Cancer Chronicles


I found this photo going through some old boxes. We had only been married about a year. Not only did I take the picture, I also developed the film and printed it. So that explains the poor quality. Janet wore the coat I bought her for first Christmas. There was a picture of one of the Nixon girls in the paper wearing one that just looked like it, although we were sure it cost a lot more than Janet’s. I always thought poofy polyester fibers brushing a woman’s cheek looked sexy.
Before I finish this story of the photograph, I have to explain that we had bought a dog a few months before this session in front of my camera. We paid a few dollars to a lady who lived in one of the posher sections North Dallas. It was the scandal of the neighborhood. Her purebred poodle had an unfortunate affair of the heart with a neighbor dog which was half poodle and half cocker spaniel. She wanted to get rid of the love puppy and move on with her respectable life.
Janet fell in love with the little dog. Its front end was cocker, the back end was poodle, with a distinct dividing line. The long tail was gloriously cocker. Janet decided it was a cocker-poopoo. We realized how appropriate that description was when he got his head stuck between the seat and door jamb of the car, panicked and pooped before we got home. Janet named him Shag Nasty because he made our shag carpet nasty. Also, he never caught on to lifting his leg to urinate, like other boy dogs his age.
Now that we’re caught up, I’ll continue the story about the photo session in the kitchen. It had a sliding door so there was plenty of natural light. Janet sat there, looking out the window staring at the dead Christmas tree waiting to be picked up by the garbage truck. I had a hard time getting her to smile, then her eyes lit up and her hand went to her mouth. I clicked. She told me Shag Nasty had just sniffed the tree, lifted his leg and christened it.
As long as I have memories like this I will always have Janet.

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