I was just thinking about last Sunday and the Communion of Saints. I'm also totally comfortable with the whole idea of a huge group of living people all together, looking over our shoulders and caring about us. Our neighborhood is like that.
Over the years our neighbors got used to seeing Paul and me walking our dogs. But people really took note when Paul and I were walking our bichon frises, Popcorn and BoBo. Even though there was a ten-year age gap, Popcorn and Bobo were often mistaken for siblings.
After Popcorn died people stopped us and asked what had happened to our other dog. Once, when I was walking BoBo, a lady who didn't speak English approached me. She kept two fingers up and pointed her other hand at BoBo. Finally I understood. She was asking about our dogs. I gestured with one finger up and shook my head. Finally she understood and patted my arm.
BoBo needed two hours of steady walking, so Paul and I walked him separately in one-hour shifts. Since Paul and I still need our one-hour walk after Bobo died, we've decided to walk together. On Sunday, after Mass, we walked down one street and around our local pond. Because the weather was blustery, none of our neighbors or their dogs were out.
But that didn't mean we went unnoticed.
When we were heading back home, a friend who owns a pekinese came out of her house and called to us. She said that another friend who owns a poodle and a bichon had noticed us walking together. The poodle owner had guessed that we would be passing the pekinese's house on our way home. Where was BoBo? We explained and then we reminisced.
Our parish has an All Saints custom. There's a large book by the side of the altar. Before and after mass during November people can write the names of friends and family members who have passed away. I was sad when I wrote my parents' names in the book. It was so sudden. Last year they were alive.
Paul also wrote the names of friends and relatives in the book. Finally he wrote "B. Ullrich".
I hope our other dogs understand.