Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Remembrance

re·mem·brance, noun. \ri-'mem-brən(t)s also -bə-ran(t)s\
1.  the state of bearing in mind
2a.  the ability to remember:  MEMORY
  b.  the period over which one's memory extends
3.  an act of recalling to mind
4.  a memory of a person, thing, or event
5a.  something that serves to keep in or bring to mind:  REMINDER
  c.  a greeting or gift recalling or expressing friendship or affection
Considering the date, it's storytime.  Turn back now if you don’t want to hear about dearly departed puppy dogs and such.  We’ll call it even and just part ways here.  See you next week.

I had just started my first hedge fund job, and was hip deep in a world I only partially understood.  I had been scraping along in a lion’s den of a Big Six firm.  Really.  I’m surprised they didn’t have to-the-death gladiatorial contests and child sacrifice up in the training rooms on 15.  I loathed every picosecond there.  Majesty and I had been married only a short time, and, incurable nerd that I am, I had made a dire-looking spreadsheet illustrating the exact moment when we would run out of cash.  Not we’d be a little short.  I mean, run flat out.  The we can’t make rent kind of run out.

But, the LORD in his beneficence freed me from that hellish place, a story of its own that I won’t tell today (think plagues and parting seas).  And so I was off to a new gig, where you could make money if the market went up or went down, if companies did well or if they limped disastrously close to the edge of ruin.  All was new, polished and shined.

One day our admin lady told me to clear my calendar on a certain night, because the fund had bought a table at some charity event.  I didn’t care one whit about going.  I didn’t have much to wear, so I picked the better of my two (what I'll charitably refer to as) suits.  It was the tatty black one I picked up in college for literally $150.  I had been wearing the slacks to work and church about every other day since then.

The “table” my fund bought went for something like ten or twenty grand.  Which is by most folks’ standard, a potful of money to swap for dinner near an ice sculpture.  The soiree was held at the newly minted American Airlines Center in Dallas.  You walked in and a bunch of fake paparazzi took your picture if you looked wealthy and/or famous.  (We didn’t.)  Quite a few pro hockey players showed up, and I was just floored to see Mike Modano and Guy Carbonneau strolling around amongst the finance stiffs.  They looked as out of place as Majesty and I must have.

I actually knew a good number of people in the crowd, just by way of tooling around Dallas for a few years.  My very good friend at the time, Katherine (not her real name) was strawbossing the event, which included a live auction, with who knows how much dough going to the charity du jour.  Katherine was walking around with this sleepy (and, we’d discover, spectacularly doped up) white Llewellin Setter puppy with faint brown spots on its ears.  The puppy was to be one of the auction lots, and had been flown into DFW from an out of state breeder.

The puppy was cute, sure, but not my type.  I was a Labrador man.  Was going to have two enormous thug chocolabs, I was.  But Her Majesty and I got to stroll around carrying her, babysitting while Katherine barked orders and schmoozed effortlessly.  Hey, it passed the time.  Katherine had worked at the same accounting firm that I had and ended up marrying a client.  In gun-shy, risk averse CPAville, that's what we'll call... complicated.  She ended up with her pink slip, but it didn’t faze her much.  She had married a zillionaire.

Our local NHL broadcasters (Ralph & Razor), handled the auctioneering that night.  Without the faintest chance of buying anything (remember my spreadsheet), I didn’t pay much attention.  And I didn’t notice who ended up with the cute pup.

What actually happened was this.  James (not his real name, either), the head of an i-bank in town, whom I didn’t know (although I know him fairly well now!) got blasted with a friend of his, and ended up directly in front of Ralph and Razor during the auction.  Right.  You see where this is going.  Naturally, they tried to outbid each other for the dog.  I heard the money got up to $1,500, but I don't know for sure.

Katherine came up to us shortly after the auction.  “I can get you that dog.”  “What?” I said.  “The puppy.  I can get it for you if you want.  I’ll go talk to James.”  H.M. and I just looked at each other, partly  stunned, partly amused.  “We can’t have a dog,” Majestad said, looking at me for confirmation.  “Can we?  I looked back at Katherine and said something like, “Sure we can!  I think?"

Not three minutes later, Katherine comes back, (comatose) puppy in her arms.  “He’s going to give her to you, but he has some conditions.”  “Conditions?” I asked.  A very nice, but uh, saturated gentlemen followed, declaring that he was to be the “dohg’s gahdfathr.  I wahnt visitatshun rights, pichtures, everything.”  I agreed and we swapped info.

I couldn’t believe this dude’s generosity, but I was grateful.  Yet, maybe it wasn’t 100% altruism.  He told me afterward that he had called his wife right after the auction to tell her he had won the dog.  She told him flatly that she was pregnant, they had two kids, and two dogs, and that he’d better not bring anything else home.  Period.

Katherine explained that the pup, a female, came with pet insurance.  She came with papers and a substantial pedigree.  Breeding rights.  Serial numbers for an (implanted) ID chip.  Phone numbers to national associations.  Instructions on how to get her ears tattooed (with even more ID numbers).  There were free vet visits.  A big carrier.  Treats.  Squeaky toys.  Bags of dogfood.  (You should have seen the look on the valet guy’s face as we dumped all this into my car.  It looked like I had held up the SPCA at gunpoint.)  Oh, the little pup was even a close relation to “Hank” from a show called “Hunting With Hank” on OLN.  Hank's son Dash had his own show, too.  Bigtime, high caliber bird dogs, these were.

Majesty walked around regally for the rest of the night, the puppy in her arms.  Every single rich lady in that room fawned over our sleeping pup.  We talked to fifty, sixty people, minimum.  They all wanted to know everything.  How we got her.  What we were going to name her.  I heard Majestad respond, “I’m going to call her Belle, because she’s the belle of the ball.”  It was decided.

It was February 13, 2003.  I looked over the papers.  Belle had been born the previous December, on the 10th.  My mom’s birthday.  We took her back to our little upstairs apartment very late that night.  By that time, Belle was climbing out of her druggy haze, and decided she was sober enough to poop on our floor the second we took her out of the carrier.  I think she was getting even for us stealing her away from the pampered life she would have no doubt enjoyed.

And so it began.  The sweet, speckled, gentle, mischievous, panty-eating, neurotic, serial butt-sniffing, ever-shedding ball of atomic energy was ours.


Roxanne said...

I must have missed the panty-eating stories--but I caught the blog post from when you lost her. She sounds like a sweet, sweet girl--and I know that there are some animals who can steal your heart. I've had two in my life.

Anonymous said...

She was some kind of sweet bit totally nuts. Made me laugh anytime I was around her.

El Comodoro said...

Roxanne, Belle's panty-eating hijinks (and the subsequent gut/bank account clearing surgeries) remain undocumented here on CJMP.

I think I'm only allowed one dearly departed puppydog writeup annually, so stay tuned for 2012!

Or at least until I run dry on content.

kristen everett eastman said...

love it.

kristen everett eastman said...

one of the greatest dogs I ever met. I think if you guys often and send good thoughts your way. Jack is an absolute doll.

El Comodoro said...

Hah - Thanks, Kristen.