We never did find Joey after the Grandmother died.
I know the Bible mentions that it’s bad form to covet that which belongs to others, but I always wanted Joey, from the moment I saw him. He was the saddest, loveliest little china dog you could imagine, and he’d been the Grandmother’s since she was about six. She went on holiday as a child and fell in love with him in Woolworths.
I accepted that he wasn’t mine, but thought that maybe I could inherit Joey at some point. Except, as I said, he seems to have vanished off the face of the Earth. Maybe he broke, and perhaps she didn’t mention it to us.
There is another sad dog in my life. One with no name [that I can remember] and with only one ear. But the remaining ear is a rather long and floppy one. I look at him every now and then, wondering if I really need keep him, more than forty years from when a grateful university friend gave him to me, in return for lecture notes.
Recently I came to the conclusion that I will still remember her, even if I don’t hang on to the sad dog. And remembering the friend, whom I’ve not seen all these years, is what matters. Just like the [now] slightly chipped bowl I was given as a leaving present at work, almost as long ago, is not needed in itself. It’s the memory of being given it, and of the givers, that I need to hang on to.
I thought these deep thoughts as we trudged round an antiques centre yesterday, looking for gifts that Daughter could buy for important people in her life. Yes, by all means consider what they would appreciate, and what they are like as people, but you can never predict what they will cart around with them for the next forty years.
Hence, do think a bit, but not too much. They could hate it on sight, or they might love it forever.
Still haven’t made up my mind about the dog.
(I’m worried he’ll look even sadder if I do the unthinkable.)