Thoughts of Mort the beagle


Sometimes I think I see a dog. And what is this dog doing? Why, he’s chewing on a rawhide bone. I wonder if dogs know we often think about them and write about them. And I guess my frequent thoughts and writings about dogs are a delayed reaction to Mort’s death in 1973, or perhaps a sign of my perpetually missing him. After all, he’s the only member of my immediate family who’s ever died. I guess Mort will be with me forever.

He was born July 31, 1963 and died about ten years later. I remember my parents didn’t tell me of his death until a number of weeks later, in a phone call I took at one of the pay phones at Cowell College at the University of California, Santa Cruz. And I was so caught up then in my wild life—the women, the marijuana, the heedless hedonism—that I felt very little when they told me.

Years later, when I expressed to Dr. Marx my surprise at their delay, he said, “They must have thought you’d be devastated.” (I still remember his expression when he said that word.) He thought this was so ironic; he knew how little I’d felt. But as I say, the years go by and I’ve never stopped feeling Mort’s death.

December 30, 1990

Updated May 05, 1997.

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