When you've lived with someone for 26 years, there is a lot of stuff involved -- and a lot of photos stuck here and there.
So yesterday, as I was cleaning, doing laundry, and trying to get ready for General Convention in Austin, I happened to open a drawer in Gayland's bedside table.
And there was this photo.
This is Gayland with his beloved dog Esau. I am convinced it is a photo of their reunion in heaven.
Esau was a foundling, like all our dogs. Gayland found him lost and wandering on Meadowbrook Drive and brought him home. He left me a cryptic voice message that said, "The little hairy man and I are home, waiting for you." So I arrived home from Channel 13, where I was working at the time, full of curiosity. And fell in love with Esau.
Esau was indeed a little hairy man. He was -- it turned out -- a loose coated wire-haired dachshund. Who knew that was a thing?
But what a precious thing. He and Gayland bonded at once. Gayland had never had a dog that was just his. They had had family dogs, but Esau was totally HIS. They adored each other. Oh, Esau loved me too, but it was clear I was a distant second to Gayland.
In 2012, while we were on a trip to Sicily, someone left a gate open, and Esau and another dog got out and were killed by a car. Another of our dogs was badly injured. We came home to this news, and we were devastated, Gayland especially so. The loss of Esau was huge.
A few months later, we got two more wire-haired puppies who had gone soft coated, and we loved Ms. Wiggles and Toby, but they weren't Esau. I don't think Gayland ever really got over that loss.
So I look at this photo, and I smile. I know Esau was waiting for Gayland and greeted him with squeals of joy and wiggles of delight. Rusty was there too, and Molly and all our other beloved dogs who went on ahead.
Of course they were. For what is heaven worth without dogs?