By Bill Borel
The Borel family had always been very understanding and open minded. We had the normal conflicts and jealousies of all families but nothing truly disruptive. We accepted differences in political, religious, income levels, educational, and most other world views including sexual preferences. Nothing caused a failure to communicate among us … except Major.
The day Mother brought Major into our home, the family split. The older four siblings accepted Major but I think it was only because they no longer lived at home. The last three of us had to put up with the little devil and his arrogant attitude. I don’t think a name ever suited a dog more than Major. What others saw as an attractive and muscularly built short-haired terrier, we last three saw as a sneaky, perverted, war criminal. And the argument only got more heated after my father passed. The others believed the dog was brought into our home so my father’s spirit could reincarnate in him. We last three thought that was an insult and that the others ignored the reality of what Major was.
It is true the dog and Dad had things in common. They both had military bearings. My dad fought honorably in the First World War and achieved the rank of second lieutenant. Our Major did nothing to earn his rank. My dad honored and protected my mother. He was the ultimate gentleman. The dog was an imposter. Sure, when the others were visiting, Major was attentive to Mom. He was usually by her side. But we knew better. We knew it was all an act; but we could nothing because Major had the ultimate protector, my mother. She loved the dog. She ignored the fact he would wander the neighborhood in our small town terrorizing every creature in his way with his “small dog” complex. She didn’t believe her little saint actually dug under and climbed over fences to sire half the dog population in Arcata. When Major was murdered by a dog and left on the side of the street, he refused to die. Brothers- in- law, Joe and Mark found him there, placed him on a board and brought him home to mother for his last rites. He was dead, but Mother was a saint, in fact I am sure is a saint, and used her spiritual powers to revive him. Lying on the board, not breathing, blood dripping from his nose and mouth, Mom said the magic words, “Oh, Major”; and the tail, bent and broken in two places, wagged and rose to half mast.
The stories and episodes of Major continue to haunt our family reunions even after thirty years. Cathy and my other nephews and nieces stand with us, the last three. They had an opportunity to experience the arrogance of Major as Mom visited or lived with most of my siblings at various times. But the older four supported Major to the end. And so the argument continues.
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