The final years of the twentieth century have a tendency of blurring together in my mind. I was working in a high paying and very stressful job for a large financial institution. My marriage was falling apart. I tried to hold the pieces of my old life together while finding new pieces for what was to come.
One part of my old life that stayed with me through the transition, and is still with me today is The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. I have been going to Falcon Ridge just about every year since 1994. During this time of transition, I went to Falcon Ridge with my two daughters. It was a great time listening to the music and dancing. It was 1998 or 1999.
Mairead was seeking her freedom and wanted to be at the dance stage, by herself. Falcon Ridge is a great community, and I felt safe letting her dance there while I went to a neighboring stage to listen to some music. At the end of the set, I heard the sort of announcement any parent fears, but especially a parent taking care of kids that are being fought over during a divorce.
“Will the parents of Mairead Hynes please report to the medical tent.”
At the tent, Mairead was sitting out side. She seemed okay. She had a big sliver in her foot. The efforts to remove the sliver were not going well, so they took her inside the tent where she laid down on a table as they worked on her foot. I sat at the front of the table and talked with her and tried to distract her.
One of the nurses snuck her pet ferrets, Calvin and Hobbes into the medical tent and distracted Mairead with them. Mairead left the tent with a bandaged foot, a little bag with the extracted sliver in it, and a desire to get a ferret.
After the festival we visited the local pet store to find that they had ferrets. We talked about getting ferrets, but none of us knew much about raising ferrets and there was too much flux in our lives to add ferrets to the mix.
In 1999, I met Kim. She had had a ferret when she was younger and we decided to get two ferrets. Skittles was an albino and Dashit was a standard sable colored ferret. In their early life at the house they had a fairly free range. They roamed the house, leaving little surprises in unexpected corners.
In 2000, Skittles stuck his head in the dog food dish of Barley. Barley is the chocolate Labrador that Kim had when we met. Barley snapped at Skittles and caught him on the neck. We rushed Skittles to the vet, and kept him alive for the night, but he died as we transported him back from the vet emergency room to the regular vet.
We bought a new ferret, who we named Hershey and for the next five years, Hershey and Dashit were our two ferrets. As we got tired of cleaning up their surprises, they spent a more and more of their time in their cage. It move from one room to another upstairs as the girls worked through who would clean the cage and take care of the ferrets.
This past week, while I was off in Washington, and then Austin, Kim came down with the flu. Fiona was very sick as well. She had a bad rash, so we aren’t sure if it was the flu, or if she had one of the childhood rash diseases. Whatever it was, they were both very sick and spent the time at Kim’s father’s house. During this, Kim had a dream that a ferret crawled into bed with her. She thought it was Gabrielle, her ferret from many years ago. However, she had been concerned about Dashit and may have been thinking of him.
Dashit was getting old and Kim was worried about him. This morning, Kim went up to check on the ferrets and found that Dashit had died. Was Kim’s dream Dashit coming to say goodbye?
Now, Mairead is off in college and I have a call into her. It will be hard telling her about the death of Dashit, especially as she struggles through an academically challenging semester. Miranda is with her mother, but will be here in a couple hours and I will have a long discussion with Miranda as well.
When I was in Austin, I had a discussion with a friend who had written a long blog entry about the death of his thirteen-year-old cat. We talked about the grief surrounding the loss of a loved pet and the importance of having places to remember our pets, including the blogs. In all of the discussions about political blogs, it is important to take a look at the special moments, including the loss of a pet. This is what makes the blogosphere so rich and meaningful.
So, Dashit, you will be missed.