The Day of the Funeral
© Linda Eisele
Dad, remember that golden retriever, Bing? You loved that dog. God how you loved her. Took her everywhere with you. She used to know. You didn't have to say a word. It was like she could read your mind. She anticipated your every move. She would know you were about to put down your paper and put on your shoes before you knew it yourself. She would be there at the door, waiting. Always seemed to surprise you, huh, Dad? "Hey girl, ready to go?" you would say. And now you are gone. And she is gone.
You never forgave me, did you? You didn't say so, but you never mentioned her again, afterwards. Yeah. That day. You had to go to a meeting. "Remember to walk Bing," you said. Mom asked me to pick up some milk at the store on the way home. We went up the Gurten, Bing and me. It was a day just like today. Yeah, we took that path over there. Might as well go that way. Went clear to the top and came around the other side. I did not have her on the leash. Never did on the mountain. Heck, I was only fifteen. When we got down to the village, just across from the store, I stepped off the curb. Then I saw the car. I stepped back. But Bing. She was so trusting. When we go, she goes. She trotted right off the curb, stepped out right in front of it. Never saw it. God, Dad. I'm so sorry. When you got home, Mom told you. I remember your face. I never saw you cry. You went into your room and shut the door. Never said a word. When you come back out, your eyes were still red. I know you loved Bing, Dad. I did, too.
Remember that day when I was five. We took her up the Gurten. We stopped at the big oak tree by the farmhouse just over that rise. I was dragging this big stick along. Shit, it was bigger than me. You threw that stick, over and over. Bing would go running after it, drag it back. Heck, it was too big for her, too. You must have thrown that damn stick a hundred times. We were laughing and playing. I wrapped my arms around your leg and would not let go, I was laughing so hard. And Bing was barking and barking. You picked me up and swung me around over your head. We tumbled to the ground, me on your belly. You smelled like potatoes and cider. And Bing, she was licking our faces and barking, licking your face and mine like she didn't know whose face to lick first. Oh, Dad, I love you. And now...
Hey! Hey, Dad. There it is. The oak. The farmhouse. Looking like nothing has changed. Like you're still here and I'm still a kid. There is the tree, Dad. And the farmyard. Remember? The grass is long, huh? Just like that day. Quarter of a century. Gone so fast. You were standing right over there. About the same age as I am now. You were a young man, huh Dad? All that bushy long hair, before it got thin, before it started falling out on top. Your rosy cheeks and blue eyes. Your eyes, Dad. They never changed. Always young, always sparkling; even when you got old.
Hey. What's this? Well what do you know! Look at that! Puppies. Darndest little things. Hey Tiger. Crawling all over your sisters. Hold on, there, Buddy! You're stepping right on her eye! Hey, that's right. Find the teet. Hungry little bugger, aren't you? Hey, come here. Let go of that. Why do you whimper? There will be more when you get back. Why, you're so small, you fit right into the palm of my hand. Just like Bing... like Bing fit in the palm of Daddy's hand when we went to see her that first time right after she was born. Eyes not even open. How old are you? Two days? Three? Twelve more weeks and you can come home with me. How much do you think they are going want for you? Come with me. We're going to ring that bell. I hope somebody is home. Hey, what will we call you? Bing? Nah. Bingo! How about that? You like your new name? Hey, Bingo. You like that? Yeah.
Hey Dad? Can you see him? Handsome, huh? Name is Bingo. Bingo Fitzsimmons. He's for you, Dad. He's for you.