That Charley wasn’t always a dog lover would come as a surprise to most people who knew him when I knew him, but not to the people who knew him before he met me. They knew he was a cat lover. That I had a cockapoo was something to be tolerated, but I can’t say that he was enthused about having a dog in the house. But Barney grew on him enough that when it was time that Barney had to be put down he initially refused to go with me, saying that he didn’t want to go down forever in family history as the guy who took the kids’s dog to be put to sleep. He must have felt sorry for me though, because he did go with me, and he stopped and bought Barney an ice cream cone on the way.
But while Barney was still with us Charley instigated that we acquire Nugget, saying, “My mother never let me have a puppy”. He had bought me a necklace shortly before that, gold nuggets on a chain which I still wear every day. He would say to me, very dramatically and with his eyebrows going up and down like Groucho Marx, “Hey Neem, how’s your Nuggets?”, which the kids found hilarious. The innuendo wasn’t lost on them. Neem was a pet hame, if I stop to explain this post will be a mile long. So we were at the Mall and in the pet shop window was a litter of mixed breed puppies, and upon seen a golden one Heather declared, “Hey Neemie, it’s another Nugget!” We had her 18 years, I could measure the length of my marriage in the ages of the dogs which populated it.
Last week or so I talked about Charley, memories which had come to me because of this
picture. I took this when I first got my iPhone 7+, practicing using portrait mode and capturing Ozzie’s drool. But happening upon that picture reminded me of when I first met Charley when he joined the dental office where I was working as a hygienist. He was a brand new dentist on his first job, but even though we were the same age my schooling was so much less that I had 10 years experience in dentistry and he would sometimes ask me my opinion on things. That anyone would ask me my opinion on anything was quite flattering, but especially a dentist asking me my opinion concerning dentistry made me feel important. He asked if I had a pet peeve in dentistry, and I did actually. I told him that what drove me the most nuts was… ropey saliva! It would wrap itself around the prophy cup when you were polishing teeth and go flying! That cracked him right up. He loved that answer. I wonder if he married me because of ropey saliva.
So, the feature photo. Charley had been in the hospital a week, and he had become so dependent on the oxygen mask that he was reluctant to take it off to talk, so he was writing messages on the clip board I brought for him. He had been moved to the ICU the day before, and I had been told that visitors had to wait until 8 AM and that’s when I got there. The nurse told me that he was upset that I wasn’t there at my usual 6 AM or so, but when I did get there he wrote “U R Making me Comfortable”. He really liked the Arnold Palmer iced tea/lemonade that I had been buying him at Duncan Donuts. But when he wanted some he wrote Jack Palmer, I assume he was thinking of Jack Nicklas, when he wrote that and I was looking forward to teasing him about that when he felt better. I never got the chance to do that.
So dogs and ropey saliva, Ozzie has it in spades. Gleason could drool, but I think Ozzie has him beat. I may not be cleaning teeth anymore, but I’m still dealing with ropey saliva.