When the dog could walk, he could run with the best of them. When he was alive, we would get up every Sunday morning, park by the Long Center, jog past the field with the kite festival hustle under the Mopac bridge, pass the boating docks, the gazebo and benches, and up to the foot bridge that scrapes alongside Lamar. There we would sit and watch the runners and bike riders zip past us as the sun came up. A boy on the bridge played the kazzo. We would watch the leaves sprout and the flowers bloom. It was a happy place for us. We would smile and marvel at the world passing by.
When he got older, we didn’t run. We waddled every Saturday morning, across the branch with the graffiti on the support beam, down by the water with the ducks and geese, and finally laid down on the platform where joggers and cyclist would pass us by, with the “Kung Fu Grip” in the shadow of the rising sun, as the leaves turned brown. The dog would have a smile on his face and wonder in his eyes.
When the dog got even older, he could no longer move his hips. On Saturday mornings I would put him in our truck smothered in bumper stickers, and drive around the lake the best we could, looking out the window to all the runners and the passer byes and all the brown leaves on the ground. By then, his eyes were speckled in grey, but he could still smile and greet the morning sun. It was a happy time for us.
When the dog died, the funeral home gave me flower seeds glued together in the shape of a heart. I went to the trail with friends and family on a Saturday morning with kazoos, planted the seeds in a strip of grass by Zach Scott Theatre, and gave the dog a twenty-one-kazoo salute. “To Dusty” I yelled. I’m getting the longitude and latitude of the planted seeds tattooed to my arm this season. The trail was a happy place for me and the dog.