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Elegy and Gratitude: Love to Augie

It’s been almost a week since I learned about Augie‘s death. Not a moment goes by where I am not in some small way carrying a part of her. I trust the rest of my days will be like this. Hopefully, I will learn to smile more when I think about her. Already, my mind races back in time over a decade ago, and sees the youthful dog many of you in D.C. and Louisiana knew. You know who and/or what “Ringo” means. And were probably vexed by it. Knew not to say “ball” or “squirrel.” Or “chippy.” It would set off a torrent of barking, as she locked into action, seeking some engagement with each of us. A way to please someone. That’s what Augie was all about.

The Augie who was mostly black! That all turned white about 5 years ago. Maybe the aftermath of our being uprooted from Louisiana’s stormy summer of 2005. Folks in Louisville don’t know that version, save family.

The outpouring of kindness from so many of you has been beautiful and much appreciated. There was Dr. Micheal White and Pat Lentz dedicating a “Blues For Augie/Second Line” to her memory, and me, at WFPK’s Live Lunch last Friday. Amazing. And the words of my friend Gary who said “Augie was probably the most sophisticated canine on the planet, having all those years of listening to tunes floating through the house.” She was surrounded by music. Rock and Roll and Hip Hop weren’t her faves. But Classical, Opera and Jazz, especially Jazz, were sounds she liked and would sit at my feet listening to while I was working.

I thought about this one day last week, when I pulled out Terence Blanchard’s “A Tale Of God’s Will (Requiem For Katrina),” one of those recordings I can always listen to when nothing else works. He offers a funeral dirge, in memory of those who perished in The Storm. And a song for his Mother, after they entered her house in the Lower Ninth. Both are beautiful, sad and moving. And the swells of his trumpet lines also offer a hope for a better tomorrow. They do for me at least. I hope for you, too.