And so I share with you this essay by my friend, writer Carolyn Rose, about the dog who could manifest chaos beyond the grave.
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Anyone who spent any amount of time with Dudley knew he wasn’t an easy dog to have around. He wanted things his way—RIGHT NOW.
Yesterday I packed up his ashes to mail to NY so my brother can scatter him on the mountain with Dad.
On a previous trip to the P.O. I’d been advised to pack the ashes in a small flat box and then put that in a priority mailing envelope. Seemed simple enough, right?
But, aware of what I call “the Dudley factor,” I showed up with my box, unsealed in case someone wanted to check the contents. I brought along a roll of heavy tape, a scissors, and a marking pen. I even brought the certificate of cremation.
I was second in line and there were four clerks on duty. Within seconds I was standing at the counter where the clerk informed me I needed to seal the box with paper tape. Fortunately, they were able to supply that and I took my project to a work table in the lobby.
When I was done, I got back in line behind four people. There were now only two clerks on duty, so many minutes passed before I reached the head of the line and was called to the counter by the same clerk. “Oh no,” she told me. “You’ve done this wrong. The tape must go lengthwise and seal all the edges. You’ll have to do it again.
Back at the work table, I sealed with a vengeance and then returned to the line to stand behind seven people now waiting to be served by just one clerk.
Twelve minutes later, I reached the counter, handed over the roll of paper tape and damp sponge, and explained that the sealed box (looking not unlike something from an Egyptian tomb) should go inside a priority envelope. “You didn’t need to seal this up if it’s going in an envelope,” he said.
Gritting my teeth, I explained what the other clerk had told me. “Well, it can’t hurt to have extra tape,” he said. He’d slipped it into an envelope when another clerk appeared and told him he’d need to seal up all the seams of that envelope with more paper tape and, “It might not be according to regulations even then.”
“Let’s take a chance,” he said, and sealed away, finishing off by stamping all the seams with “Vancouver” and the date.
And so, after half an hour and $21.95 in postal fees, to my great relief I watched the clerk put the envelope in a canvas sack.
Dudley is on his way back to the Catskills. This trip is far different from the five-day Odyssey that brought him to Vancouver, but return journeys are seldom the same. And somewhere Malcolm, my father, is having a good chuckle about a dog that tried the patience of us all and perhaps, at the same time, strengthened our characters just a little.
copyright C Rose 2009