They Ask For So Little and Give So Much


I admit that how I communicate with my father may contribute to what I communicate as opposed to what I intended to communicate. Some of the problem is technical, his hearing aids aren’t half as good as he claims. But some of the problem is generational.

My brother Mike announced this afternoon that Cookie (pictured right) had passed away this afternoon. Cookie was fifteen. I saw her in October when we were up for the wedding. She was still the good little dog I remembered although she had slowed down considerably.

My dad and I were fixing dinner. Since Mike had made the announcement via Instant message I was reasonably certain that Dad had not received it. So I just stated the facts, “Mike, just sent an IM that Cookie died today.”

First hurdle, what name did he hear?

There was a tightening around his eyes, then a glance left and up.

Second hurdle, How many Cookies does he know? I was reasonably certain there was only one, Michael’s now lamented pet. At ninety he had twenty-five years more possibilities, than I. As I considered the possibilities, I realized that I was wrong.

My Dad seemed to nod, as if putting things into context. Third hurdle, was he acknowledging and morning the loss of a beloved family pet or an obscure supporting actor, the parking lot attendant “Kookie” Byrnes from 77 Sunset Strip.

Nailed it! Cookie’s passing has been noted.