OUR FAREWELL TOUR – PART ONE
It’s bleak today – a typical Welsh winter morning where, even at nine o’clock, the night sky struggles for dominance over daylight. Wind is whipping. Rain slices at the windows. Such a change from yesterday’s gloriously crisp sun and blue sky. A day meant for venturing.
Paul and I started out yesterday driving across the moors of Llangynidr. We had a mission, one that we’d postponed long enough. Many years ago, before Paul moved to the U.S., he, his friend Carl and our precious Welsh-born boxer, Zippy, had an outing on the very same moors. Filled with bracken and sheep that looked worse for wear, the views over the Usk Valley below stopped traffic. For miles, all you saw were rolling green hills, a few pools of water, established, white-clad farm houses, and stone walls. Capped with an azure sky and puffy clouds, the scenery was what people traveled to Wales to see.
That day, so long ago, Zippy, being the pup she was, bounded out of the car and took off, leaving Paul and Carl in her wake. Worried when she didn’t come back, the two men clambered through the rough fields and down the edge of a ravine, shouting her name. They trudged across the moors, fearing the worst. No Zippy was to be found. Until, in the distance, a flock of sheep was seen charging up a far hill at full tilt. And at the rear of the flock was Zippy, chasing happily behind. Those memories and that story stayed with Paul and was told to all our friends in sweet remembrance of our dear dog.
Yesterday, we returned to the moors to spread her ashes where she loved to run.We trekked over the rain-sodden earth, past craters filled with rock, toward a precipice where a mound of ancient boulders held court. A perfect spot for Zippy. Slowly, Paul sliced through the blue ribbon of the white box holding Zippy’s memory. He removed the Indian-carved wooden case, lovingly touched the brass plaque marking her name, and made a slow arc in the air, presenting Zippy once again to her old hunting grounds. Then, it was time…But we couldn’t do it.
Through Paul’s tears coursed the memory of Zippy. She didn’t love Paul, she was “in love” with him. One look at her eyes as she beheld his being and you’d believe it too. Stretched out on the top of the sofa, she’d wrap her body around his shoulders and place her head gently on his shoulder. She’d sit in his lap, convinced of her ten pound weight and not her eighty-five pound reality. Her gentle “woof” told us she was locked out of the house, and her head would hang low when we’d return home and she’d done something bad. One look at her sloe-eyed, sagging face told the tale.
No, Zippy’s meant to be with Paul. Her rest wasn’t to be violated and her dust would go untouched. Her lovely carved box with the brass plaque wasn’t to be opened. Couldn’t be. Instead, she went back into the white packing box that brought her with us to Wales and was tucked safely into our trunk. We decided her new home would be Paul’s glassed-in Welsh bookcase that sits in his office.
Zippy is more than a memory, she, and all her funny, endearing ways, are a part of our life. She’ll come back to America with us, to be at Paul’s side — where she belongs.