Happy Birthday to My Ginger Pooh
Who is Two

Okay, perhaps I am not a good rhyming poet. Nonetheless, Ginger was two yesterday, which will become a national holiday soon, I hope. To be serious for a moment, I am haunted by my relationship with Ginger. I alluded to this haunting in a recent essay, Ginger’s Vet…My Psychiatrist. In a couple of months, I will turn 76, and I bought an Irish Setter two years ago. I cannot logically process the acquisition of a dog in my twilight years.

Irish Setters require a great deal of exercise per day. Ginger and I circumnavigate the lake that we live on, which takes an hour first thing in the morning. At noon and before dinnertime, we play Chuckit or soccer for about a half hour each time. If I had another hour or two, Ginger would want to just go out and run. I can handle two hours per day of exercise, and my cardiologist is pleased with my exercise regimen. Nevertheless, what are the chances of me, a decade from now, rolling out of bed saying, “Ginger, do you want to go around the lake?”

I should have thought about that before I got Ginger. I had a Ginger nearly a half century ago and understood that Irish Setters are high activity dogs who both love the exercise and need it both physically and emotionally. However, the high maintenance issue was understood by me decades ago but never did it rise to my consciousness two years ago just before Christmas when I drove to Home, PA to pick up my second Ginger. That issue haunts me about why I didn’t think.

And what’s with getting the same breed of dog, the same sex, and the same name? That haunts me also. Was I merely attempting to relive my happy moments with Ginger #1? Why? Maybe, I am still grieving the lost of my first setter.

Another part of the explanation of Ginger #2 is due to my age and having done the dance with death. While I am healthy, I am fully aware that my clock is ticking. In some way Ginger II is my dealing with my future death by caring for the next generation…of an Irish Setter. I enjoy watching her grow and mature. I like to see the progress that I am making with her behavior and learning all sorts of things.

That is why I am drawn to young children…especially, Ti Ti, Snow, and Fatty who live in Myanmar. I know that I won’t be around forever, but while I am still around, I want to watch them mature. That is one of the main reasons for We Are Family in Myanmar, Inc. This coming year, I want to raise a half million dollars for 1250 laptops and improved Internet reception in Taunggyi where they go to school. That will help my three grandchildren and their classmates, who make up my extended family.

When it gets down to the basics, I want my young family in Myanmar and my young Irish Setter to go to bed knowing that someone loves them and will do all that he can do to help them grow up without all the emotional cares of not knowing. It is humbling for me to grasp that I am not all powerful and capable of everything in life, but at least I can love and assist those around me. It seems to me that at least Ginger, my three children, my adult granddaughter, my young grandsons, and my family in Myanmar know that they are loved.

In addition, it provides me with a critically important purpose for being alive.

Now that I have emotionally vented, I can laugh and play while Ginger celebrates her second birthday. Her birthday gifts include an extra-large water buffalo horn, which she insists is a rhino horn, a yellow duck, large bone, and a gingerbread man with two candles.

“Would you finish singing Happy Birthday.”

“Don’t touch these gifts; they are mine.”

“What a birthday meal.”

“That bone hit the mark.”

“You must love me, because you gave me all these treasures.”

“I love you.”