? I guess the biggest question of all was whether or not George was even a dog. Can you name a cat George?

He lived eight years. But he was clearly loved. I liked the simplicity of how his family summed up his life. He didn’t make a lot of money – I assume. He probably didn’t have worldly possessions or fame. But he was happy and playful. What a lucky dog.

I’ve got a couple of dogs myself. And, while I hope they hang around a long time, I can’t help but think about what I might put on their markers someday.

For Lucca, the big dog, I’d have to say something like, “Strange Attraction to Teenage Boys.” And, for Tink, the little one, without question it would say, “Peed Way too Much.”

As for me, I’ll be content if my kids, someday, looked back and saw me as a disciple of George.  Just a happy and playful dad.