Doggy Death March

jimnaturetrail.jpgIt’s June 27 and I woke up in a state of complete awareness about what I was doing two years ago today. That being jumping into my car and driving to Grand Blanc just in time to see my brother die. I can still remember standing in the hospital parking lot with Karen after it was all over, thinking, “what did we just do?” The sun was blazing down out of a hot, hazy summer sky.

We didn’t have any special plans to observe that event today. It’s a pretty motley crew here at the moment. Me and the GG, The Commander, Ernie and Alfred. Not much going on. It’s a windy day and much cooler than the last couple days and, along about noon, I was a little bored and I decided it would be a good day to take the dogs on a death march up to the nature trail on the old Read Corp. property. I really wasn’t making any particular connection between the trail and the date. I just think dogs need a lot of exercise (and so do I) and this was one way to get it.

As we started to walk up there, I suddenly remembered that Little Traverse Conservancy, which owns the land now, had named the trail after my brother. The mission took on a new meaning. When I got to the trail head, there was a young couple with two little kids on the platform. They were just passing through from Maryland and I don’t have the slightest idea how they knew about the trail. The man asked if it was Canada that he could see and I told him it was. Then, shy as I am, I found myself telling him the soundbite version of how the trail came to be and that it was named after my brother. Who died two years ago today.

The dogs and I then continued on our death march, which obviously did its job because Ernie was too tired to even ask to follow me over here to Green Guy’s Internet Cafe. The first time I ever walked the trail was with my brother and his old dog Sam and it struck me today that hiking “his” trail with his dogs was a perfect way to pay a little tribute to him! And that little family on the platform may have gotten just a little bit more than most visitors do.

In a separate coincidence, although I’m having some difficulty finding information on international flights, our China contingent should be a little less than an hour away from landing at O’Hare as I write this. I know my brother would be happy that his family took advantage of the chance to take this trip and I’m excited to see Karen within the next few days.

I think I hear my brother telling me that the sun is over the yardarm, so I’m gonna go now. Cheers!

One Response to “Doggy Death March”

  1. Webmomster Says:

    Beautiful!! I was thinking about Jim as we flew back from Shanghai – and that made the 27th a 36+-hour day.

    Love the fact you were able to speak with a young family about the REAL origins of the trail and its name – again, your little Tribute paragraph described the perfect way to remember him and pass along his memory as well. I found myself finding ways to remember Jim on our trip, too, through the music we played. There’ll be bits & pieces coming out in my blog plus live convos when I get up there (in a few short/too-long days from now!!).