Okay, listen. I didn't do it on
purpose. It was an accident. It wasn't my fault.
Okay then. Here's my story.
I had just brought home Mary Ellen's
ashes for the first time. The “urn” is a beautiful, polished wood
box with a picture of Mary Ellen and her horse Hoo laser etched onto
one side of it. The laser picture is so well done that it appears to
be three dimensional with subtle gray and black shading. Absolutely
Well, I brought the urn into our TV
room and placed it on a footstool next to my chair. Then I said,
“Okay, My Honey. Let's have a drink to welcome you home.”
I went into the kitchen and mixed
myself a Captain and Coke, and I mixed her favorite drink for her -
ginger juice and vodka.
(Mary Ellen used to grind up ginger
root and then simmer it on the stove for an hour or two. We didn't
know what to call the concoction, so we labeled it “ginger juice.”
She thought the stuff tasted like ambrosia. I, on the other hand, not
having a feminine palate, thought it tasted like pure, unadulterated
shit. But she liked it, and that was all that counted.)
brought the drinks into the TV room and placed Mary's next to her on
the stool. I sat down and began sipping on my run and Coke. As I was
sitting there remembering good times with My Honey, Fritz The Dog
came into the room, circled a couple of times on the braided rug and
laid down at my feet with his trademark WHUMP!
Just for the
record, Fritz is a five-year-old, 95-pound German Shepherd from
German bloodlines. He is long and lanky, and, pretty
much a goofy klutz most of the time.
I have another German Shepherd, Dixie. Dixie is a beautiful little
girl, around 50-pounds and eleven years old. She is an absolute
sweetheart who looks like she is smiling all the time.
I've been told that shepherds are happiest when they have a job or a
duty to perform, and if you don't give them one, they will come up
with one on their own.
Fritzy's self-appointed mission in life is to play. That's it. You
can throw a tennis ball or a stick for him twenty-four/seven, and he
never tires of bringing the slimy, gritty thing back and dropping it
in your lap for you to throw yet again. Even when it's a hundred and
eleven in the shade, he will play for hours and hours on end.
Now, for some strange reason or another, Dixie has decided that her
life's work is protecting me from those huge monsters on the other
side of the pasture fence – my horses. Seriously!
If I'm in the house and look outside, I'll see her roaming all over
the yard, or lying in the shade or nonchalantly doing all those
doggie things that dogs do. However, if I should step one foot out
the back door, Dixie, no matter where she is, comes over and
positions herself in a direct line between me and the horses. And, if
one of them steps out line by, say, walking up to the fence, this
little, toothless female goes postal, barking, squealing, growling
and making sudden, threatening lunges towards the offending colossus.
There I am, sitting in my chair in my living room enjoying my rum and
Coke with my wife's remains and thinking warm thoughts about our life
together, when suddenly, there is this tremendous eruption outside.
Dixie is going doggie-bananas!I look out the window, and, sure
enough, there is a horse at the fence. Dixie saw the horse and saw me
through the window, and, well, she felt called into action.
When the old girl gets into a barking frenzy, the only way to calm
her down is to go out to her, pet her and speak gently to her,
telling her that she's a good girl.
If that doesn't work, you beat the living shit out of her. (Only
So, I put my drink down, hoisted myself off of my comfortable chair,
and trekked outside to have a communion with a creature of another
After about ten minutes of petting her and reassuring her that I was
okay, she calmed down.
I came back into the house, grabbed my drink off the table, settled
back into my chair, and nursed my Captain and Coke lovingly. In no
time at all, I was immersed in the soothing, wonderful memories of
twenty-two years of life with Mary Ellen once again.
Eventually I finished my drink, and I decided that it tasted like
another one. So I stood up, and looked down at Mary's urn. “Be back
in just a minute, Honey,” I said softly. But before I turned to go
into the kitchen, my gaze fell upon her glass that was next to her
The freaking thing was empty, except for a couple of ice cubes at the
I picked the glass up, and sure enough, there wasn't a drop of liquid
left in the thing!
How could this be???
This time, I heard a stirring coming from the living room. I poked my
head into the room, and there was the big boy sleeping in the middle
of the couch.
“Fritz! Get off the damned couch!” I shouted.
He opened one eye and moaned softly.
“Get the hell off the couch!” I screamed.
This time he stood up on the cushions and swayed a bit from side to
He jumped to the floor. Unfortunately, he forgot to put his front
paws out in front of him, and he crashed to the carpet, chin-first.
His head bounced sharply. Then he laid there with his eyes closed for
a minute. When he finally opened his eyes again and looked up at me
under those brown eyebrows of his, he gave me the most mournful of
looks and and sighed deeply.
Fritz was plastered.
I mean plastered!
Now, usually, both dogs come upstairs to the bedroom with me at
night. Fritz usually bounds up the steps and leaps onto the bed, and
I usually coax Dixie up the steps and lift her onto the bed also.
Then I give them both a Wether's Butterscotch and keep them upstairs
with me all night. (This is to prevent landmines on the living room
carpet to be discovered in the wee hours of the morning.)
“Come on, Fritz! Let's go upstairs! Wanna go to bed? Bed, Fritz?”
He opened his eyes, groaned lowly, and slowly worked his way up to
his feet. He took two steps before his front paws crossed, and he
crashed back down to the carpet again with a soft whine. Then, all
the coaxing in the world couldn't get him to budge.
I felt bad for him. He wasn't just drunk; he was completely hammered!
So I lifted the 95-pound critter up in my 59-year-old arms, and
carried the big boy up to the bedroom with Dixie following in our
Fritz didn't want the butterscotch. He zonked out on the bed, and he
didn't even move his head when I laid the hard candy down just an
inch away from his nose.
I crawled under the covers and quickly fell sound asleep, only to be
awakened at 2 am by a horrendous noise that almost shook the room.
As my groggy head cleared, I became aware of the source of all the
racket; Fritz was snoring! Loudly and deeply! He sounded like a
chainsaw. And I couldn't get him to stop, no matter what I did!
In the morning, the poor boy was sick. Instead of bounding down the
stairs as is his tradition, he stood up gingerly, and, with his head
and tail both low, he slowly made his way down the stairs. When he
came to the empty glass that was still on the stool next to Mary's
urn, he looked at it, sniffed it for a moment, and then glared up at
me. At that point, I swear to God I heard him say,
“What the FUCK was in there???!!”