Not long after i got back from my three weeks on the road, a friend called from South America.
It's tempting to leave that statement there to stoke a sense of mystery and heighten the echelons of my friendships far afield, but she lives in Denver.
She and her husband were traveling in South America for six months. Somewhere south of Patagonia, they got a phone call from their dog sitter in Colorado. There was a dire emergency, and their two dogs would need to be relocated.
[Sidenote: a grade-school teacher would ask us students if our requests to go to the bathroom were dire emergencies. Clearly, if they were, then she would grant us permission to leave the room, albeit with a withering eyeroll. I found this question confusing, as I assumed she was asking if we were about to have diarrhea, which would be the most reasonable excuse to immediately vacate the classroom before vacating elsewhere.
Therefore, each request to use those gleaming, Roosevelt-era toilets was saddled with the potential admission that you were about to shit yourself. Was that price worth paying to be able to go the bathroom and, if one was really feeling one's oats, sneak in an undisturbed slurp or two at the water fountain?
These are not quandaries a six-year-old should have to wrestle with.
My friends called me to ask if there was any way I could help stateside coordination of Operation Rover and Out. (Which I just named it, at this moment.) (I really wish I'd thought of it then.) (Damn.)
My friend's mom was more than happy to keep the smaller of the two dogs, but she lived in Memphis.
Without hesitating, I offered to drive the dog, Penny, to Tennessee.
Why? Because I am a ride or die, and these friends let me crash with them for ages (!) before I officially moved to Denver. As far as I'm concerned, they've got a kidney with their name on it. Well, one of them does.
Plus, I liked Penny. We share what I call a "stick your snout in someone else's mouth" approach to life. Her resting energy is barely suppressed anxious excitement; every day for her is the first day of kindergarten.
I had bona fide fidelity for that sweet Fido and looked forward to some road time with her.
Arrangements were made quickly and I prepared to set out again, this time for a relatively short week. The plan was a swift two days out to Memphis, a two-night stay featuring ribs and a short stop at Graceland, then two days back to Denver.