Ed Lowery’s dog


I went into the local restaurant for breakfast recently, and over in the Liar’s Corner sat a parliament of the local gentry, discussing the next thought that ran through someone’s mind. I arrived at the establishment just after opening, around 6:00 a.m., and the men in the corner consisted of grizzled, retired, ancient men, a couple of farmers, and some construction workers. Also, the president of the town council dropped in and took his place with them shortly after I placed my order.

I got my food and took a small table within earshot of them. I hoped to pick up some wisdom.

“Ain’t heard nothing from you all morning, Ed,” said one of the men.

“No,” returned Ed, who then stretched and yawned for a good 20 seconds or more. “Just nothing to say.”

“Something bothering you?”

“No. Only that I ain’t said hardly a dozen words in the past few weeks at home. You see, Mary left about 6 weeks ago.”

“Zat so? Sorry to hear that. Why didn’t you say something to us ‘bout it?”

Ed scratched his head, took a long draw on his coffee mug, and then he finally raised his eyes at his friends. The entire group was listening by this time.

“You all may think I’m upset, but I ain’t. I ain’t talked at home only because I’ve no one to talk to. Gets a might lonesome in the evenings.”

“Where’d she go? Do you know?” inquired the council president.

“Nah. No idea. But I ain’t concerned. Mary’ll be back sometime.”

“What do you mean, she’ll be back?” asked the first man. “You don’t know where she is, she’s been gone 6 weeks, you haven’t heard from her, but you think she’s coming back? Ed Lowery, that don’t make no sense. No sense at all.”

The rest agreed.

“I knowed a man whose wife ran off,” said one of the farmers. “She never came back. Moved to Arizona, married another man, even though she never divorced her husband, and he never heard from her again. Hope something like that don’t happen to you, Ed.”

Ed Lowery smiled meekly and shook his head.

“Only thing I know is she’ll be back, once she’s got out of her whatever she needs to get out of her. She’ll come back, and we’ll be just as happy as we’ve always been. Maybe happier.”

The men mumbled things, mostly in disagreement with Ed, and they shook their heads at each other.

“What makes you so sure she’ll be back?” asked the man who had started the conversation. “And what makes you think you’ll want her back?”

Ed smiled meekly.

“Well, I got a philosophy about such things,” he began. “A philosophy that’s worked for me all my life. Something happened to me when I was 8 years ago, and it’s kind of guided me since then.

“When I was 8, a dog wandered up onto our property. Fine dog. Mixed, but as friendly as could be. You know Harold Benson’s dog he had a few years ago? Kinda looked like that, except this one was missing part of his left ear, and he had a long scar on his left hind leg.

“He didn’t have no tags or nothing, so I decided to feed him. You know how dogs stay around where there’s food?

“Well, naturally, he stayed. Stayed for, I don’t know, maybe 9 months. Never left the property. Slept in my room, playful and happy as can be. We were inseparable companions, that’s what we were. Inseparable companions.

“Well, we got up one day as usual. We both went outside. It was summer, you know, so we spent most of our time outdoors. I went into the house to get a drink of water or something, and when I came back out, the dog—his name was Fella—he was gone. Don’t know what happened to him or where he went.

“Of course, just being 8 years old, it upset me. I cried and cried for a day or so. Then I accepted the fact that he was gone.

“Six years later, when I was 14 years old, Fella wandered up my driveway, let me know he was home, and stayed there until he died 9 years later.”

Ed paused. I suppose he thought everyone would get his point, but they didn’t. Neither did I.

“Okay,” said another construction worker. “What are you trying to say? I don’t understand.”

Ed held out his hands, apparently not believing the question.

“Fella came back. I didn’t ask him no questions, like ‘Where ya been?’ or ‘Who ya been with?’ Didn’t think it was any of my business. Only thing I cared about was that he had returned. Didn’t need no explanation.

“Gonna be the same way with Mary,” he continued. “She’ll be back some day. I don’t know when. Ain’t gonna ask her no questions, either. If’n she wants to tell me anything, I’ll listen. Regardless, I’ll be happy when she returns. In the meantime, I’ll just bide my time.”

I had not taken a single bite of my breakfast, but it was time for me to leave. I quietly left my table and dumped my breakfast in the trash can. Some day in the next 6 years I think I will return for another breakfast and get an update on Ed Lowery and his wife.

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