Mundy Madness – Titus

I feel like telling a story and today is Monday and there has been a little madness going on here.

Last week we got a D O G. I still can’t say it out loud. I can’t let the folks know how pleased I am to have a new pet. Titus is his name but this story is not about him. Before this retriever, I had a black lab when I lived with my mother in my early 20’s. His name was Cole. I actually got him for my 17th birthday and had him until he passed. He was a great dog full of adventure. This story is about his greatest adventure with my mother.

My mother had the habit of collecting birds. Not any ordinary bird but the birds from the family funerals. I don’t know why or when it started but she had collected enough birds that every Christmas she would put these birds on the Christmas tree. As she hung them she would say, “Merry Christmas” to each family member gone but not forgotten. I don’t know how she knew which was which, but she knew and proudly displayed them on the branches to our dismay. We never begrudged her of this habit because it somehow gave her comfort over the holiday. And when the holiday was over, she would pack them back up until the next Christmas.

One Christmas we took our mother to church service on Christmas Eve. We used to go when we were children and wanted to surprise her and go without prodding. This was a Christmas everyone was home for the holidays. Mom had her bird tree up in all it’s glory and we went out the door leaving Cole in the house because it was snowing. He was an in house dog and we never had any problems out of him so you can imagine my surprise when we returned. Cole must have been upset that we left him because he tore up the sofa cushions. Stuffing was everywhere and I thought my mom was going to flip when she came in the door. She didn’t say a word she just walked through the house. She had to be in shock. Mom is not the quiet type. Suddenly without warning she let out a moan, “Ahhhhh, Uncle Bobby. Noooooo Pop!”

And so on and so on until all the dead birds had been claimed. No one had noticed, Cole had destroyed them all. He had the heart to do what we could not. My mom cried that Christmas but she laughs about it every year now when she puts up her tree. I only hear her say, “that damn dog” and laugh when she puts up his ornament.

Titus. Welcome to the family. I look forward to all our adventures in the years to come.


12 thoughts on “Mundy Madness – Titus

  1. Denise what a great story, a wonderful family memory!!! You are not only an artist with paint, but one with words too!!! Thank you for my gift. I got it last week and wanted to let you know how much I appreciate you choosing me. You inspire me to find a class, because I see all this beauty and don’t know how to properly put it from the brain to the hand ! The canvas will be blank for a bit, but I have my eyes open for the Spring schedule at the local vo-tech, local community college, and local art league that has courses for beginners. I love your stories, and I wish you well with TITUS. He will be a great source of stories in the future!!

    • Thank you. Going to the ups office was the moment I needed to snap back into reality. I proceeded to parks and recreations and signed up for two art classes. These classes are the highlight of my week and who would have known I would have enjoyed them so much. We rescued Titus from the animal control but the truth is, he is the life saver. He has brought so much joy to our family. I’m sure he will be in many stories still yet to be told.

      • Denise, I am glad you are able to move forward. Grief is challenging; and scary; and necessary part of life. I think it helps to remind us what beauty surrounds us every day. You will put that beauty into your paintings. Praying for your comfort in the days and months ahead. It IS okay to live on; celebrate those memories!

      • Your so right SG. If I learned nothing in the last few weeks but this, life is for the living and we are honoring those who have fallen by living each day to its fullest. I am good and all is well.

  2. Denise – great story! And Titus is adorable!

    My grandmother loved dogs, and had many. My grandfather loved my grandmother, if not always the dogs. There was one named Jenny, rescued from death by a narrow margin. She was the third dog in the house at that time, and my grandfather wasn’t too sure they needed three. She was a strong-minded smart dog, very tenacious. She loved to chew. She destroyed many wonderful things, but still my grandmother prevailed. Finally the day came she chewed one thing too many. My grandfather put his foot down. “If that dog chews ONE MORE thing, she goes.” My grandmother went into protection mode. Soon, the couch was pronounced “too faded” to endure and was sent off to be reupholstered. Coats were deemed “out of style” and sent out with the rubbish. Small carpets were “too worn and frayed to be safe” and discarded. Then came my grandfather’s birthday. Big party. Store bought cake ( a rarity!) and my grandmother set down her cake plate to attend to something in the kitchen while my grandfather was answering the door. My grandmother arrived back to her cake plate to find Jenny munching away happily on the cake. Without missing a beat, my grandmother snatched up the plate, lifted her fork, took a bite and gamely ate her piece of cake. My grandfather never knew. Jenny lived to the ripe old age of 17, and yes, she did stop chewing eventually. But she never got over being smart and tenacious. 🙂

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