Old Friend, Missed

As I sometimes–heck, often–do when I don’t know just what to focus on for writing, thinking, or about what’s needed in a photographic summary of one lifetime, I go to the image galleries. And there, I quite often wander around the “blogimage” folders of pix I’ve posted with words and stories. Those are not just free-floating photographs. Each is embedded in an era of life on Goose Creek–before which I neither wrote nor shared images beyond family and friends.

Five years ago, we had decided to let our artist-friend Gretchen do a pastel portrait of Himself. I opened it up to popular vote. Number 3 won, and it hangs on the wall in the ANN-ex.

One year ago, come December 5, Tsuga left our lives.

Gandy is a full-time fill-in, working not-so-hard to establish her own unique place in the ecology of this family. She’ll turn one year in two weeks, 10 months with us come December 18.

I don’t know why I focused on this “studio shoot” of the dog, much preferring the ones of him running, digging for butterfly shadows, or playing toss-the-mole. Good memories. Good boy.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. In yet another weird coincidence, I was thinking about Tsuga this morning and wondering how Gandy is coming along. Then I come up to my office and catch up with Fragments to find that you have answered my query even before I send it! My son has a big red lab who spends his days with us while his dad is at work and he reminds me of your tales of Tsuga!

  2. And as it turns out, not a minute before reading your comment, I acknowledged to myself (since I am the only one here, and also out loud to Gandy) that today she has been more affectionate and cooperative than I have ever known her. She has tended to evolve that way–more a punctuated equilibrium than gradualism, if I can lapse back into my biology-speak. Consequently, I have gotten more writing and correspondence done today than in a typical week of her nipping at my elbows while I try to type. She will relapse, most likely, but hopefully this is a sign of the Future Gandy. Oh joy!