November, 2014, wasn’t a month of great joy in this house. Well, the dogs remained happy and contented all month long, but I lost two very dear friends in November, and I resent it like fire.
Yes, I know that once you’re here, there’s only one way out, and we’re all going to die one day. However, when my dear friend, Sara Hoge, died in the early part of the month, her passing hurt. Heck, I even made a flying trip (literally) to California in order to attend her memorial service at the glorious Neighborhood Church in Pasadena. Sara’s last remaining brother was there, and so were her three daughters and all of their children (they’re all grown-ups. Funny how that happens). Anyway, it was great to see everyone, including both of my daughters and my younger grandson Riki. Riki and I pretty much ate our way through Pasadena. I stayed with another great friend, Barbara Masters, and I’d forgotten how much fun we used to have together. So even though the occasion for getting together was solemn, the trip was a huge success. This, in spite of arriving at the Hollywood-Burbank Bob Hope Airport at 9:30 p.m. and having to drive from there in a rental car to Altadena, CA, and Barbara’s house. On the freeway. In the dark.
It’s been sixteen or seventeen years since I’ve driven on an L.A. freeway at night. Trust me when I tell you that FAR more people live in Southern California than live in Southeastern New Mexico. The rental guy talked me into getting a GPS device for the car, and I’ll be forever grateful to him for that, because the GPS lady, Ms. Ratchett (I’d just read a Jeanne Glidewell book in which the GPS lady was Ms. Ratchett, so it came naturally) directed me to Barbara’s house perfectly. I was terrified the whole way there (all those headlights; sheesh!) but she didn’t miss a tip or a turn. Whew!
Later on in the month, a sadder death occurred, mainly because the dead guy, a wonderful man named Steven Dierks, was only sixty years old. He’d recovered from a battle with stomach cancer and he and his wife Kate were blissfully looking for houses to buy so they could get away from the New Jersey town in which they lived. Then, out of the blue, Steve was diagnosed with stage-four renal-cell cancer. Steve and Kate went through four months of hell only to be told on a Friday that he was cancer-free. Then he died Saturday night. Not fair. I don’t approve.
I met Kate and Steve through dog rescue. They were into Sheltie rescue, kind of like I’m into Dachshund rescue. They’d driven through Roswell (which very few people ever do, because Roswell isn’t on the way to anywhere), noticed a scruffy little terrier mix at the Roswell Humane Society, and fell in love with her. They left her there, but kept in touch with the RHS folks. Finally, the little doggie’s time was up. Carole Rogers, the RHS kennel manager, called to ask me if I’d be willing to foster a terrier until transport could be arranged to get the pup to Kate and Steve in New Jersey. What the heck. So I fostered the dog who eventually came to be called Bridey until Steve could make arrangements to fly to the Albuquerque Sun Port to pick her us. My wonderful neighbors, Barry and Ann Lasky, drove Bridey to Steve, and Steve (after trying and failing to put a diaper on Bridey) put her in a little crate, and flew her home to New Jersey under the seat in front of him on the airplane. And now Steve is gone, and Bridey, Kate, and Harper (Bridey’s Sheltie sister) are left to mourn.
There are aspects of life of which I just don’t approve, and this is one of the biggest. Phooey.
I’ll be giving away advanced reading copies (ARCs) of Thanksgiving Angels some time after the first of the year (because I’m going on a planned trip to Southern California for Christmas and won’t be home until after the beginning of 2015). If you’d like to enter, just send me your name and home address at: firstname.lastname@example.org I’ll drop your name into my winner-picking wiener dog’s special contest doggie dish, and Bam-Bam (my winner-picking wiener dog) will select winners when the time comes.
Also, please feel free to visit my web site at www.aliceduncan.net and my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/alice.duncan.925