Fine Spirits

Ron RobinsonThis collection of epitaphs is distilled from personal experience. Each short narrative, like a fine spirit, can be served neat, with water, or on the rocks. Each snippet is crafted to enhance quietude as well as polite conversation. With hints of irony and paradox, Fine Spirits can be enjoyed as an aperitif, alongside a meal, after dinner or as a nightcap. Consume them quickly or savor the unique flavors. The choice is entirely up to you.

A few days after my father passed away, a black dog appeared at my mother's door. Buddy found her just when she needed him, filling grief's vast emptiness and giving her a reason to get up in the morning. Buddy didn't lie awake at night worrying about money. He didn't have anything to leave behind except his love and faithfulness. The older I get, the more dogs I miss.

J&J Colonel
I remember my first horse, Colonel. For years he met me at the corner of his paddock after school and announced my arrival with a nicker - a job he took seriously. You just don't forget that kind of friendship.

Wm. H. Robinson
My grandfather was quite the entrepreneur. He operated the Palace Livery in Sheridan, Wyoming where he sold horses and rented horse-drawn cabs. He later expanded into farming and grew alfalfa before starting his own freight line where he delivered hay, grain, and supplies in a buckboard wagon. Whenever the opportunity presented itself, he was reported to have offered his favorite maxim, "I can't never did anything."

Gobbo & Polonius
It was the fall of 1981. My first wife and I were living in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district, the birthplace of America’s counter-culture. We adopted two kittens and named them after minor Shakespearean characters. And like many of our haute bohemian neighbors, Gobbo and Polonius exemplified the phrase, "To Thine Own Self Be True."

Sheena loved to eat. She enjoyed mealtime, dog treats, and an occasional wayward chicken that flew into her backyard. The loving malamute-who survived tetanus-was euthanized with internal bleeding, presumably from consuming a poisoned rat. Our relationship with Sheena was exceptionally honest. It was predicated upon love and came without conditions. It was pure, unburdened by family dynamics or inheritance. I think that's why the grief associated with her loss was so visceral.

Feedlot horses don't fare well,
Hoofprints mark the places - 
No food or water when they sell,
Fear upon their faces.
Horses marked and shipped in order -
Sooner poll says stop McNeil.
Horses slaughtered on the border,
Screaming through the whole ordeal.

Because of our vast age difference, she was more like an aunt than a sibling. JoAnn was the personification of kindness. There was always plenty of food in her house and she would freely share a meal with an unexpected guest. JoAnn enjoyed technology as much as the next person. But more than her computer, she enjoyed humanity. More than social media, she liked and commented on kindness. Everywhere she found a person in need, there was an opportunity for kindness.

One warm summer evening, I was feeding our barn cat and he was reminding me about his loving and affectionate nature. Sandy's true intentions were obvious when he was rubbing his face and body against your leg. He had several ways of communicating, but a pleading meow was his preferred tone when he wanted to say, "I'm hungry." His soliciting seemed more urgent than normal, which prompted me to move quickly. Being somewhat curious, I turned toward the sound of his cry for food.

And there, on top of several neatly stacked bales of hay, stood our mackerel tabby with his distinctive stripes and an M mark on his forehead. "Well if you're up here, who's," I began. Tilting my head downward, I froze as my gaze was met with a pair of shining black eyes. For a moment, I forgot about Sandy. Aware of the skunk's unique abilities, I placed a bowl of cat food on the floor and slowly stepped backwards out of the feed room while Sandy entertained his tuxedo-clad dinner guest.

Note: Rainbow Bridge Anthology is my new eBook. It's filled with horse loss poems, articles, and personal stories for those coping with the loss of a horse. Buy now and get monthly updates for FREE. Available in PDF format.

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