It’s done. Miss Tillie, or Flynn’s Chantilly Lace, as she’s known on the roll books at the National Kennel Association, went to be with her maker, and is now standing at the screen door on the front gates of heaven, back straight, front paws resting on the screen, ears cocked and watching patiently, waiting–waiting for her Daddy to come home.
Tillie was born September 24, 2002, and died today, August 25th at 3:35 a.m. fairly peacefully, with one last small seizure that she just refused to allow to get the better of her. She quietly and in her ladylike way, watched her Mama and relaxed.
Day before yesterday, as I held her following one of the seizures that so racked her tiny body this last month, I heard an old Roger Miller tune named Old Friends that he wrote and used to sing with Willie Nelson and Ray Price.
“Old Friends, pitching pennies in the park, playing croquet till it’s dark, old friends, old friends. Looking up to watch a bird, holding arms to climb a curb, old friends, old friends.
Lord, when all my work is done, bless my life and grant me one old friend, At least one Old Friend…(you can find it on youtube.com)
When my husband died back in 2002 and I was left all alone with a new job in a strange town, I took a trip back to Kansas City to pick up my furniture and travel with my son-in-law Robert’s help, in a rented truck down to my new house in Arlington, Texas. We stopped off on our way back to Texas in Ardmore, Oklahoma and picked up Miss Tillie from a retired vet who raised Maltese puppies. The little marshmallow rode on my shoulder that day, all 6 inches of her–her safe haven from that day forward from any dangers that came our way. She was by my side for many long hours of grief and adjusting to a new way of life. She protected my home when it was broken into, comforted me when I totaled my Mustang. Twice. Years later, Tillie was there when I was laid off from my job. Twice!
Tillie learned fast, listened well, and knew all of my secrets. This little toy Maltese was my advisor and judge when I began dating again. Meeting new people, each one her favorite, and helping me to choose the one I’d spend the rest of my life with. She nursed me through two surgeries, many sleepless nights, and kept me humble. I was her Mama, and I knew I had her heart, but her devotion and attention always went to Vernon, her Daddy. Every time he left town she would sit beside the garage door and pout for a day or two before she forgave me for letting him go.
Tillie has no worries. She’s been the best friend a gal could have for just one month shy of 11 years. And she’s going to be forever remembered as my “Old Friend.” But we also retired Moosey today. If you know Miss Tillie, you know how much she adored and cherished her stuffed toy, Moosey. So as of tonight, Moosey’s squeak went silent; he will party no more. He said he’s just retiring to the top shelf in honor of his Old Friend, Miss Tillie.