Reviewed January 9, 2016

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Memories and Mysteries

No matter our age, our work, or our income, we must keep our practical side balanced with a dose of dreaming. Sometimes the balancing act breaks down, in times of personal tragedy or stress, and we forget how to continue facing life with optimism. But we cannot let the sorrow overcome us. Out of sorrow can come clarity, more tolerance, and appreciation. We repeat seasonal activities and they're not the same because of lingering sadness. But the difference is what matters. The difference is our link to the past and to the future. It was always different, but the same.

In 1915, my mother went from Oakland to the San Francisco World’s Fair with her parents (center and right) and a family friend. For a five year-old, the Fair -- and the world -- were full of wonders. 1915 World's Fair

In 1952, two brothers enjoyed a picnic
at the bank of a stream
in San Andreas, 

I liked cowboys, as you can see. Rich was always my Big Brother.


On October 2nd of 2000, I wrote about our pup,
a Wheaton Terrier


In the darkness just after midnight, when I opened

the screen door I could hear two dogs, distant, barking,
echoing claims to their turf. And I could hear crickets,
slower because of autumn, and fewer.
It was normal, letting Daisy out at midnight,
or 2:00, or 3:30, or whenever. She had stopped asking
to let her out, to roam the front yard in the darkness.
So we had to be aware of her walking through the house,
toenails against wood floors, in circles, looking
for the right spot. Sometimes outdoors, sometimes not.
Before I put her in the car the next morning,
we walked around the yard
at least me following her, since she had lost
some awareness this year. And we talked about the grass,
and the leaves falling, and the mystery and wonder
of being together this morning.
She rode to the vet asleep, waking only when I reached
back over the seat to rub her neck and ears. Gone was
the pup who had to look out the car window, who sat
at attention in the passenger seat, the interested and
willing traveling companion.
In the room, waiting for the doctor, she spread out
on the cool floor like a sphinx and returned to sleep.
Then she passed as she lived, in grace and serenity.
A slight flick of her right paw and she was gone,
the sedative subdued her weakened heart.
Now she is surrounded by friends, and she is young
again, her spirit agile as it was 14 years or more ago.
For those who have ever known a pup like Daisy, we
can rejoice, for those who have not yet, we can hope.
She was my friend. 

-- Bob Lema

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