“You’re the lady with the dog,” a woman said to me at church the other day.
“The dog with the fish?” I responded, half-questioning, half completing her sentence.
“That’s right,” she said excitedly.
Our dog is famous around Greene. She carries a toy, usually a fish, with her on walks. At Christmas, she carries a Santa.
And now I’m known as the lady with the dog with the fish. All my life I’ve been identified by others — Dr. Pollock’s daughter, Bud’s wife, Philip’s (or Owen’s or Sam’s or Helen’s or Jacob’s or Karl’s or Mary’s or Laurel’s) mother. It’s really okay — I kind of like being in the background.
Yesterday, Mary did an outdoor high ropes course. She said, “There were two rules. The first was that you couldn’t call anyone ‘Hey, you’ so we had to learn everyone’s names. If we couldn’t remember their name, we were supposed to ask them to tell us again because it’s disrespectful not to try to learn someone’s name.”
“What was the second rule?” I asked.
“I don’t remember,” she said.
When we visited my mother at the Manor, she was still in bed. It was 11 AM.
“She’s being a stinker,” the nurse told us.
“Hi, Mom,” I said as I entered her room.
She turned and looked at me. “Oh, hi,” she said.
“Are you going to get up today?” I asked.
“Not yet,” she replied.
“Do you know who I am?” I asked.
“Yes, I know who you are.” She smiled at me.
“Okay, then,” I challenged, “who am I?”
What a sweet little pleasure to realize that she still knows my name!
She knows my name. I’m not the lady with the dog, or the one with a bunch of kids. She knows my name.