Sunday, January 29, 2017

My turn

This one's for Jack and Uncle Earl.

When Jack died, just a few days before Christmas, I was lucky to have the support of friends. My friend Scott helped me by carrying Jack's 65 pound body out of my house and putting it in my car to take to the vet; my friend Linda helped me by driving me to the vet, taking me out for food, cleaning my house and putting away all dog-reminder items while I showered, and then taking me out to Vaughans's Lounge and getting me drunk.

Jennifer and my friend Dink
Yes, sometimes that's what we need when we are in sorrow. A good drunk.

At the end of that grief-sodden day, I was sitting out on the smoking bench at Vaughan's Lounge, and inexplicably singing Broadway show tunes with a neighbor, Jennifer. At one point, Jennifer said, "We ought to have a Second Line for Jack!"

And I said, "Great idea!"

Fast forward to the next morning, crawling out of bed with a hangover, I checked my phone. There were some three messages from Jennifer. She had already figured out the date, secured permission to hold the end-of-parade party at Vaughan's, and was searching around to book a band.

Girl can get things done!

The event's impact deepened when just a few days after Jack's death, one of his doggie friends the venerable Uncle Earl also passed on to the Great Pasture in the Sky. Jennifer crafted the event as a fundraiser for our local veterinarian, who does pro-bono cat and dog neutering.

Yesterday was the day. We assembled in the vacant lot across from the barbecue restaurant known as The Joint. The band, known as the Browncoat Brass Band, warmed up the crowd. We marched through the streets of the Bywater, people and dogs, hitting two other bars before ending up at Vaughans, where delicious food and King Cake awaited us.

I was not sure what my role would be. As a former event planner, I was antsy as the advertised time for the parade to start passed and people were just sitting on the chairs outside of The Joint, sipping their bloody marys or beers. I asked Jennifer too many times what was going on - she finally told me, "Glennis, go smoke some weed and chill out! You don't have to do anything!"

Jennifer in the lead
I took her advice about the chilling out. When the band finally moved into the streets, Jennifer hauled me to the head of the parade and told me to lead it. I didn't even know the route!!! When the band leader asked me which way to go at the first intersection, Jennifer ran up from the ranks and took the lead - wearing her hair in pigtails and boasting dog-face makeup.

There were lots of family and friends. People waved from their front doors and porches. There were little kids. And dogs. Lots and lots of dogs.

Amazingly, even at the bar, the dogs came in and were peaceful together - no barking or scuffling.

Way to carry your beer while drumming!

It was a special day - as it can only be here in New Orleans.


Joanne said...

So sorry for your loss -- I know how much you loved Jack.

Happydog said...

Awww this made me tear up a bit. Always enjoyed seeing Jack in your site and know he's missed. I love this idea you had for your doggos.