Friday, July 25, 2014

The Book of Barkley is Out!

They say that you really die twice.  The day your body gives up and then again when your name is spoken for the last time.

On December 11, 2008, the best dog that I ever had succumbed to Lymphoma.  I had always had Labs and for 30 years they had always been black Labs.  When he died, I couldn't get another.  It wouldn't have been fair to the new dog to look like O.J. but not be O.J.  

That evening, I started writing down notes about silly things that O.J. had done over the years, about unusual mannerisms that he had like popping his jaws like an angry bear when he was excited and a whole lot about how he seemed to be made of pure love.  I couldn't stand the thought that his memory would fade away and even that would be gone one day.  I thought I might write a long post here or maybe even a book so he'd always be out there in someone's library somewhere.

I had page after page of notes but didn't write anything more.

A year or two later, I was inspecting a house that was being sold by an Estate.   They had just finished the Estate sale and the place was full of stuff that nobody wanted.  On the kitchen table, a painting of a black Lab in some tall grass by a pond stuck out from under the rest of the unwantable rummage.   It was amateurish. Certainly not anything you'd hang up in your living room but it reminded me of my notes and why I took them.  Someone had painted it.  Probably the deceased homeowner or maybe a spouse or a grandkid.  It was a painting of somebody's black Lab and somebody cared enough about the dog to paint it.   It was all that was left of one dog's life and an important part of a person's.

The painting had a piece of tape on it that said "$1.00."  Nobody had wanted it for even one dollar.  I thought about taking it and leaving a dollar on the counter but the sale was over and nobody was there but me so, technically, I couldn't buy it.  Besides, what if the heirs had decided to keep it?  Maybe it wasn't for sale anymore.  One doesn't stay in a business that involves going into peoples' homes very long by being a thief.   I decided to call the realtor to find out the next morning.

The realtor told me that I should have just taken the painting because the heirs had already hired a crew to clean the place out and everything would be thrown away later that day.    I went by after work to see if they were still there but the place was empty.   That black Lab died his second time that day.

Still, I didn't write anything about O.J.   Its just not easy.  Besides missing him, there's the question of talent.  I have too much of the missing and not enough of the talent.

Thankfully, when Barkley died, Brigid didn't let him just fade away.   The Book of Barkley is now published and available as an e-book or an analog version from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.   She has this link on her blog where you can get them.  Amazon says they are temporarily out of stock so I back ordered a paper copy and then bought the e-book too.   If you haven't been reading the excerpts she's been posting on her blog, you might think its just another book about a dog but its not.  Its so much more this talentless old fart can't begin to explain it.  I won't even try.  Just go buy the book.   You'll see. 

1 comment:

Home on the Range said...

What you wrote of that black lab in the painting moved me to tears. For that, I will remember him, as we should.