my friend Heidi years ago (with two dear, lost companions)
Those of you who are my friends on Facebook know that I have begun a daily walking regimen. I started because I wasn't able to control my blood sugar, and I thought I'd give this diet and exercise thing a try.
So every morning before school, I lace up my kicks, put a reflective vest on my dog Judy, and hit the streets. Walking has had a somewhat surprising effect on my life: increased nostalgia.
Have you known me long enough to have heard of my dog St. Ursula? Here's a picture of her grinning at my mom.
I adopted Ursula in 1989. For the first several years of her life, we lived in apartments, so Ursula and I walked. A Lot. And we walked in the dark early morning a lot. I had a Buick Skylark with bench seats at the time. When I drove with Ursie, she'd sit right next to me, and I'd put my arm around her shoulders. She was my constant companion and best friend for the first three years of her life. After that, she was "only" my best friend.
When Ursula was three, I moved to San Antonio, where I had a back yard. I also had a broken humerus, so I got out of the habit of walking her so much. But we did walk in the neighborhood often.
These mornings walking Judy (also a black lab) around the neighborhood at 0'dark thirty, I think of my walks with Ursula often. Never so much, though, as when we pass a particular house. It is a Craftsman, like my own (there are half a dozen or so in my neighborhood), except it has an extra bedroom and porch added on. And it has a wire fence. Back then, there was a little terrier who lived in a dog house behind that wire fence, and she and Ursula loved each other. Every day I'd have to cross the road with Ursula, so they could stand nose to nose for a few minutes, and then walk the length of the yard together. She never barked at Ursula. Only kisses.
Now, when Judy and I pass that house, I think of the little beige dog and how Ursula loved her. Saturday when we walked by the sun was up (later walks on the weekend, folks), and there was a little white terrier in the backyard! She must live inside at night. Anyway, I shall make sure to bring Judy over when we walk by and there are no people in the yard. Do you suppose they'll be friends? Wouldn't it be pretty? (apologies to Ernest Hemingway).