“Last”

Color photograph of a man standing next to a movable gangway on a pier at the edge of a lake. A mountain in the distance is partially shrouded by clouds.
Photograph copyright © 2015 Mignon Naegeli

My Human’s European journeys to the Old Country will be no more. From now on, roads travelled will be in our—four legged ones—vast beautiful birthland. No planes or trains, just rolling on four wheels.

Farewells will become remembrances, trigger some tales, the past becomes the future.

The last goodbye to the remaining parent always hurts most. A deep unfounded sorrow and regret, added to the chagrin of loosing a loved one, is something only humans can feel. Other animals never do, not even their four legged companions like myself or my canine and feline brothers and sisters.

When left—be it for a few hours or weeks, or sometimes even permanently—we are in despair, hurt, and feel lonely. Then we adjust to the situation, hunker in corners, refuse to eat until cravings and hunger cause our survival instinct to kick in.

This last trip to the land where they grew up seemed filled with all those emotions … and then some.

  • The Female’s fear of flying and not quite trusting her now “healed” body with its occasional tempers.
  • The Wolfman’s responsibilities as the only son, not really used to handle customs and sad ceremonies as are common to Earthlings, in some way or another, all over the planet.

They stayed for two days near the famous tourist destination of central Switzerland.
Writers, musicians, and movie stars have flocked to the town and its surroundings on the lake and its mountains for centuries. Particular travelers were rarely noticed by the natives. If recognized, a single local newspaper photographer might have gotten a shot of a lifetime.
Only for a moment would my, then teenage, Female shyly watch beautiful Audrey near one of the jewelry stores that Lucerne is well known for.

After the Female’s graduation, she worked for a place that occasionally had appointments to interview celebrities; there where no paparazzi, no people hunters with cameras and flashlights, just one-on-one meetings with other humans who had achieved a superior status. They were mostly kind, and usually generous with their time.

Then the first coach vacationers arrived. West Europeans and Americans cruised the monuments, churches, wooden bridges, shopped for cuckoo clocks or an expensive Swiss watch, stayed overnight, maybe with a tasting of a cheese fondue. The next day they would leave early for another destination to fulfill the required “nine days through Europe” schedule in time.

Today, during the summer season, nationalities have changed. Busses unload hordes of mainly young, expensively clad Asians in front of Bucherer’s, the apparent main hub for Rolex and the likes in Switzerland.
The language department at the vocational learning center has added a new class: Chinese 101.

After a serious, and often very expensive, jewelry shopping spree, the group retreats for a few minutes to a nearby chocolatier, who’s employees are busy protecting the boxes and their deliciousnesses from greedy fingers trying to pry open the shrink wrap and help themselves to free samples!

A last selfie from a stick, in front of the Chapel Bridge. Never mind stepping into the already congested traffic to get the perfect angle. Local transportation shrieks to a halt! Passengers fall; break a bone or two. Never mind; tourism rules!

An hour or so later everybody is herded by the Chinese tour guide to the waiting transporter, gets safely packed into the oversized bus, its driver barely able to maneuver the vehicle through traffic congested with more and more busses, ready to unload another precious stream of Asian watch-and-chocoholics.

After bidding a last, tearful ‘love you’ to dear, longtime friends, my Humans, too, rolled through the once lovely sleepy town.
One last glimpse—across the place where, years ago, the Female laid her mother’s ashes to rest—towards the town where she found life; the good and bad things that go with it, to finally find fulfillment elsewhere.

Gathering strength for the final adieu from the Wolfman’s and his sister’s mom. In the serene small church, a very young, lovely, serious female pastor reflected on the complex woman Erika’s life in the presence of many who crossed her path.
Yet her memorial, too, is another rare occasion that brings the Wolfman’s and Béatrice’s large extended family together, a sad, but also joyful gathering in a nearby congregational community room. It may not be the last time for the people who have known each other for most of their lives; except for …

Basquiat
August 20, 2015

In loving memory of
Sepia-toned black and white photograph of a smiling young woman with curly hair wearing a chain necklace.
Erika Naegeli-Honegger June 6, 1926 – July 27, 2015

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