A few days ago, I found out that one of Frankie’s favorite humans had suffered a stroke. Probably, when I was writing in a recent post the cautionary words that tragedy could strike at any moment.

Jim and his wife, Virginia, would walk First Street nearly every morning. Frankie and I would always see them. Jim would carry two dog biscuits in his pocket just for Frankie. I’ve been around when other dogs and their owners stopped and Jim came up empty-handed. It’s not like he had a pocketful of dog treats to befriend all the neighborhood dogs. Just two. Just Frankie.

It crosses your mind when you haven’t seen some people in a while. I wondered, but had no way of knowing. Until another “regular” we pass told me Jim was in the hospital. They’re just neighbors I met with Frankie. And yet, they’d become a part of our routine I looked forward to. I don’t like change. Nobody does.

Jim carried an old golf club turned makeshift walking stick. Frankie would hear the tell-tale clacks long before I would. By the time they approached, Frankie was jumping for joy. He even let out a couple of excited yips once in awhile. Then he’d receive his treats. But just two. Jim and Virginia don’t have a dog. Did they buy dog biscuits at the store just for Frankie?

Virginia and James Keys

I always intended to write about them, though not in this way. I learned some time ago that they were local celebrities. Virginia (Atter Keys)  had been a radio and television icon in the ’50s through ’80s. I just knew she remembered Frankie’s name because of Frankie Valli. And then she would start singing.

I don’t know that we’ll see them out walking again, though I do plan to stop by their house. With Frankie. He’ll be excited even without the treats. I don’t know how bad a stroke it was. Maybe we can all sit in the driveway.

So, I’m sad. I miss seeing them out walking. I miss our exchange and Frankie’s enthusiasm. I miss the routine. Remember, things can change in an instant. Soak up the now.

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