For several reasons, the light snow that fell overnight and blanketed Amarillo today was most fitting. Today marks the beginning of winter break for the boys and it was my last day of employment at the Globe-News. Also, Chuck was delayed here for a second day in row. That means the snow has ushered in our Christmas spirit, brought joy to me on a sad day, and allowed the boys extra time to wrestle with their dad. On a day when I could crawl into bed and cry, it is wonderful to have reasons to be awake and thankful.
It wasn’t much snow, but it was just enough. I snapped this on my way to the newsroom to say goodbye to Danh:
Michele and I had a quick lunch before I left to pick up the boys early from school. Saying goodbye to her was brief because that’s how it needed to be. I’m still going to see her and the other friends I’ve made here, but it’s going to be hard not to work with them everyday, see them everyday, laugh with them and share in the stress of working in the publishing world. I already miss it.
Fortunately, as I type this, my inbox is filling up with new messages from Jim (the book’s author), which means there is much more freelance work to be done. And when I think of the extra time I will have with the boys, I’m doubly reminded that there are still good things to come.
I have what you would call a bad case of senioritits, as if I’ve already taken my final exams and all I have to do is show up for three more days of do-nothing classes. The only real training I have with my replacement has to do with the website, which we’ll tackle a little more tomorrow. I’m not teaching her how to interview people, nor am I teaching her how to write a story, since those are skills she either has or does not have. Today was the Secret Santa reveal and tomorrow is a luncheon with Michele. Then Friday is my last day, and since the boys get out of school early, I’ll only be in for a few hours. The weatherman is calling for snow, and if his predictions are correct, then my appearance on Friday will be even more brief.
In other news, it was time for Salem’s annual check-up so I ran him to the vet yesterday morning. I’d not been there since the day I went to pick up Hank’s ashes, the first week in September. Everything went smoothly until I paused at the end of Salem’s visit to thank the doctor for her kindness when Hank passed. Tears welled up in my eyes as I spoke his name and she touched my shoulder to comfort me.
“Obviously, we still cry about it,” I sobbed. “I really miss him.”
I thought about my sweet dog for the rest of the day and well into the night, especially at night since that’s when the noise dies down and my brain turns tricks to keep me awake. I fell asleep thinking equally about that chilly November day in 2000 when we picked him up from the shelter, only two months old with floppy ears and big paws, and the hot Friday in August when we drove him to the vet to put him down, heavily medicated and weary from pain. There are a million memories in between, but those were the two that I couldn’t shake.
Fortunately I have a catalog of photos and videos to view whenever I need to see my puppy again. The boys and I poured over old videos Monday night and we were happy to see Hank in most of them.
Here he is in his prime – 2005, our first camping trip with a two-year-old Jeremy and a five-year-old Hank in Pipestem, West Virginia: