All posts by Tom Brown



Yet not to thine eternal resting-place
Shalt thou retire alone, nor couldst thou wish
Couch more magnificent. Thou shalt lie down
With patriarchs of the infant world–with kings,
The powerful of the earth–the wise, the good,
Fair forms, and hoary seers of ages past,
All in one mighty sepulchre. The hills
Rock-ribb’d and ancient as the sun,–the vales
Stretching in pensive quietness between;
The venerable woods; rivers that move
In majesty, and the complaining brooks
That make the meadows green;

Thanatopsis — William Cullen Bryant

It is difficult to articulate the elements of grief when they involve a loved one; and, it is an even greater challenge when that loved one just happens to be a family member of particular distinction: a Black Lab-Chow mix with bent, deformed hind-quarters from a near fatal encounter with a car, and rescued from Houston, Texas by my daughter who was in graduate school completing her PhD.

When my daughter called to inform me of her decision to adopt a dog, I responded as any parent might, especially one who forgets from time to time that his children are adults and not those wee creatures who still cavort in his memories; I reminded her of the extra responsibiliites, to say nothing of the inconvenience associated with having and keeping a pet. Of course the adoption was a foregone conclusion, the call was more a curtesy and to inform me of this latest member’s name. Judy. And so I did my best Cary Grant Judy, Judy, Judy imitation. My daughter told me that someone else had done the same thing when informed of the dog’s name and had never heard about the comedic association of this stilted delivery to Grant; it was standard fare for every celebrity impersonator’s routine. My daughter chose Judy as the closest sounding name to the one given the dog at the rescue shelter, Beauty. She was black, evoked compassion from everyone who saw her, so Beauty became her monicker during her stay in the animal shelter, but she was a Judy, one of a kind in name, personality, and life, for as long as it was hers to possess. Continue reading Judy