Monday, February 15, 2016

Corpus Christi and WEP-February Challenge

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I'm off to Corpus Christi, Texas in a few days to be at the Teen Bookfest By the Bay with a lot of other YA authors. Some writers from UnCommonYA. and of course, my fabulous crit partner, Yvonne Ventresca. I always get excited when I'm going to meet other writers, especially those I share my writing process with. Yvonne is the only crit partner I haven't met in person, so this is going to make the event very exciting. I'll post about it.




Now I've decided to jump into Yolanda and Denise's February WEP, Valentine's Lost and Found. This is a bit early, but hope it's okay because I'm still trying to stick with my Post On Mondays Only policy. 




Jolly was my first dog. He is still the dog that has my heart and always will. We grew up together. I remember when I got into serious trouble with my gram and Jolly would stand at my side while she scolded me—her corporal punishment was shaking her finger in my face until my eyes crossed. Then I had to go to my room for decades. Well, not decades, but at eight, the hour of confinement was long enough for world wars to be fought and won or lost. 

Jolly stuck with me during those decades. He’d say things like, “You’re my girl. You’ll be just fine, and all is going to be great in a short time. Besides, I’m here with you. Let’s just cuddle.”

So we did. 

Then when I was thirteen, my mom and gram decided I needed to visit the homeland. They shipped me off to Kansas where their roots were, but where I was the stranger in a strange land. I wrote and called home a lot—mostly about not being a fit for Kansas and missing Jolly. It wasn’t natural being away from home or him. 

In each conversation with Mom and Gram they said all was well, not to worry. 

“He’s a bit mopey, but gram and I are walking him."
”Jolly’s fine, honey. Enjoy your visit.”
“I brushed him today and told him you’ll be home in a couple of weeks.”

When I made my last call, the news wasn’t that cheery. Jolly had some problems. I begged to come home immediately, but my return airline ticket was already purchased. I could come back in a few days, just not that day. 

When I finally set foot on native soil again, I ran up the ramp and to my family. I fully expected they would smuggle Jolly into the airline terminal, but there were only two humans to greet me—two humans with grief all over their faces.

They didn’t have to tell me I’d never hold Jolly again, that he’d never curl up next me with warmth and encouragement. I knew. I also knew they’d done their best to save him, but I had this terrible gash inside me that none of my family could ever stitch up.

All I could think was that his girl hadn’t there when he needed her, and his girl has always regretted that. 

This is for Jolly, the dog I loved and lost. His name suited him. 





Quote of the Week: "A man is only as good as what he loves." Saul Bellow



86 comments:

  1. Good luck at the bookfest. Wish we had more in our area.

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  2. Oh, what a sweet story, and also sad. Jolly understands. Have fun at Corpus.

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    1. Thanks, Beverly. I think I've wanted to write about Jolly for a long time. I keep including dogs in my stories, so that must be my tribute to him.

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  3. That story brought tears to my eyes... A good dog is a treasure. Enjoy your book festival.

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    1. I miss not having a dog, but I wouldn't be able to give him the attention he needs. I'm not eight anymore and life is darned full. :-)

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  4. Hope you have a great time at the bookfest. Some dogs/cats really stick with us indeed, we never know how long we or they have.

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    1. The future's not ours to see. Hey! I think there's a song with those lyrics. :-)

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  5. Hope you have fun at the bookfest. It sounds awesome. And dogs are such special friends. Mine has so been getting me through my challenges.

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    1. You've had a few years of dealing with a lot of challenges. Glad you had the comfort of a furry friend.

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  6. Oh... that's a heart wrenching story. Wish I could get to Corpus, so close and yet so far away...

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    1. Dang, Bish. I was hoping we could high-five each other in person!

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  7. Have a wonderful time! Yvonne is absolutely lovely!! Tell her hello from me ~ and I hope she brings her book cover skirt. (She'll know which one I mean.)

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    1. I'll pass on the message. I can't wait to actually talk to her.

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  8. This was a really heartbreaking story. I lost my cat last year so I know what it feels like.

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    1. Anytime we lose a pet, it's hard. Thanks for stopping in.

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  9. Jolly looks like he was a wonderful dog. Very sad to lose a pet.

    Have a good time at the festival.

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    1. Jolly was a perfect dog. I've had several since, but he stands out.

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  10. That's so sad. My first dog-love, Whiskey, was my Jolly. We had him in the pre-leash law age, then the law was passed, and he never could get used to the leash. A neighbor kept complaining, so we had to send him away to a new home. I never liked those neighbors again. And I learned to never complain about someone's pet. No matter how annoying I find them. It was a heart breaking moment in my young life.

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    1. That would be heart breaking. Hope he found a good home.

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    1. sorry to hear about the dog, here in Ex Yugoslavia we never knew how dalmatians got the name from our coastal region of Dalmatia

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    2. That's a good question. I'll have to look that up and find out.

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  12. Have fun in Texas at the Bookfest. Such fun to meet and speak with fans! Enjoy!
    I identified with your story. So heartbreaking for a young girl. I'm much older and the loss of my sweet little girl, Patches, still hurts.

    Thanks for being part of the WEP Valentine Challenge.

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    1. I guess we never outgrow our sense of loss when an animal we love dies.

      Thanks for the WEP Valentine Challenge. It gave me a chance to write about Jolly.

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  13. I know Jolly felt your love, even from afar! Great pic!
    Enjoy the booklets :)

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  14. Oh my, I have tears in my eyes. I am certain this pains you even now but I know Jolly is with you even now, you just can't see him. I have had a few dogs but one was Fox. She actually looks more like a Coyote. She was so smart and was always with me. I wanted my parents to have her spade since all the dogs came by but my parents were so old school and didn't see why one should spend money on this. She got pregnant by a St. Bernard and she was such a small thing compared to the St. Bernard. When I came home from school, I wondered where she was until my mom told me matter of factly. Fox was in a lot of pain and took my mom's sleeve and led her to the car! My mom brought her to the vet and the vet told my mom the puppies were so big Fox could not have them normally plus Fox had little chance of surviving plus the puppies were dead so my mom had her put down. I know she was not in good shape at the moment and the Vet said it was for the best but I never really forgave my parents for not getting her spade.

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    1. That is a sad story. Poor little girl. I know how you must have felt.

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  15. Dogs have their own unique lovable personalities. Jolly sounds like a smart dog.

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    1. He was that and patient, too. He put up with a lot of little girl stuff.

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  16. Jolly was an awesome dog. And so beautiful! That story is heartbreaking. I'm sorry you didn't get to see him, at least to say goodbye.

    Enjoy the Bookfest!

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    1. I've never seen a Dalmatian with such perfect spots. I think he was the most beautiful one in the world. I'm, of course, biased.

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  17. Jolly was an awesome dog. And so beautiful! That story is heartbreaking. I'm sorry you didn't get to see him, at least to say goodbye.

    Enjoy the Bookfest!

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  18. Tears here.
    They wind their paws deep into our heart strings and take a piece of us with them when they go.

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    1. And you don't ever get that piece back. Just have to cherish the memory of the them.

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  19. Reading an entry about animal love is a happy discovery for me. In my past it's always been about cats, the only dog I've truly bonded with is my current pet, Fio. It's nice to read and know that I'm not the only one whose heart has stretched for a 4-legged friend :) Yes, it was sad and you plucked at my heartstrings and I'm sorry for your loss but I'm grateful for you sharing this story and letting that grief shine a little :) Thanks for writing! What a great name for a dog too :)

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    1. Flo must be a very lucky pup to have your love.

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  20. What a cute Dalmatian! And with a name like "Jolly" he had to be a sweetheart and adorable - it's right there in his name. Great Valentine's Day post for WEP! (I can't believe your family packed you off to Kansas. Ugh. Sounds like punishment to me. :P )

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    1. I did point out that both Gram and Mom had left Kansas, so there must have been a reason. The state has a lot to recommend it, but it didn't do much for me at that early age.

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  21. Aw, cute picture of your dog! I hope you have fun at the conference. That's great you get to finally meet the last of your crit partners! I have one that lives in another state and i'd LOVE to meet her one day too.

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  22. I love Dalmatians. Jolly is a great name too.

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  23. What a gorgeous dog, and I love the name. How awesome you get to meet your CP. One day, I'd like to meet all of mine. We all live in different states! :)

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    1. The funny thing is that I've met them all except YV and one lives in France.

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  24. The emotions of a heartbroken little girl come through in your story, Lee. Losing a favourite pet is so heartbreaking, made even more so by not being by their side to offer love and consolation. What a beautiful, aristocratic dog Jolly was.

    Enjoy the bookfest. Thank you for participating in the WEP Valentine's challenge.

    Denise :-)

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    1. Thanks for always leaving such considered comments, Denise. Appreciate that. Loved this Challenge.

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  25. A great story, have a good time at the bookfest.
    Yvonne.

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  26. Hi Lee - I can empathize - Jolly looks an amazing dog .. and your heart still grieves I'm sure .. how terribly sad.

    However enjoy the conference - it will be fun .. lots of kids longing to read ... happy times and enjoy meeting up with fellow writers, bloggers and Yvonne - cheers Hilary

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    1. Thanks, Hilary. I am looking forward to this conference. Hope to have some fun things to write about when I return.

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  27. Can't wait to meet you in person! Texas will be extra special because of that!

    Yvonne

    PS -- Jolly brought me to tears.

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    1. I feel the same way. Thanks for reading the short story and becoming involved in it.

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  28. Aww, this broke my heart. So sad. Jolly was a gorgeous dog and what a great picture.
    I hope you have a wonderful time in Corpus Christi! It's always so fun to meet blog friends in person.

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  29. You really captured your time with Jolly. Thanks for sharing. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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    1. I think those times are so much a part of me that it's easy to set them down. Thanks.

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    1. Hi and thanks for taking the time to read the story.

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  31. Such a tender, sweet touching story (as I wipe tears from my eyes). They never leave our heart.

    Have gun at the Bookfest.

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  32. Dogs are so much a part of us. I've had several and each took a part of me when they died. My mother used to give our dogs away when they got older and started to need the vet. I think that was harder than holding them as they died. I dream about them sometimes. Good story.
    Nancy

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  33. What a sweet, heartbreaking story of love and loss.

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  34. Aww, what a bittersweet story. Glad you had good memories to help you along. Enjoy your trip to Texas!

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  35. Wonderful true story. I can relate to it. I too had a favorite dog named Prexie and she will always be my favorite dog.
    Very touching and I like how you expressed the not being there when Jolly needed you. That is something that will linger with you.
    Shalom,
    Pat

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  36. So sad that you couldn't be there when Jolly needed you. I'm sure he was thinking of you though.
    Have a great time at the bookfest.

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  37. My first dog was Shorty. She stayed with me through elementary, junior high, high school, and through the first year of college. When she died, a great part of my own heart died.

    She died at the vet's --- without me there. It haunted me so that now, I hug my furry friends as the vet sends them to that land that knows only happy runs and endless games.

    O.K. Now, I'm crying. Great fun at the book fest. :-)

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  38. That's just heartbreaking. Your poor pup.

    I hope you have a fabulous time at the Bookfest!

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  39. *sniff* That's a sad story.

    I hope bookfest goes well!

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  40. Aww, sniffs here too. Losing them is so hard.

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  41. I get so weepy reading about animals. It's so hard when they pass away.

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  42. Oh, so sad! I wasn't there when my childhood dog passed away, either. I'd already moved away - I've always regretted that.

    Hugs.

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  43. That's a heartbreaking story of love and loss. Hard for a young girl to grapple with the loss of a favourite pet, but in a way, it's also good to be spared the sadness of the actual process/details of death, they are not easy to witness.

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  44. I'm from TX and I didn't even know Corpus had a book festival! Thanks for this post.

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  45. Awww, such a tender memory to share. He will always have a place in your heart to cuddle close. I had a Dalmatian too, growing up. They're a special breed:) You're welcome to visit my border collie sidekick anytime.

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  46. Oh well, now I'm balling like a baby. My girlfriend just stopped by and they're off to the vets to put her cat to sleep. Shish. You guys! This is a sad, sweet story, My best friend's name was Sam. Cried for a month when he passed.

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  47. Oh, a sad story but a lovely tribute to your dog, your first love. I love his name, Jolly.

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  48. As a dog lover, that story really touched my heart.

    I've had the pleasure of meeting some great dogs, but sadly never had one of my own. While the heartbreak of losing a friend like that would no doubt be immense, I think it would be worth all the joy that preceded it.

    At least Jolly still lives on in your heart.

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  49. So sorry about Jolly- I have lost many dogs over the course of my life and each one hurt to my core and I still grieve for them.

    Hope you are having a blast in Texas. It sounds like an all around awesome time. :)
    ~Jess

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  50. Of all the WEP stories I've read so far, this one hurt me the most. I love dogs more than people in a lot of cases. It hurts losing your childhood dog :(

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  51. I can imagine how you felt to find out your dog was gone. It is so hard to lose a loved pet and this one was your childhood friend. Jolly looks like he was a fine dog.

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  52. What a heartrending story. And for a child to have to go through. There's nothing like a dog for comforting one and when they go, it is so painful. Love the photo of Jolly.

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  53. A great story. Loved reading about this.

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  54. Oh, wow, I'm sorry you had to go through that! Losing a pet definitely hurts, and it's the sort of thing that sticks with you for the rest of your life: both the pain and the love you had for them.


    Alexa
    thessalexa.blogspot.com
    verbositybookreviews.wordpress.com

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