Saturday, December 12, 2015

Aunt Elsie III

Aunt Elsie had a dog once she had to hand feed. I'm not kidding, this dog would only eat things from Aunt Elsie's hand. It would take her half an hour or so to feed him his breakfast and then his dinner.

Lots to ponder about that. First of all, which creature was this about--Aunt Elsie or the dog? I pretty much believe a dog would eventually eat all on his own if Aunt Elsie hadn't hand fed him. Let him starve for a while (I don't remember his name but can see him in my mind eating piece after piece of dry dog food Aunt Elsie hand fed him) and he'd gladly eat on his own. But she worried because he wasn't eating when they first got him and figured out he would eat if she fed him by hand.

Isn't that called something like a symbiotic relationship--where one organism and another are in a mutually dependent relationship? Like us and our gut bacteria--all in it together and dependent on each other.

On the one hand, I thought Aunt Elsie liked having the dog dependent on her. On the other hand, I thought she believed she was keeping him alive by hand feeding him. The former is a bit distressing. The latter is noble.

It was the only thing about my mother's much younger sister that ever gave me pause--besides the hyper-religiosity, of course.

Elsie was dear. She was rigid but able to learn to be less rigid. She was more loving than judgmental, more compassionate than strict. I always admired her inner compass--how she looked at people and saw their faults, but also and more so, saw their value as more important than their faults.

But hand feeding a dog for over a decade. I never quite figured that out....

And I loved her for doing it.

I miss her. Even though I hardly thought of her for years at a time, I miss her now that she is dead.

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.