The store clerk must have thought I was crazy today when at the register I burst into song. I had just found the perfect Halloween card, a black, googly-eyed pug dressed as Darth Vader. Perfect because of my pug Vader, who died last year at the age of 14. Seeing this large, paper model brought his memory to my mind, a smile to my face, and his song to my lips.
Most of my animals it seems have come with a soundtrack – I would sing to my old girl Buffy when I groomed her, “making Buffy beautiful, making Buffy pretty” in a soft singsong voice. My black-and-white cat Mime would often hear the refrain “Jesus loves the little kitties” sung to the tune of “Jesus loves the little children.” When I got to the part “red and yellow, black and white,” I would always shout out, “That’s you Mimee,” in honor of her coloring. I sing to Joan’s dogs when I visit, but mostly to her old blind pug Ghanny, Amazing Grace, “I once was blind, but now I see,” I sing, hoping that some part of him does.
Vaderman had his own song. I think I sang it to the tune of another I knew, but I no longer remember the original. Instead, I remember shouting out Vader’s powerful melody, “Vaderman, Vaderman, if he can’t do it than no one can. He’s the wonderful amazing Vaderman.” And, he was.
I’m glad when I saw the card today it did not make me melancholy, but rather gleeful. “There you are little man,” I said aloud and proudly brought the card, along with a second for his breeder Joan to the register. As I handed it to the clerk and sang my ditty, I told her the story of Vader. She seemed ambivalent, like she’s seen it all before. And, as I looked at the cardstock cut out of my Darth Vader pug, I smiled remembering how I had once seen in my snorting little puppy, a resemblance to Vader of Star Wars -- black and raspy of breath. We’ve all seen things once or twice before, but where as my antics created a sense of bemusement in the store clerk, the whirling eyes of the paper pug conjured in me music and memories of a wonderful, amazing dog.