Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Where is Jiggs?

I suppose I was nine years of age.  I know I was not yet ten, for just before my tenth birthday we moved some forty-five miles up the road to a city.  I walked each day to school, walked home for lunch, and walked back to school for the afternoon session.  Then I walked home. Each trip was some seven city blocks, or possibly half-mile in standard units.  The two-mile exercise each day did not hurt the kid.  In fact, it was doubtless the most exercise this kid got, for he was much more likely to be curled up with a book than to be out and about.  But this story is about the dog.

One of the first things on the agenda when arriving at the house was the greeting by the faithful pet.  But one day, Old Jiggs did not show when I arrived home for lunch.  Then.  Then Old Jiggs failed to show up that afternoon, nor was he home before my bedtime.  The desultory conversation alluded obliquely to the fact that no one could imagine what happened to Jiggs.

The next evening at supper, the four of us sitting sedately at table, as was our wont, I was fiddling with the food, stirring potatoes with fork, scraping peas back and forth, but putting little or nothing in my mouth.  A lot of silence around the table.  I finally stated, in my pensive way and with a tentative question in my tone, "I've been thinking.  I think Old Jiggs is dead."

Dad looked up, said, "What would you say if I were to tell you Old Jiggs is dead?"

"Is Old Jiggs dead?" I asked in a startled voice, terrified at the prospect.

Daddy laid his fork and knife across his plate, signalling the completion of his meal, and responded, "Yes, he is dead.  I found his body in the ditch two blocks up the street late last night."

Jiggs made an important contribution to my life for the two and one-half to three years he lived with us.

Rabbits.  Our next "pet" experience involved rabbits.


Sharkbytes said...

Oh, Vanilla- such a sad story. I was nine when I lost First Butchy. I didn't do well with the event.

Grace said...

Maybe that's why dogs shouldn't walk themselves...hard for a kid however it happens.

vanilla said...

Sharkey, for many people, first awareness of mortality comes with the death of a pet. Yet it always hurts when we lose an animal companion.

Grace, seems that might be one of the best reasons to disallow the solo walking on the part of the dog.

Secondary Roads said...

Interesting that you dad let you process events before he shared the hard news with you. He must have been a very special man.

vanilla said...

Chuck, my father was a very astute man, wise in many ways. Lucky me.