Although not living with us full time, we spent many happy occasions with Charlie. He loved our shore home, barely waiting for the car to stop before jumping out and bounding up the flight of stairs to our apartment door. His favorite activity was a nightly walk around the corner to the walk-up ice cream stand and devouring his own cup of vanilla ice cream.
When the kids moved to Colorado they did not want Charlie traveling in the cargo hold or wherever dogs sojourn during flight, so hub and I drove Charlie cross country. It was summer, a long July Fourth weekend. Before leaving home I researched dog-friendly places to stay and found quite a few. Unfortunately most were not friendly to 70 pound golden retrievers.
We had never driven west of the Mississippi and viewed the drive as an adventure. Because of the heat we could not leave Charlie in the car during pit stops. We bought food along the way and picnicked, seeking shaded tables so Charlie could enjoy meals with us and stretch his legs, although he did not do much stretching. Too hot.
The state of Kansas proved challenging. It was Sunday and extremely hot. We drove across the northern part of the state, a stark landscape dotted with, well, not much. And nothing was open. No restaurants, no gas stations, no convenience stores. We encountered few towns along the road, all shut tight on a hot summer Sunday holiday weekend, no one in sight. It was eerie. We thought we were driving through ghost towns.
Finally, close to the Colorado border, a lone store open for business appeared on the horizon. Hungry and tired, we purchased provisions and used the restrooms. Traveling for hours across the entire state without finding open restrooms, I was desperate. Charlie and hub utilized the great, open outdoors to relieve themselves, but I did not. Stubby Kansas bushes did not provide enough cover…
Eight years later the family moved back East. Once again we drove Charlie cross country, this time with an additional passenger, our nine-year-old grandson. We stopped along the way to visit a county fair, tour an aeronautical museum, stuff ourselves at a barbecue and food festival, and enjoy the cuisine at the highlight of our trip - an ice cream festival. Humans devoured ice cream sundaes while Charlie finished off a tub of vanilla ice cream.
When the family left the Jersey shore, their summer interlude, for their new home in Florida, we once again drove Charlie to his new residence. This time our six-year-old granddaughter accompanied us. Along the way Charlie enjoyed a ferry ride, visiting friends, the beach and a blueberry festival (more ice cream), but remained in the hotel room while the rest of us played at an adventure park.
Charlie always trotted to the door in greeting, wagging his tail, glad to see us. He was a member of the family.
Charlie, we will miss you.
|Charlie Dressed for Success.|
Actually...draped following surgery (a few years ago).