In the park this morning I met a Beagle named Mike, who triggered a memory.
I couldn’t have been more than 10 when it happened, so my clarity impresses even me.
There was a family on our block, The Greenfields, who had a son named Ethan.
Ethan was barely 3 when diagnosed with leukemia. Despite his illness he was a happy boy whose dad would take him walking, circling the block, often carrying him when he grew tired.
For Ethan’s 4th birthday he was given a Beagle puppy he named Amit, meaning friend, in Hebrew.
The Greenfields were strict Orthodox Jews, Mr. Greenfield always wearing a Yarmulka, never driving on Saturday observing Shabbat, their holy day.
Amit would stroll with the family as though he knew he was Jewish too. But the other thing Amit knew was he belonged to Ethan, never leaving his side.
Ethan died a month before his 6th birthday. A stoic, sweet soul with his little shaved head and big smile, never knowing how sick he was since kids, alas, live in the moment…
as do Beagles.
The next thing we hear, a heartbroken Amit won’t eat, parked next to Ethan’s bed as if waiting for him to walk through the door.
I remember going there with my grandfather trying to get him to eat.
“Poor fella doesn’t want to live,” Mr. Greenfield had said, “he wants to be with Ethan.”
Now Mrs. Greenfield up till then was brave as can be never showing her grief, but the thought of losing Amit too was just too much for her, so she sat on their front porch and for the first time let herself cry. But this was no ordinary weep mind you, this was a mother who watched her child suffer, then taken away forever.
Suddenly who appears on the porch but Amit, who heard her, jumping in her lap whimpering.
Mewling, as it was described by Mr. Greenfield. It dawned on me that was the first time ever hearing the word.
Funny what pops a file.