Thursday, March 9, 2017

Who's A Good Boy?

There are no pictures of him. I would know by now. Sometimes I go for six months, maybe a year, without thinking of him. He's never far from my mind and he'll always be in my heart.

 It was the first time I ever heard, "He's so ugly, he's cute."

About a foot long, half pekingese, half dachshund. My new puppy. Yeah- Sparkle looked just like what you're imagining. My mom brought him home from work. I was in the first grade.

If anyone opened the front door for too long or if the gate didn't latch right, Sparkle would go on the lam. We would always have to call Uncle Reid to come over and track him down. Once he spent several days in the pound. When Uncle Reid showed up to bail him out, he described him looking like a drunk in jail, looking up shamefully through bloodshot eyes.

Everybody loved Sparkle. I got used to hearing, "He's so ugly, he's cute."

When we decided to move to Florida my mom explained to me that we would have to find Sparkle a new home. He was still just a puppy.

Margaret, Aunt Noot's maid in Jemison, offered to take him. Margaret had, probably, the biggest heart in the world. In a real church in a perfect world Margaret would have been canonized a long time ago. She lived in Niggertown, on the edge of Jemison.

We had only been in Tampa for a few months when we got the news that Sparkle had died. He had been playing with the kids. That's what he did. He was running along with the little boy on a bike when he was run over. Margaret held him in her lap and rocked him while she sang to him all night until he took his last, sweet breath.

My first puppy. My first loss. I'm writing Sparkle a song. I don't get much written before tears keep me from seeing the page. I suppose Niggertown's gone. Probably some suburb now with electricity and indoor plumbing and everything.

I learned a lot about love from Sparkle. I learned a lot about love from Margaret.

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