Point of View: The New Year’s Begun

It’s just nice to have things to look forward to

“We’re going to Emily’s for Thanksgiving next year,” Mary said.

“That gives me something to live for,” I said.

“I’ll tell her you said that,” she said.

I was joking, I hadn’t meant anything by it — it’s just nice to have things to look forward to. We’ve been looking forward to a lot of things lately, and then, of a sudden, we pause because still other things to look forward to have supplanted what it was we were initially looking forward to, which is what we do until we replace the new thing, or things, we’re looking forward to with yet another thing, or things, to look forward to. 

In brief, we try not to dwell on the past. 

Besides, Thanksgiving at Emily’s — it will be my first trip to Perrysburg, Ohio, as in “Why, oh why, oh why, oh, why did I ever leave Ohio, why did I wander to find what lies yonder when life was so cozy at home?” — we are also looking forward to getting another dog. Assuming, that is, the breeders, who live in Virginia, after having perused our lengthy application, sort of like what you might have to fill out if you were applying to Harvard, concur that we are worthy.

When Mary asked, as she was filling out the application, when it was that Henry died, I said, “Not long ago . . . in May. . . ?” 

But it was, indeed, I learned later, while reviewing my columns, a long time ago — at the end of August in 2014. Fifteen months have passed and I can still see him looking at me from where he was lying in the kitchen as I was digging his grave.

“His world was narrowing,” Mary said, “and ours was too. He was almost there when he went, at our hands — a terrible duty this terrible beauty exacts. . . .”

We’re going to Emily’s next Thanksgiving, we’re getting a dog, and I’ve planted a small Christmas tree near where Henry lies. The new year’s begun.