just a statue

Urgency Day 220

500 Things Item 278: Broken Figurine of the World’s Best Dog

  • History: From Paul’s mom
  • Value: That’s tricky
  • Parting Pain: Tricky as well
  • Un-possessing: Burial at sea?

It’s just a statue. It’s just a statue. It’s just a statue.

We had a life before the Self-Contained Unit joined us.

  • We lived in fabulously run-down apartments.
  • We stayed up late (yes, we really did).
  • We moved almost as far as you can, east to west.
  • We moved almost as far as you can, west to east.
  • We collected stuff and memories.
  • We had the world’s best dog.

When we paused for a time in Oregon (and oh my, I am suffering for my Ducks today), my up-for-anything mom came to visit us. She loved us; she loved travel; and it turned out, she loved Oregon. What did she love best about Oregon? She loved the driftwood.

In Oregon’s Dunes National Park, we would scramble up coastal sand dunes that reach 500 feet above sea level. The wind howls constantly there, carving and wresting exhausted bits from the land and sea. Some beaches are renowned for the glorious sea glass that gently washes ashore; the Oregon coast relentlessly creates its own treasure trove.

After a day of collecting driftwood, do you know how you can tell when you’ve collected enough driftwood?

When your arms are so over-laden with what you’ve gathered from your scrambling, you fall all the way down the enormous sand dune and at the bottom, you don’t laugh.

You know this is enough, because you’ve fallen so many other times, and each of those times, stumbled back up, doubled over from laughing, and re-gathering your treasures and trying to pull a particularly appealing “stick” away from the dog who thinks this is the BEST GAME EVER!

In those days, mom was able to take as many of these twisted, captivating, heavy chunks of wood home to Virginia as she could cram into her luggage. Her carry-on luggage. Can you imagine that airport scene now?

Now is different in a lot of ways. Mom still loves her children and her driftwood, and her laugh is as ready as ever, but the stroke means she scrambles out of bed, not up and down sand dunes. Now, our peripatetic life has paused in Illinois, and the nearby Indiana Dunes, while lovely, are not nearly as exciting. And the World’s Best Dog? Well, since they only overlapped for 6 months, we believe he exchanged katras with the Self-Contained Unit over 17 years ago.

They are both remarkable creatures, and we are humbled in our gratitude for having had each come into our lives.

As I have reduced so many of our possessions, I’ve whittled down our vast collection of Oregon driftwood. A few treasured pieces will remain near other carefully chosen mementos. And the little figurine pictured? It looks something like our Jed, the World’s Best Dog. Enough so that Paul’s mom, who was not given to idle sentiment, thought it fitting to give to Paul many years before Jed’s death, and, of course, her own. But it’s been gathering dust on a back shelf, broken for a long time. I don’t remember how; perhaps on one of those adventures toward which Paul and I seem to gravitate.

We both agree: It’s time to let go.

It’s just a statue. It’s just a statue. It’s just a statue.


good boy


12 Responses to “Adrift”

  1. james yarbrough Says:

    Great picture of the dog statue with the broken leg lying underneath. I’ve got several pics of my nomination for ‘best dog ever’, but that’s for another time. See you next week.


  2. sthibeault Says:

    Yes, most dog owners would dispute my designation of THIS dog as “the world’s best dog.” Except for the ones who met Jed. Sorry. He was just that special. See you soon.

  3. melanie Says:

    I’m quite sure you did have a wonderful dog – but maybe the second best because I had two of the first best. Is it true about dogs, what they say about children, that there is such thing as the cutest child – every mother has them.

  4. Sydney Says:

    Jed was just that special. Oh, I loved that dog! It’s somewhat shocking that he has been gone for 17 years. He still gets referenced on a regular basis, no kidding.

    For instance, we just saw a funny episode of Modern Family in which a man compares his wife’s compulsive need to work to that of a border collie’s. She says, “did you just compare me to a DOG?”, and he says, defensively, “yeah– the smartest dog in the WORLD!”

    Sean and I cheered, “Jed!!!”

  5. Sydney Says:

    Oh for cryin’ out loud. Don’t bury the statue at sea. I can’t bear it. I know the perfect recipient. Send it.

  6. Sydney Says:

    Monica: “And if at my funeral you don’t shed a tear, then that’s ok….”

    Chandler: “Really?? Ok!”

    Monica: “No! It’s not! What are you, a robot??!!”

  7. sthibeault Says:

    Season 6, episode 14

  8. melanie Says:

    I saw that episode of Modern Family. And, yes, I would love to be compared to the smartest dog in the world. The question isn’t “Are you smarter than a fifth grader?” It’s “Are you smarter than a border collie?” I, for one, am not. And my powers of compassion and empathy pale in comparison to any dog, any breed, any time. By the way, my first born was a border collie. We still refer to her too, although it’s been 17 years.

  9. Katherine Says:

    Suz, I cannot BELIEVE I missed this post. Still miss that dog. What a gift you gave us by having to share him for a while. Sam the dog wasn’t so happy about it tho. Two alphas in one house,oh dear; but Jed was the REAL alpha. Sam, the dumb blond of dogs, was smart enought to know that.
    Did you guys see the (NYT cover story)piece about the border collie who knows over 1,000 words–
    He’ll be on Nova next week.
    XX OO KK

  10. sthibeault Says:

    As Jed’s other alpha-female, I should have alerted you! Yes, we loved the piece in the Times, but it was preaching to the choir in this house. By the way, Sydney demanded the little statue be sent to her. No ceremony at sea. Jed touched a lot of lives.

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