Relay: School’s Open

    My daughter, Katie, went back to school on Aug. 30, her senior year at Fairfield University in Connecticut. Speaking to some of her high school friends’ parents the other day, we cannot believe how fast the college years flew by. It seems like they just graduated from East Hampton High School! Where did the time go?  
    After returning from her semester abroad in South Africa on June 20, she worked for Stacy Myers and the Cornell Cooperative Extension at the Marine Museum camp for the summer. Most of her friends have either left the South Fork and are living in California or Florida, or are living in the city and commuting out east on the weekends, so we got to spend a good bit of time together this summer, during the week, when she wasn’t giving swimming lessons and baby-sitting at night for the Welshes or the Lindenbaums in Montauk. 
    Our usual routine would be to walk over to Navy Road after dinner with the dog and walk the beach. She would always bring her camera, and she got some great sunset photos, many of which she posted on Facebook. We had a wonderful mother-daughter night with her good friend Shannon, Shannon’s sister Devon, and their mother, Joanne. We went to Cittanuova for dinner and then to the movies to see “The Help.”
    We also had many family dinners at my brother’s house with walks around his neighborhood after dinner. My brother was watching his neighbor’s black Lab, Nate, while his neighbor Andy and his fiancée, Flo, were in France, preparing to get married. My brother was leaving to go to France for the wedding when Nate started to fail. He spent a few days at the vet, where they rehydrated him and made him comfortable enough to come home. 
    Kate volunteered to stay at my brother’s house with Nate and Reece, my brother’s Chesapeake Bay retriever. She would take them for a walk before she went to work, someone came at lunch to let them out, and she got back to them in the afternoon.
    We were taking the dogs for a walk one night and decided to see if Nate could make it down to the beach, his favorite spot in Montauk. He loved to swim in the ocean and fetch one of those plastic bumpers. He made it down to the beach and into the water and had some sticks in his mouth, very happy to be there.
    I asked Kate to go home and get her camera to take some photos of Nate on the beach to send to Andy and Flo in France to ease their minds over his sudden decline in health. She did and they got them and felt much better about him, seeing him on the beach.
    We walked there again the next night, but the following day Nate was weaker and hardly ate a thing. Kate brought the dogs over to our house and they played in the pond. It was easy for Nate as he didn’t have too far to go, and he swam in the calm pond water, retrieving his bumper. I made some chicken livers for him and shared some chicken from Herb’s Market.
    Kate kept in touch with the vet and took Nate in when he stopped eating. They put him to sleep the next day. We were all so sad. He was 12 years old. He’d had a wonderful life and wagged his tail in appreciation right up until the end.
    Katie did a great job of taking care of him, and Andy and Flo were so grateful for all that she did in keeping him comfortable. A big grown-up call for her.
    I guess it’s time for “the bird to fly the coop.” She’s applying for a Fulbright scholarship and is busy with classes, rugby, and her baby-sitting duties in Fairfield.
    I checked my Facebook account this morning before work and she’s posted sunrise and sunset photos from her beach house in Fairfield. Have a great senior year, Katie B. We’ll be up soon to see you play rugby. Enjoy every moment, and don’t forget to study!
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    Jane Bimson is an advertising sales representative at The Star.