No Wine Can Do So Much
Not too long ago I bitched and moaned about a few bottles of wine that died in the bottle earlier than I expected them to. I lamented their passing as though it was something of significance. This weekend, when Tucker finally died, I was forced to recall that any grief we feel over something so trivial as a few bottles of wine tasting bad after time can only result when we let narcissism shield us from the leveling effects of context.
It was just old chardonnay. Tucker, on the other hand, was the 16 year-old family companion that slept at the edge of the bed, explored with us on walks in the park, chased and subdued chickens that strayed into our yard, taught me the necessity of learning how to bribe delivery people so as to avoid a dog bite claim with the insurance company, and never failed to greet me at the door with a wag and a jig.
Old Chardonnay never did so much for me or with me.
I think the frail, near-blind, deaf, 16 year-old Jack Russell Terrier took his own life. We found him in the pool on Saturday. Floating. Even in his elderly condition, Tucker never mistook the edge of the pool for somewhere to be.
I think he tired of the pain and simply walked it off. But in using the pool to make his exit, good old Tucker made sure he performed one more, final, public display of will and ego.
In his younger days Tucker was quite a show off. He’d do tricks, bound over very tall impediments, place dead squirrels and chickens on our bed for us to admire his accomplishments, alert us to coming delivery people before they even stopped the truck in front of our house, and fearlessly attack rattle snakes with his semi-ferocious bark while staying just far enough away from it to remain safe, but also look a little brave.
Tucker was a show off.
Not so much in his final two years when age really crippled his ego and desire for attention. However, I do think he walked into the pool as a way not only of ending his pain, but as a final and thoroughly Tuckerian effort to show off. After all, he could have done what so many other dogs do: find a private place to lay down and die. He choose something much more public.
No wine can take its own life. No wine can down chickens that stray into its cellar. No wine can give such pleasure to so many people. No wine can do a welcoming jig. And no wine can choose its method of death so as to deliver one final gesture of ego and self confidence. Tucker could do all that.
All of a sudden I don’t miss the dead Chardonnays. I do miss Tucker.