Saturday, September 23, 2006

Journal of a Living Lady #282

Nancy White Kelly

It is 3:30 in the morning. I put on my bedroom slippers and head to kitchen for a cup of java and then on to the computer hoping for some inspiration. Very seldom do I know what I am going to write in this column before I actually place my fingers on the keyboard.

Since Oppie, our aging Chihuahua, passed away last month, the house has been unusually quiet. I miss Oppie’s tiny little toes scampering over the kitchen linoleum. She was never shy in letting her desire to eat be known. She always had her own kibble and fresh water by the kitchen window. Unless the squirrels were robbing the bird feeders, she didn’t visit that area often. I don’t ever think she admitted to being a dog. Even the dry bones given by the drive-through bank teller were snubbed by Oppie. She wanted people food and her two top choices were pound cake and pimento cheese.

Unfortunately Oppie’s fondness for pimento cheese caused her to fall out of favor with my mother when visiting her in Memphis. As coincidence would have it, pimento cheese was my mother’s favorite food also.

One night, for her bedtime snack, Mama nt nless the squirrels aremeticulously prepared a sandwich overflowing with mayonnaise, cheese, and red specks. She placed it on her nightstand, along with a cup of coffee, as she made a last nocturnal trip to the bathroom. When she returned, the sandwich was gone, napkin and all.

Everyone in the house was accused of eating the sandwich. In my heart, I knew better. Sure enough, a few crumbly remains under my mother’s bed confirmed my fear.

While no longer appreciated by my mother, it didn’t matter much in the scheme of things. There were plenty of others who loved Oppie. She was a bonafide member of the family.

When it became increasingly clear that Oppie’s death was approaching, Buddy and I carefully watched what we considered her death rituals. Though deaf and nearly blind, she fared well during daylight hours. At night she would become confused with her surroundings. Always an inside dog, she began dragging her little blankets through the doggie door to the outside carport where she slept through the night. Sometimes, at sunset, she would move continually in slow, methodical circles, occasionally stopping to rearrange her blankets. This ritual continued for over an hour before she would settle down and cover herself from head to toe.

A nurse told me that Oppie was exhibiting the canine form of Alzheimer’s which she called Sundowner’s Syndrome. Such unusual behavior must be the outward expression of some inner sense of demise. is an inate sense within us that prepares her for that time in life is us us unnubebt..

When I was knocking on heaven’s doors in mid-summer, following complete kidney failure, I sensed the rustling of angel wings. Others did too. One of my dearest friends told me later that she had already picked out the clothes she was going to wear to my funeral.

Obviously the escorting angels returned to their estate. My friend’s clothes are back in the closet. I feel more alive today than I have in many, many months.

Top that!


Anonymous said...

Very good stuff..

Anonymous said...

This is my first time i visit here. I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here! keep up the good work.