Writer’s Corner: Lucky

Sondra Wainer and Luck, circa 1947.

Writer’s Corner: Lucky
October 31
00:00 2019

By Sondra Wainer

Ever since I can remember I have loved animals. One of my earliest memories is when I was about two years old, sitting on the back stoop of our house. It was nothing fancy, just a slab of concrete with no handrails and some steps leading to the ground, but it was my happy place.

My father often brought home a big bag of peanuts in their shells and each day I would take a handful and make a dash for the back stoop where I would sit, legs dangling on the edge, and I would wait. In no time at all, as if they knew I had a surprise for them, two little friends would scamper up the steps. With tails fluffed out behind them and their eyes darting from side to side, they would wait for what they hoped would come – peanuts!

When I laid a nut down beside me, one of the squirrels would dash over, pick it up and begin to crack the shell and ferret out the goodness waiting inside. I would sit for hours talking to them and handing out an occasional peanut. These were my friends and confidents and a major part of my life.

When I was about five, my father was transferred to Norfolk, Virginia, and sadly, I had to leave my ever-growing family of squirrels behind.

I don’t really remember much about the trip from Maryland to Virginia – whether it was by train or bus or how long it took. What I do remember, vividly, was pulling up in front of a house and seeing my father waiting for us and someone or something hesitating behind him. When the driver opened the car door, I flew toward my father with my arms wide open; however, my attention was quickly diverted. As I hung over his shoulder, I thought I saw – could it be? – a dog! I squirmed to get down and found myself face to face with two dancing brown eyes. I wrapped my arms around his neck as he licked my face, and it was love at first sight.

His name was Lucky and he belonged to the previous residents who had been transferred overseas. If they had taken him with them, Lucky would have spent six months in quarantine in a warehouse in a cage. Fortunately for me, part of the negotiation was that he came with the house. I was overjoyed! My mother, not so much. She was not an “animal person” and, trust me, my father got “the look” when she realized this was not a neighbor’s dog coming over to welcome us to the block. I promised that I would be the one that would feed and take care of him and so I had a dog!

As if it was yesterday, I remember the days we would sit on the floor, my arms around him as I read stories about Raggedy Ann and Andy or The Gingham Dog and the Calico Cat. There were times when I was sad or hurt and he was always there, licking away the tears running down my cheeks, letting me know that it would get better.

It was only when I was thirteen and I lost him and my home suddenly became empty and quiet that I realized that all of the years I thought I was taking care of him, he was actually taking care of me. He had been the brother I never had, the companion who never left me, my North Star as we moved from place to place.

Lucky taught me everything I needed to know about unconditional love and what it truly means to be a friend. In the end, I was the “lucky” one.

Sondra Wainer is a budding writer and a resident of Hunt Park senior apartments in Winston-Salem.

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