Yesterday was a day of contrasts. It was rainy and overcast outside. Early morning I opened all the shutters in the living area. The view was amazing, but it lacked the luster of added sunshine. I really needed a ray of sunlight in my world yesterday, but despite what I thought I needed, the environment was overcast and drab. I had some work related emails that needed a response, so I set up my laptop to maximize the view and attempted to get some work done.
Prior to leaving for the gym yesterday morning, the General reminded me that the veterinarian’s office closed at noon. Would I please pick up Barnabas? Somehow when the veterinarian’s office had attempted to reach us by telephone a couple of weeks ago to let us know that Barnabas’ ashes had been returned, our phone wasn’t working. Consequently, they didn’t make a second attempt. The General telephoned them this week. Confirming the ashes were back, she determined retrieving them was a task better suited for me.
It was lightly raining when I got to the Veterinarian’s office yesterday. You would have thought there was a half price sale at Macy’s. The parking lot was packed. Actually, I didn’t find a vacant parking space. The vacant space I thought I saw turned out to be a handicapped only parking space. I was ever so grateful that I didn’t qualify to park there. Prior to totally exiting the office’s location, I opted to park on the side of the driveway next to the building parallel to Hwy 290. There was nothing posted that indicated “No Parking”, so it was better to stop without having to cross the traffic on Hwy 290 and circle back.
The General told me last week that I wouldn’t melt in the rain, so I opted to not let a heavy drizzle/light rain dissuade me. However, the drizzle did do havoc to my glasses. Fortunately, my shirt was untucked. I could use the bottom of it to dry my glasses once I got inside.
Stepping inside, it took me a moment to process the mayhem before me. For one thing, where was the line? There was no sense of order and there were people and animals everywhere. Everyone appeared to be facing the reception desk. The employees behind the counter were sitting behind computers and appeared to be very busy.
Standing there taking it all in, I looked in the direction of the treatment rooms and remembered our last visit there with Barnabas. I felt a lump in my throat, but I managed to hold back the tears. However, I was surprised by the range of emotion I experienced just reliving the experience in my head.
At some point I noted that the man standing closest to me had a large black dog on a very short leash. It was taking some effort on his part to keep his dog in check. Even though I thought I arrived before he did, he advanced to the counter in front of me. Actually, I think his dog pulled him there. At any rate, he got waited on before I did. I was still at least ten feet from the counter and attempting to figure out who was supposed to be next.
Coming through the door behind me, two women entered the lobby area at the same time. One had a stack of what appeared to be veterinarian records in a manila folder. At least that was my assumption. For all I know they could have been IRS reporting records and she inadvertently made the mistake of coming to the veterinarian’s office instead of her CPA’s. I’m sure stranger things have happened. The other lady was herding two dogs on separate leashes. She entered the building and kept her distance from the mob closing in on the reception counter. The lady with the manila folder of records edged herself toward the front of the line. I say that, but there really wasn’t a line. All I know is that I was waiting in the non-existent line long before the record carrying pet person arrived.
I suspiciously eyed her. I could tell from the determined look on her face that she wasn’t used to waiting. You know the type. They enter a room and intuitively want all eyes to move in their direction and full attention to come their way. It was just a hunch, but I had this lady accurately assessed. She was really fast. One of the customers at the counter didn’t even have her credit card back in her wallet before the lady with the records was off like a New York minute making her way to the counter. The lady with the two dogs on separate leashes joined her there. Despite the fact that I was a little aggravated, I felt an involuntary smile come on my face. I like it when I have it right.
It was then that I saw the little couple that entered the building and took their place in the periphery of the counter adjacent to the periphery of the counter where I was standing. I smiled when I saw them. The man was carrying a Yorkie. I had the thought, “ Smart guy and nice people”. Whether either of those assessments is correct, I have no way of really knowing, but I’d have gladly let then go in front of me. The lady with the records didn’t strike me the same way. However, that didn’t really matter. She was already in front of me.
As it turned out, the elderly couple with the Yorkie also made it to a reception desk employee before I did as well. I simply smiled and waited. I actually had the thought that on Saturday mornings, they should have “a take a number for people ” (something along the order of what Baskins-Robbins implemented years ago) when they come through the door. Even the folks at the Social Security Office have that figured out. You take a number and then you sit down and wait for three hours.
Eventually, I made it to the counter and expressed my need. The lady behind the reception desk said, “Excuse me a moment” and went into an adjacent room. When she returned a short time later, she was carrying a small green sack. The sack had khaki colored handles. Instead of taking the closest route and walking directly toward me and handing me the sack over the counter, she went out of her way and walked all the way around the counter carrying the small green sack. I was impressed and touched by her thoughtfulness. There was a level of dignity in the way Barnabas was returned to me.
Walking back to my truck through the drizzle and the light rain, I was grateful for the weather. After all, who would notice the tears in my eyes? It could have been the rain. As I carefully set the sack in the floorboard of my car, I had the thought: “Barnabas was my favorite dog of the three Yorkies we’ve whom we’ve been privileged to share life.” He could never be replaced. His ashes are placed in a small wooden box with “BARNABAS” engraved in the top.
I’m glad the General passed that assignment on to me. Barnabas and I were buddies. It seemed only right that I got to bring him home. That added sunshine to my day.
All My Best!