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Sweet Friends

May 31, 2020
Suzie and Gunther

May 31, 2020

Protests across the United States yesterday against police murdering Blacks.  Pandemic quarantines around the globe.  Two people blast off into space.  Me?  I feel depressed, but controlled with medication.  The weather has been beautiful. Rivers are running full.

This morning I walked Gunther down the alley, stopping to pick up household effects of a recently deceased neighbor around a dumpster.  Lamp shade, some socks, some bank statements. A cardboard box.

Gunther and I also greeted a couple of tiny female dogs, one across the alley from the other, unrelated, but named Nina or Nana.  One, a sweet puppy, the other a mature chihuahua.  Gunther seemed indifferent to both.  You see, Gunther loved a great black labrador bitch who broke his heart when she moved from next door.  I have pictures.  You can see the joy.

“Suzie” was a highly trained service dog who returned Gunther’s rollicking affection.  Suzie was responsible to care for a woman with a heart condition.  

Gunther was depressed at least two years after she broke off with him.  These days Gunther is a shade sadder but wiser, having nearly returned to his previous condition of joyfulness.  Only he doesn’t fall for the girls anymore, although he likes “Velma,” our son’s schnoodle.  Gunther has reserve.

The pandemic has its occasional joys.  Yesterday P. and I met my dear schoolmate Abdul Kadri and his beautiful wise wife Cathy.  Of course, she might spell it Cathi or Kathi or Kathy.  I don’t know.)  Both are charming, sympathetic, good looking.  Also smart, funny, simply fun to be with.

Abdul and I met in 1978, I think.  I’m unsure of the year.  In 1978 I quit smoking, although I took a toke of a marijuana cigarette on the steps of the chemistry building with another fellow student.  I didn’t smoke with Abdul.  

I remember Abdul as a compatible soul then.  He mentioned that someone weighed ten stone.  I had not heard the expression before.  He and I took organic chemistry from professor Ralph Fessenden.  We all had taken lots of schooling since then, had careers, were mostly retired, and loved to hike. We share lots of friends in common in Missoula and in Billings, Montana.

That’s why we met in Red Lodge yesterday for hiking.  Because the Kadri couple invited us and we jumped at the chance. I nearly ran over Abdul and his wife as I pulled into the convenience store parking lot. I followed their car to the Silver Run trailhead.

As we walked we reminisced.  We learned about each others’ lives, but not nearly enough.  Our wives walked ahead with Gunther.  I remember that I felt really good to exchange thoughts with Abdul.  The air was clean, the sky blue, the forest fresh.  We hiked the Silver Run trail, as I mentioned.

Abdul and Cathy hiked it yesterday, encountering a grizzly.  Cathy spotted it first, Abdul said.  Both got their bear sprays out.  Abdul blew his whistle a couple times.  The bear ran off.  Abdul said he notified the forest service person who asked if the bear had a collar.  Abdul said he couldn’t say the bear did not have a collar, but he didn’t see it.

Yesterday we saw no bears or any other large animals.

I struggled to keep up with the Kadris and P. and Gunther.  Seemed like we hiked in a straight line into the wilderness, so I felt surprised when we encountered a road and a parking lot.  We even saw a vehicle that looked like ours.  In fact it was ours.  My confusion abated.

The hike was over.  I don’t know how many miles we walked because I forgot to set my Strava app on my phone.

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One Comment
  1. Blaine Ackley permalink

    What a nice story. You found your old bud, Abdul and his wife and you guys went hiking. Sweet. And Gunther found love but lost it. You will have to take Gunther out shopping for new friends so he can smell butt and roughhouse with some other dogs.
    The depression does take care of itself once you are up and doing things. I am sure the meds help too.
    I have been busy walking and rewriting the bridge on an old George Harrison song, While My Guitar gently weeps.
    And I was just thinking that your prohibition against singing in the choir came just at the right time – BEFORE COVID.
    Stay healthy, hearty, and be safe, Dan and P.

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