In Loving Memory Of Boots Reinmuth
Written by Consta Jenkins
Reprinted by permission of the author
Eatbugs opened his eyes and blinked at the sun. He'd slept far longer than he had intended and hurriedly washed his whiskers and patted down his fur. Today was a very special day on the Rainbow Bridge. The elders had held a Circle for hours and murmured quietly among themselves and then had pronounced that today would be a day of great rejoicing and celebrations. They had not said precisely why, but no kidden questioned the pronouncements of the elders, especially when they called for fun, food and good companionship!
Eatbugs trotted along to the kibble bowls and hoped he hadn't missed any of the events yet. He was relieved to see so many of the Company still lingering over the food dishes. He found a vacant bowl beside Skunk and started to eat.
"Well, I see you decided to join the world of the conscious", laughed Grace.
"Well, Imbri and Tinky and Boo Boo and I took Spunky out to dance among the stars last night and well....", said Eatbugs looking sheepishly at his paw paws.
"...and you played tag until the sun came up", laughed Jasmine.
Eatbugs' nose leather turned a deep pink, "well, ummm, sort of".
"Well, I'm glad you decided to wake up", said Rocky, "Today of all days is not the time to snore away your morning!". The kiddens murmured in agreement.
Over in the grassy field, Dino, Picnic and Mister were merrily giving peeper rides. Eatbugs knelt to help Pouncequick onto his shoulders and then trotted brightly around the field. "Can I say it Unca Eatbugs? Can I? Can I, huh?".
Eatbugs laughed, "Okay, go ahead". "Gets along little dog dogs!" whooped Pounce at the top of his lungs.
In the tall grass a rousing game of hide and swipe was in session. "Hey, how come my taiw am getting bopped so much. It alweady been swiped three times!", bemoaned Nickie.
"Have you LOOKED at your tail lately, kid", lauged Pitty Pat.
"Oh", said Nickie casting a baleful look at his plumed appendage and diving back into the fray.
In the south field, just beyond the catnip patch, the hockey game was in session. The puck flying fast and furious as fuzzy paw paws thwacked it hither and yon. Freyja gave it a mighty slap and Dino went off whisker and nose leather with Katie after it.
The chirps had gathered in the willow branchs to offer up a chorale to those who wanted respite from the games. Miss Pepper and Pris were lounging with Miss Kitty and Ebony listening to a particularly lovely passage.
And so the day went, with laughter and fellowship and friendly competitions. As the day drew to it's close and the horizon shifted in color to the purple hues of sunset, the Elders sent for the Call to Gathering. From their games and resting they came, the Company of Kiddens. They gathered into a circle and Virginia stepped quietly to the center. She laid out a book and lit a candle, whose light danced in the gathering twilight. The other elders passed among the crowd handing out kibble. When all had been served, Virginia cleared her voice. "Well met to all the Company", she said, "it is time now to end our revels. We gather now in the Circle of Bards as a final celebration of our life here on the Bridge and make clear the meaning of today's celebration". With that, Virginia stepped back from the candle and Isolde stepped forward. In a soft voice she told the story of the Creation of All Things, of how the Creator had twitched her whiskers and brought forth all light and goodness. The kiddens sat enthralled as she finished her tale. When Isolde was through, Picnic stepped forward and told the story of the Great Promise, of how the loss of the love bond between her children and their humans had so saddened the Creator that she created the Rainbow Bridge and had twitched her tail and made the bond unbreakable. The kiddens all sighed and thought with great love on their humans as Picnic finished his story. Then Grandpa Max stepped into the the light and told the story of the Elders, of how in the earliest days before even the time of remembering, the Company of Kiddens had been formed and the Elders called upon to protect and nurture all kiddens and to keep the ancient mysteries, to ease the time of passing and to remember the old stories. The kiddens listened in awe as he finished his tale. Then Virginia stepped back into the light. She looked from face to face among the Company and began to speak, "Today we celebrate with love and laughter the coming of an Elder" The kiddens all gasped....a Welcoming? They looked at their paw paws and were embarrassed that they had played games and made merry on such a day. Virginia smiled, "No, my friends, it is right that we welcome this very special kidden with laughter and love. He has lived a very long march of days in the sun. His life has been filled to overflowing with love. There is sadness for his humans, who must now wait the time they can know again the warmth of his fur, but for our friend, joy. He will be whole again. He will once more be able to truly savor the feel of sunlight on his fur and the grass beneath his paws. It is right that we bring him to our Company with revels and song".
Virginia's eyes sought out a face in the crowd and when she found the kidden she stretched out her paw, "Come, Taureen, lead us now to the Gate and let us all make Welcome your beloved Boots".
Taureen's eyes lit up, "Boots? I will see Boots again?".
And together they rose and with Taureen at their front, the Company made their way towards the Gate. The Welcoming Song rang out in the willow branchs, filled with joy and love. The bittersweet refrain of the loss to his humans played quietly as a counterpoint. Taureen closed her eyes and purred her love to them as she walked.
They came at last to the Gate as the Welcoming Song reached its peak and just as they settled into their circle, the blue light flashed upon the Gate. In it's wake sat Boots. His fur was sleek and shiny, his eyes bright. He took a step and looked down at his paw paws in disbelief. There was no stiffness now, he did not hurt. He looked up and saw his beloved Taureen running towards him and his heart leapt. They nuzzled noses and licked faces. "Oh Boots!" Taureen cried, "I have waited so long for you!".
Boots smiled and headbutted his old friend, "I am here and now we will be together always".
As Taureen took him by the paw to lead him to his new home, he paused and pursed his whiskers. He concentrated his thoughts and lifted his purr to the wind and quietly in the night, his message drifted its way to the earth, "I am home Mom and Dad. I am whole...and I am waiting".
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