Lost an old friend this week. My parents’ dog, Jim, lost his battle with old age and decrepitude. I know that it’s killing my mom, who has perhaps the softest heart I have ever known, so if she reads this, she’ll probably cry.
Since I hate to be responsible yet again for making my mother cry, I’m going to tell a funny Jim story or two to lighten the mood.
First, there’s his name. Who names a dog Jim? That would be as awkward as naming your parrot “Mohammed” if you happen to live in Indonesia. My parents often found themselves calling to the dog sheepishly when there was someone named Jim around (other than the dog, I mean).
Jim was terrified of thunder and gunshots, just like every other dog my parents have had. So of course, it figures that when they’d go on vacation, there would either be a terrific thunderstorm, or hunting season would open. Either way, our cat door got the shaft. See, Jim would come to our house and go nuts destroying the screen door, so we would, of course, let him in before he could do too much damage. When we could no longer stand him clinging to us while we tried to do things like cook or eat, we’d put him in the back porch just off the kitchen. He didn’t like it much, but he was no longer under foot, and he seemed to calm down a bit -- until a particularly jarring thunder clap would send him through the roof again. At this point he’d jam his head through the cat door, then in a panic he’d pull his head out, taking the cat door with him. I usually let him wear it a while, just out of spite.
But my favorite Jim story happened a few years ago. I went for a walk by myself one beautiful afternoon. As I returned home I saw a big white Lincoln Town Car, which belonged to the neighbors up the road, pull up in front of my parents’ house. I knew my parents were gone, so I hurried to try to catch up to them to see if I could help them.
From a distance I saw the driver’s door open and the driver get out. He opened the passenger door, and out jumped Jim. The driver closed the door, got in, and drove away.
I told this story to my friend Gubby, who got a huge kick out of it. “Your parents’ dog has car service in a Lincoln Town Car!” The truth was that Jim tended to hang out at the neighbor’s house a little too much, until they obviously felt compelled to deliver him home (to make sure he’d GO home). Still, it sure played better Gubby’s way.
I wonder if Jim tipped the guy.