As I prepared breakfast for our Boston terrier, Lilly, last Saturday, I heard the unmistakable rumble of heavy equipment past our condo and scurried to the living room window.
Sure enough, a steam shovel and dump truck were lumbering by. Their destination: the mid-century modern home four doors down where our dog, Lilly’s, best friend, Lola, used to live.
A realtor on the next block recently told me that a demo crew would be arriving soon to turn history into rubble.
I’d hoped it wouldn’t be this soon.
In my mind’s eye, I can still see Lola, a deaf, albino pit bull, and our Lilly chasing each other around our neighbor’s spacious grounds, dodging lawn sprinklers and diving through the open parts of the wrought-iron railing leading up to Lola’s front door.
Dash. Screech. Halt. Dart. Roll. Tumble. Break! Then do it all again until both Lola and Lilly floppeddown on the feathery fern - completely spent and truly content. But it wasn’t long before one looked at the other “mischievously” and the whole process was jump-started again.
After Lilly gobbled her breakfast, I put her leash and harness on and we stepped out into the summer inferno. We trotted down the stairwell and hit the sidewalk. I heard the grinding of gears and clanging of metal to the south. I tried to steer Lilly north, away from the architectural carnage.
But she had other ideas.
Lilly pulled me earnestly toward the sounds of destruction until we were camped out in front of Lola’s vanishing home. The grapplers on a pair of hydraulic excavators tore at opposite ends of Lola’s old house like two T-Rex scuffling over meaty prey.
It was as though the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were being razed before our eyes.
Through it all, Lilly just sat quietly, watching Lola’s house collapse under a developer’s dream. No moaning. No whimpering.
She did a lot better than me!
One remnant of the house refused to yield: the railing that functioned as Lilly’s and Lola’s “jungle gym.”
With the help of David, the demo foreman, and thanks to my supportive wife, Susan, this piece of history now sits in our dining room, waiting to be refinished, mounted onto a solid base and displayed so that David Hockney would be proud.
When I look at this nearly seventy-year-old metal, I don’t just see a railing. I see Lilly and Lola smiling at each other and and panting - their tongues lolling deliriously outside their mouths. I see friendship that knows no breed boundaries, size limitations or sensory barriers.
This is the history Lilly carries forward - and that no developer can tear asunder.