Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Digging a Hole

The shovel crunched through the hard packed sandy soil. It had been near drought all summer. Cathy tossed the dirt aside on the pile that she’d accumulated next to the hole. Silly wasn’t a big dog, at least it didn’t seem so while she was alive. Cathy felt stupid crying over a mongrel that she’d not even known but a few weeks.

The dog just showed up on the back porch steps one morning. It was thin and wiry, black, without a speck of white anywhere. Cathy gave her some left over scrambled eggs and filled a bucket with water. She named her Silly because the dog was just that, silly. Her rear end wiggled constantly and she would bark at Cathy when she came outside to hang the clothes or put out the trash as if to say, “Stop that work and play with me.”

Cathy was seventy-five years old, to damn old to be out in the back yard playing with a dog, but she’d throw a stick and Silly would run like hell and bring it back to her, then sit there wagging that tail, begging to do it again. Cathy was also to damn old to be digging a hole in ninety-eight degree weather. The tears and sweat mingled on her cheeks. She had to stop and sit down a spell, maybe go get a drink of water. She looked at the bundle of dog wrapped in a Carolina Tarheels throw she’d kept on her sofa for those chilly winter nights when her feet got cold. Silly had claimed that throw as her own, dragging it off the sofa and curling up on it to sleep at night. Now it served as a shroud. Cathy figured she had a lot more digging to do before Silly would fit. Right now she felt a little lightheaded. Maybe she should call John, the handyman who came to help with odd jobs, to come help dig this hole. Yes, she’d get up and go in the house and give John a call, as soon as this dizzy spell passed.