I saw a man I hadn’t seen in a while I’ll call Ted, who’s very active in the church I sometimes go to.
When he sees me he does everything but genuflect, like I’m one of the Apostles, because I had helped him once, way back when.
It was on the eve of Hurricane Irene, when the media had us scared shitless, people buying everything off the shelves as if it were the 1962, Cuban Missile Crisis.
I remember being calm, since I flip out over more important matters like, my roots are showing, cheerfully on my way to lunch.
There was Ted standing on the corner, almost in tears because he needed flashlight batteries that were sold out everywhere. I just happened to have a mini flashlight in my purse my shoemaker had just given me, so I gave it to him. You would have thought it was a kidney, because after that, Ted wouldn’t leave me be.
He wrote me letters of thanks. He had a mass for me. When they asked during the Prayer of the Faithful, is there anyone you’d like to pray for, Ted would rise up and say…for Suzann’ah, the kindest girl in the world.
No I’m not making this up. I finally had to speak to a priest to kindly tell him to please curb the over-the-top adoration, which brings me to Baskum Dernfield, a Beagle I used to know.
He belonged to a very Orthodox Jewish family at the end of our street. I was about 11 at the time, on my way home from school, when I encountered Baskum sitting on a step mewling. The poor guy had something stuck in his front paw, so I, the future Joan of Bark, without paws (couldn’t resist), took it out.
You’d think that would have been the end, but Baskum, like Ted, had so much gratitude that he just wouldn’t leave me alone.
They’d let him out and he’d race to my house, guarding it like a furry, speckled sentry. Mr. Dernfield would have to come get him, when finally, the only solution, was to keep him fenced in.
There’s so much poignancy in both these stories, when you think, nowadays, the world’s appreciation is down several quarts, so when I saw Ted this morning, I just let him gush when he passionately grasped my hands and said…
“It’s the lovely Suzann’ah,” doing everything short of showing me his paw.