I’m at the beach and Pepper is at a farm near Ashland City for the weekend. It was awkward, but I called. I needed to talk.
“How’re you doing Pep?” I asked.
“Great!” she said. “This morning I wrestled with Jax and chased Sugaree. Then Nathan took me on a walk but he called it “training” and it wasn’t as much fun as when I take you on a walk. Nathan insisted on being in front. I’m trying to decide if I still like him. It’s pretty strange for you to call. What’s going on?”
“I’m feeling really sad. I found out this morning that a friend died. She met you when you were just a tiny little black tornado. She was helping plan a big party in the backyard. You were quite a handful back in those days. She liked you and didn’t mind that you were making mischief at every opportunity. Do you remember?”
“I don’t,” Pepper said sadly. “I must have been too little.”
“I’ve been thinking about her so much. She knew what she was good at, and she did it really well, with a generous heart and a smile on her face. I really admire that… and I’ll miss her.” I couldn’t continue. There was more in my heart, about death and when it visits and things we know and don’t.
Pep was quiet.
“Are you still there?” I asked.
“I’m here. I wish I could be there so you could throw a frisbee and I could chase it and even though I might not bring it back I know it would help you feel better. Maybe we could say a prayer together?”
“Okay. Dear God, Thank you for the gift of Elizabeth James and all the joy she brought to others during her life. Please comfort everyone who grieves. Please help us know how to take care of each other.”
* * *