Living in a zoo is not easy. With 4 dogs, 2 cats, 2 frogs, and a snake, our animal sanctuary is once again nearly full. In the past we have seen ducks, rabbits, and even a pot bellied pig come and go through this house. Keeping up with all of them is nearly a full time job for Little red. And having a sitter when we need to go out of town is even tougher.

That is where the Burnhams come in. Great friends who live down the street and possess a very attractive quality for people like us - they have a bunch of dogs too. And when they go out of town, they are looking for someone to watch them. See where this is going? Yeah, it works.

Of course, mutual pet sitting isn't the only reason why I consider Dave and Sara among my closest friends. Since we met years ago, at 3D, Dave and I have kind of lived parallel lives. When we first became friends, he was kind of lost after a bad divorce, trying to find his way. He would come over and have way too many Miller Lites, smoke way too many Marlboro's, and tell the stories that made me afraid to ask for my own divorce. Then, he met Sara and his life changed in a heartbeat. All of the sudden my new friend had things pointed in the right direction. They fell in love, changed each other and changed for each other and are building a wonderful life together. Yeah, sound familiar?

I digress.

So this weekend, like many others, we traded off the dog duties with each other. Dave and Sara took care of our pack Thursday and Friday, and we returned the favor Saturday and today. And that is where this blog really begins.

As we were getting prepared to feed their senior pug, Daisy, I had to call Dave to ask him where her food was. See, they had run to Ashtabula to spend the weekend with his Mom and Dad, their family Thanksgiving. He told me the food was in the dining room, which was protected at either doorway by a baby gate so the dogs would not go into that room. I scaled the first gate and filled her bowl. I handed it to Tiffany and told her that I was going to go over the other gate to get out, because I had some issues getting over the first.

Follow me?

Now let me point out that I am Linda Bromberg's son. And my mother was known for many things, but coordination was not one of them. Not only that, but after nearly tripping on the first gate, you would have thought that I would have learned. But yeah,  no.

I am not that bright.

 So over the second gate I tried to go.

I am not sure whether my foot got caught or the gate just bit me, but somewhere mid leap I realized I was not gonna make it. And then it occurred to me that what was about to happen was going to hurt. And I was right. I hit face first, and the rest of my body landed with a giant thud. My glasses went flying, my shoe fell off, and I thought I had broken my arm and leg. Tiffany and the boys came running, and she started to call 911. I stopped her and managed to stand up, still in a good deal of pain. I sat for a few, then realized I was hurting but not broken. It was then that she cracked a smile. And I knew what she was gonna say.

"You gonna be OK, Linda?"

Thanks Babe, that helps.

I went to bed with a bunch of ibuprofen in me, knowing I would be sore this morning. And I was. But that is not what woke me up today......

In January of 2009 I lost my mother. If you are a reader of this blog, you are well aware of that fact. Many posts here are about her and that more than 5 years later, it still hurts the same way it did the day she left us. I was devastated, in a fog, and lost when she died.

At her funeral, 400 miles from home, these same Burnhams were there for whatever I needed. They made the journey and showed me what amazing people they were by just being there when I needed a friend. Subsequently, as I lived through a very dark time and made drunken mistake after drunken mistake, these people were pillars of support for me. And when I met my Little Red, they turned into my cheering section.  Because of the years of unwavering friendship and support, these people have my undying admiration, respect, and gratitude.

When my phone rang before 8 this morning and Dave's number popped up, I figured it was to check on the dogs. A call from one of them is not unusual if they are out of town. But when I heard my friend's voice quiver, I knew it was not a good morning for him. He told me that his father had passed away overnight and that he would not be at work this week (he works at the Mammoth with me). I expressed my condolences and let him know that, like he and Sara, Tiffany and I were here for whatever he needs. It was a heartbreaking call, and I felt such a sadness for my friend. I have been there. I know that hurt. And there is nothing I can do to change it.

I never had the opportunity to meet his father, James "Jim" Burnham. but I can tell what kind of man he must have been. After all, he raised a son who is an amazing father, husband, friend, brother, scout master, carpenter, and 1000 other things I am sure I am forgetting. I know that Dave got his example from his father.

We, as his friends and family, are blessed because of it. And we thank you, Mr. Burnham.

As I sit here tonight, I find it rather ironic that I pulled a Linda moment in the very home of the people who supported me the most when she died, on a night that would bring a need for them to have the same type of support.

Please say a little prayer for the Burnhams tonight.

Day # 637. Somber night, remembering what that was like. Still, 5 years removed and I don't even know the person I was then. It is good to be me.


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