Thursday, May 2, 2013

Of dogs and spring



During a whole host of springs this century, my friend and I would share a weekend drink, after tennis. Sometimes, tennis was a mere formality, part of the ritual where he'd throw down his racket and I'd throw down my racket and we'd shout, "Cocktails at the Ritz!"

We always took Phoebe along to the Ritz. The bartenders, and over the years we went through three of those -- and the waitresses, we went through about six -- would say, "Up here, Phoebe." And Phoebe would give a hop and place two gentle front paws on the mahogany bar. Then the kissing would commence.

Phoebe kissed in the European fashion; a buzz on the left side of the face, then the right, and the left, again. I don't know where she learned this, probably from the movies.

My friend and I would take our wine to the porch -- a grand porch where you could view the whole aspect of Southern California on a good day, or see nothing but fog on a bad day, which was even better. Phoebe would settle in a chair and count squirrels, waiting for her subjects to pay their respects.

Which they would. Oh, under the auspices of bringing the humans some condiments or topping off our wine. The wine supply was endless and on the house, save for price of another continental smooch. In fact, with all that topping off, we never seemed to make any headway with our drinks at all.

My friend and I played on the Ritz tennis court a couple of times. No one said we could, but then, no one said we couldn't. Phoebe made out with the tennis pro, which kept him occupied.

Phoebe at the Ritz -- that's how I like to remember her.

I have lots of windows into spring; this is one. And it makes me think we should take all good things for granted, or at least without question, now and then, or even as often as possible for as long as possible. Enjoy the magic when glasses of wine fill themselves, when those you love will never die.

43 comments:

  1. What a poignant, lovely memory of lovely Phoebe...
    (And what's not to love about the Ritz?)

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  2. Wow, Phoebe would be humbled by your post... and you've got a way to turn on the water-works....

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  3. Such a beautiful girl Phoebe was. And so gracious to allow her subjects to anoint her with love as she received them!

    Tennis, or drinks, as you may, at the Ritz or elsewhere, sounds like the perfect memory of Phoebe. May her memory always be for a blessing and may you always see a touch of her tush running ahead of you.

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  4. This is a beautiful post, thank you.

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  5. A sweet story of nice spring days - nothing extraordinary, just nice.

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  6. Oh, I feel your melancholy mood with memories of Phoebe. She was certainly a femme fatale, by the sounds of it. How blessed you have been to have shared life with such a special soul. I love your closing sentiments. I couldn't agree more.

    Much love,
    Carolynn

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  7. What a sweet memory. I'll be thinking about this one for a while.

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  8. Melancholia is very Gatsbyesque of you - as are wine and tennis. But being of the Bukowsky persuasion (as my current blog post will attest to) I favor the story of how you, in that split second where the reins were being handed over to the next Phoebe recycler, grabbed them and said "she's mine."

    One Mississippi Two Mississippi - in an impulse the world can dance on the head of a pin

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  10. Aw, thanks. My girl was a peach and made me feel like Nora Charles.

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  11. What a beautifully reflective reminiscence. And I agree . . . good things are best enjoyed when taken for granted, and without thought to their temporary nature. Hell, everything's temporary.

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  12. What a sweet and lovely memory of dear Phoebe...
    Much love to you, Karin.

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  13. Wonderful. How lucky you were to have had one another.

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  14. Phoebe looks magnificent in that photo, just the right pose for a lady at the Ritz. What good times you, your friend and Phoebe had there - thanks for sharing your memories. I like the sound of wine glasses that refill themselves. And doesn't the Ritz sound so much better than the Langham? I wonder if they even allow dogs now?

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  15. I should use this opp to shill for Boxer Rescue of Los Angeles. That's where I got Phoebe out of stir (PA's comment). If you're looking for a dog, I can't recommend boxers highly enough -- they are smart, gentle with children, love little dogs of any age, and adapt to your level of activity -- from major hiker to couch potato. Here's the rescue website: http://www.boxer-rescue-la.com/

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  16. Bellis -- The Langham sucks. It's a stupid name, and they 86'd Phoebe.

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  17. Guess I won't be taking Boz over there after all. And he so wanted a gin and tonic on the patio.

    I can recommend Boxer Rescue, too. We got Boz there (Boxer/Pit mix). He owns a large portion of my heart. I would like to take him for granted but he won't let me.

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  18. What a beautiful post....
    Here's to Phoebe and sweet memories....

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  19. Every time you write about Phoebe, it brings tears to my eyes.

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  20. Come to think of it, Brenda, maybe she was Nora and I was Asta.

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  21. That's a lovely piece, Karin. If that doesn't sell the idea of dog-ness, what will?

    I love your last paragraph, and I like spring a lot. Yet fall seems to move me more, produce more "windows"--I can explain a little of the Why, but only a fraction.

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  22. Lovely to see Phoebe and hear more about her.

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  23. Can't speak, just blinking back the tears.

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  24. Fun memories.. and I don't even like boxers.

    ps I'll be whittling today. You've got me thinking!

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  25. "I heard a thousand blended notes,

    While in a grove I sate reclined,

    In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts

    Bring sad thoughts to the mind."

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  26. A lovely tribute, Karin. Phoebe knows.

    The love and loyalty our faithful canine family members have for their humans -- and vice versa -- is pure and heartfelt.

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  27. Phoebe led a grand life and apparently, she was generous and decided to share it with you and so many others.

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  28. Banjo, it's regional. When I lived in Illinois, nothing beat autumn.

    Paula, one of the curiosities of a rescue dog is that you have no idea about the previous life. You kind of piece things together along the way. For instance, Phoebe was joyful from the get-go, but she had these worn teeth from a young age, and the vet supposed she had been chained and chewed the chains.

    Jean, and it's always lovely to see you. Everyone loves your paintings, they're on my living room wall. Have I told you this before?

    Birdman, keep whittlin'. Eventually you'll love boxers. Ask Ann -- she grew up with one.



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  29. I know just what you mean. We'll never know his full story as my husband rescued Ranger from the culvert he was living in out in rural Alabama, but after he got him home I saw small animal bones and twigs when he shat. He's never been an easy dog but he's our dog and like Sweet William, now that he's older he wants to be with me always. I feel so privileged.

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  30. You're the F. Scott Fitzgerald of this genre.

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  31. Sweet Phoebe. Maybe you shouldn't show this one to Albert.

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  32. Well holy hell, Batman. Just saved a white boxer running free on the street at night, heading toward Lake. And thanks to two great neighbors -- we made a terrific team and caught him. The boxer is home and his family is incredibly relieved and thankful.

    Karma, right Phoebe?

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  33. Oh, sweet Phoebe. I wish I'd got to meet you and be nuzzled with some of your European kisses. KB, I keep re-reading this, especially the last paragraph. I was hoping not to cry today ~ but I stuffed my chances earlier by wallowing in some melancholy songs, so in for a penny, in for a pound. Big hugs.

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  34. Today especially, I'm feeling your words and your heart and thinking the same.

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  35. I'm glad I saw my original comment. I HATE auto correct on my phone. It made my comment nonsensical.
    Anyway...
    Fantastic and bitter sweet tribute...
    Inside my head, I'm humming Putting on the Ritz, except I've substituted "Phoebe on the Ritz."

    Great post...

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  36. You missed a slightly sloppy treat, Shell. And a kiss to you, Georgia.

    Pat, I auto corrected that auto correct. Promise me you'll return the favor.

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  37. This is such a lovely tribute to Phoebe, Karin. That last paragraph got me all choked up. You both hit the jackpot with each other. She was a gentle soul, wasn't she? Tommy would have jumped over that mahogany bar and slobbered all over that bartender. I don't think he would've been asked back. The first couple of years with him were really tough. Now I'm crazy about him, and I hope he sticks around forever.

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  38. Phoebe had two sets of manners -- her home manners, which were sketchy at best, and her Ritz manners, which were above reproach.

    Tommy is such a character; I hope so, too.

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