Sunday, December 24, 2006


Once upon a time in the Borough of Queens in the City of New York there lived a young couple named Mel and Vi who in due time produced a curly-haired little girl named Barbara who happened to love dogs.

Now Mel and Vi usually followed their hearts and not their heads (a family trait) and they fell in love with a six-month old Irish Terrier who had been purchased, abused, then returned to the pet shop down the block.

They didn't tell their curly-haired three year old daughter that but since soft-heartedness toward our four-legged friends ran in the family she fell in love with the same dog too and put "Ginger" on the top of her Santa list.

Now the curly-haired little girl wasn't the sharpest knife in that particular drawer and she actually believed Santa would make a sidetrip to the pet shop at the corner of Queens Boulevard and Cornish Avenue to pick up Ginger and deliver her to the two-story brick house at 83-17 but that's another story.

Christmas morning arrived and our fuzzy-haired heroine wasn't disappointed! (Although in this picture it looks like she's checking out the tree and not her new best friend, doesn't it?)

You want the truth? I remember that moment like it was yesterday. The thrill of my very first dog, a beloved sister redhead, was overwhelming!

Of course, there were things to be learned and my mother set out to give me a course on how to treat a dog with kindness and gentleness but I was a natural. I adored Ginger with every fiber of my being and hoped she understood that she would be with us forever.

Here we are getting to know each other. I was in awe. She was probably terrified, wondering if we'd be kind to her.

I'm happy to say Ginger was with us from December 1953 until she died in January 1965. She was a good dog who was never quite able to drop her guard around humans. She loved us fiercely but the rest of the population she wasn't too sure about. She went on every vacation with us, car trips to the Adirondack and Schroon Lake, to Candlewood Lake in Connecticut and up to Cape Cod. I suppose it would have been easier if we'd brought home a frisky, happy, confident puppy who would melt into our family life like butter on toast instead of a nervous, slightly fearful young dog whose body carried the marks of human cruelty but if my parents ever regretted their choice they never told me.

So here's to Ginger and all of the wonderful pets who've shared our lives and taught us how to be better people--our lives would be empty without you.

Merry Christmas to Ginger, Peppy, Lucky, Murtle the Turtle #1 through #11, Suzi, Brother, Punch, Nickel, Tyger, Perks, Tuffy, Dopey, Jingles, Baby, Whitey, Cubby, Buffy, Chrissy, Scooter, Dopey, Clyde, Sammi, Judy, Bonnie, Walter, Groucho, and Squirt.


Blogger Fran Baker said...

What a wonderful story, Barbara. Teared me up, for sure.

It doesn't help that we lost our little Emily - the blind Shi-Tzu - this week. Congestive heart failure. We should have expected it, I suppose. She was 15, after all. But, oh, it hurts to lose them no matter their age.

Love the pics of you. I too was a red-headed child. Everyone in my family was a redhead, in fact. Now I'm Irish washwoman white ... not a particularly unusual color in my heritage. Still ...

Merry Christmas to you and to Goldisox. To your parrots, too. And while I'm at it, thanks for thinking of and iniviting me to join this blog.

6:01 PM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

Aw, Fran, I'm so sorry about Emily. It makes no difference how old a pet is or how wonderful a life they've had; losing them leaves a hole in your own life. We lost our Max in September and I'm still grieving. My heart goes out to you.

How I envy all you natural redheads! I was clearly meant to have red hair but Mother Nature blew it so my hairdresser has to fix Her mistake. Even my friends who knew me when I was mousy brown think my red is genuine nowadays.

6:47 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

What wonderful photos -- thank you for sharing this story with us. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you, Barbara, and to all the other wonderful knitters at Romancing the Yarn!

8:31 AM  
Blogger Jamie Denton said...

Barbara - You got me all teary eyed, too, with such a beautiful story and lovely Christmas memory.

Fran - I'm so sorry about Emily. Hugs, sweetie.

1:35 AM  
Blogger Angela said...

Wonderful story and pictures! I have a curly-haired red head, too. She is the first post in November Archives on my blog,
Thanks for sharing:)


12:03 PM  
Blogger Kenyetta said...

*Wiping tears away* I remember all my pets from childhood also.
I loved the pictures!

10:51 PM  

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