Saying goodbye to dear friend

Published 10:28 am Friday, May 20, 2011

“If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart, I’ll stay there forever.”

~ Winnie the Pooh

Mornings on the front porch are lonesome lately: my little sweet Pooh died; I found myself bereft, the house suddenly too quiet, no silly wrinkle face to greet me at the door.

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He’d had health scares before, but somehow would pull through time and time again. Sadly, many Shar-peis have health issues created by breeding practices when they were nearly extinct in China and brought to this country in the 60s and 70s. So many people have given me hugs, flowers, cards, fed me: all these kindnesses make me even more grateful to be in such a loving community — I have not faced this alone. We carry one another through the hardest of times.

When I adopted Pooh through Chinese Shar-pei rescue as a puppy, I knew that I’d lose him too early. The name I gave him of Pooh Bear fit; he really was Winnie the Pooh in heart and deed. Since he was my third Shar-pei, I knew what I was getting into. I did it anyway, and promised while Pooh was with me, he’d always think the world was a good place.

Along the way, Pooh made me think the world was a good place. We would stand out on the front porch every morning, face the sunshine and give thanks for one more day. For six years, he brought joy and tenderness to my heart; I’m a better person for having had him, and every creature I’ve taken in. Sometimes people come and go in life, turn their backs… but not a dog. Dogs are loyal to the end, always glad to see you, and ask for very little; they know what love is indeed.

So, out to the sun-splashed spring garden I went with heavy heart, and worked for days: tears, sweat, flowers, sunshine and the good earth are healing to the spirit. In it all, I wrangled demon wisteria hells, wild grape vines, weeds, hauled rocks, created a “Pooh” memorial garden and managed to get scratches and poison ivy on top of that!

Chickadee babies hatched three feet from the porch swing the day Pooh left, the green bullfrog lazed on his mossy rock with goldfish circling, fragrant roses bloomed, jeweled hummingbirds jousted over nectar.

Life continues in my peaceable kingdom. Gardening is symbolic of life going on, and belief in another day. Pooh’s loss leaves a hole in my heart, but I’ve promised him that I will go on, make art, give kindness, and find another furry baby to give a special home someday–keeping my heart open to loving again. It’s the least I can do.

Community: The Saluda Tailgate Market is Friday from 4:30-6:30. Support local folks!

The Saluda Arts Festival is May 21, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. I’ll be helping sell festival T-shirts in the morning, and then stroll among the art and shops as live music plays. Our friendly restaurants and shops will welcome you!

Dr. Jerry Russell will hold a May 30, 11 a.m. Memorial Day program at the Memorial Monument on Greenville Street.

The Historic Smith Hill tour of homes is Saturday, June 4 from 1 – 5 p.m., as part of Saluda’s 130th Anniversary Celebration. Tickets available at City Hall and Heartwood Gallery.

Something to look forward to: a little bird tells me that John Waddill will have an art show this summer, at Saluda Center.

Thank you, dear readers for reading this column! Keep in mind if you have something of note, feel free to contact me at; or 749-1153. You may also visit my website at