When I was in second grade my father surprised me by bringing home a puppy. It was my first dog. I named her “Lady” (give me a break on originality…I was eight years old). Let’s fast forward to my first Xmas Eve away from home. I was in Grand Rapids, Michigan working at WKLQ radio. I wasn’t able to make it back to my family in Cleveland because there was a HUGE snowstorm and I had the flu and a temperature of 103 degrees.
I was literally sick AND very homesick. I knew my mother was having the family at her house for Xmas Eve so I wanted to call before people would arrive. I was very sad but I knew a call to my mother would make my mood a bit better. We were on the phone for about ten minutes when the I heard the doorbell ring at my childhood home. Mom said, “Okay, I love you. Gotta get the door.” It immediately dawned on me. Where was Lady’s bark? That dog ALWAYS barked when the doorbell rang. It truly was Pavlov’s dog. I said to my mother, “Wait a minute. How come Lady isn’t barking?” The silence on the other end of the phone was almost infinitesimal. Finally my mother said, “Ya know when ya said we would know when it’s time?” I was stunned. All I could muster out of my mouth was, “When did this happen?” Mom didn’t even hesitate, “About three weeks ago.”
THREE WEEKS AGO????? You decide to kill my dog three weeks ago and then break the news to me on Xmas Eve when I am 285 miles away from home and almost have a fever that is causing me to hallucinate? Is it too late to ask Santa to bring me the ashes of my beloved pet on his way to my house? Ho Ho Ho!
When I tell this story today, which I do often, my mother (who has an AMAZING memory) develops a severe case of amnesia. She will always say, “That’s not the way it happened.” I suppose O.J. said the same thing to Robert Shapiro. Mom lives about ten miles from me here in West Palm Beach and the other day I told her I was planning on riding the Harley down to Key West. She said, “Let me know. I’ll watch your dog.” I cancelled my trip.