Ginger is Now Six
As We Do the Dance

This essay deals with the old song, Alfie? Burt Bacharach and Hal David wrote the words and music to that hit song back in the mid-sixties. Dionne Warwick begins that song with this haunting question, “What’s it all about Alfie…is it just for the moment we live?”

Alfie, the song was used in Alfie, the movie. The movie’s storyline dealt with Alfie wrestling with his attempt to discover his reason for being. The following is the last couple of minutes of the film.

Alfie is a metaphor for my life. I’ve looked for meaning during my journey down my yellow brick road of life. A half dozen years ago, I picked up an Irish Setter puppy from a breeder in Pennsylvania.

Puppy Ginger

It wasn’t long before Ginger moved from the above photo to puppy, ready to explore her new home and life with me. There I was as the older owner of a younger puppy. Thus began our journey together.

Ginger Ginger Ginger Ginger Ginger and Me Ginger Eating

That journey was six years ago. During those years together, things occurred. I have gotten six years older. However, in dog years, Ginger is now a middle-aged dog. According to the American Kennel Club, a six-year-old large dog is forty-five years old by human standards.

During my life, I’ve done two dances with death, and Ginger has done three. She has been down to Purdue Veterinary Hospital three times. She was in Purdue’s canine ICU for several days on her second trip. I spent four weeks in ICU on one of my dances.

We have both done our dances successfully and are both alive and happy. We celebrated that reality on Ginger’s sixth birthday. This is Ginger with her dog bone-birthday cake with six candles.

Ginger with Cake

Ginger also got a birthday present. She calls it her Sammy the Squid.

Ginger with Squid

So, that was Ginger’s birthday party as a six-year-old middle-aged Irish Setter. In January, I’ll be eighty. Therefore, another six years from today, Ginger will be seventy-seven, and I will be close to eighty-six. Our journey down our yellow brick road of life together will get shorter and shorter. Nevertheless, dancing with death has taught us to live and enjoy our twilight years. That’s what it’s all about….