There’s a house on Garfield Avenue that I sometimes pass with Indy when we do our daily walks together. If we’re lucky, the dog who lives there would run to the gate to greet Indy, to which Indy would react almost aloofly. I don’t know what breed he is – but he used to be a big white fluff ball until his owner clipped his fur. Now he looks like Snowy from the Tintin cartoon.
Today we walked past the house where I told Indy, “Perhaps we’ll see your friend, Indy!” As we were walking past the gate, the dog was still a distance away from us, so I waited until he greeted Indy, wagging his tail and all. As usual, Indy ignored him. I also spotted the owner, an elderly man who then spoke, “Dogs are friendly to each other. They want to say hi.” – and continued on, “.. and why don’t people talk to each other anymore? It shouldn’t matter that you came from a different country.” “We are all brothers,” and pointing his hand to the heavens, he spoke, “That’s what He said.”
The man, who then introduced himself as Fred, still speaks with a melodic Italian accent. He then continued on talking about his Asian neighbour, and the boy who played the piano next door.
I had an inkling that he wanted to chat – so I made a small talk about the dog. “His name’s Elf – he’s my granddaughter’s”. When I asked what breed he is, he smiled and said, “To me, yours is a dog, and this is also a dog. Why does it matter?” “You’re a human, and I’m a human.”
It’s not every day I have a philosophical conversation while walking the dog. 🙂
Before I went, I took a chance and asked him whether he used to own a nursery nearby. When Indy and I passed the house together, I recognised some of the people who lived there. His name also confirmed that. So I asked whether it was true. In a sad and dejected tone he replied, “Yes, I used to own it and then I gave it to my son … and then he closed it.” I told him that I still have an ornamental pear tree that I bought from his nursery many years ago – probably eight years ago. I told him that it’s growing beautifully in my front yard.
The news lit up his face and made him smile.
“Thank you, my boy.”
Having been a mentor, teacher, manager, spiritual big brother, it brings a smile on my face when somebody from the past tells me that he or she still remembers one simple deed, an advice or something that they cherish. It’s a simple reminder that our hard work is never in vain. I also remember the teachers throughout my Elementary School up to High School, those who taught me English all through the years at St. Angela’s English Course as well as my former lecturers. I also remember the Sunday School teachers, my spiritual teachers, managers and mentors, big brothers and big sisters – people who prayed for me and thought of me. Those who worked hard in my past and may not know the fruit of their labour. You are in my thoughts.
So today, I had the honour of telling a gardener – the former owner of the nursery nearby – that he is remembered and that there’s a legacy that he has left with me.