Friday, July 08, 2005


Died July 8, 2005, Age 14

Copyright 2005 Janice Price

“What’s going on, guys?” Buddy asks when he enters the living room and finds the other Funny Farm residents gathered around Percy at the computer. They are all staring at the computer monitor and whispering among themselves. At the sound of Buddy’s voice, Percy taps the keyboard to close the email they have all been reading. “You’ve been reading Jan’s messages again, haven’t you, Percy? Come on, let me see what is so interesting.”

“I don’t know, Buddy,” Cyndi says doubtfully. “You’ll get upset.”

“Yeah,” Cameron says, “you’re highly emotional, Buddy.”

Buddy stares at the group. “I am not highly emotional. What is going on?”

Cotton makes a suggestion. “Perhaps Crystal should climb the porch shelves and knock down the box of dog biscuits so we can feed Buddy first.”

Buddy eyes her suspiciously. “Feed me first? You are always complaining about how much I eat. Now you want to feed me. What’s the catch?”

“Show him the picture,” Merci tells Percy.

Percy taps a few keys and opens an email attachment. “This is Murphy. Mr. Jimmy sent this photograph to Jan this afternoon.”

“So that’s what he looks like.” Buddy moves closer to the monitor and rests his chin on the desk. “He’s smaller than I pictured him but he’s a handsome guy, isn’t he? I’ll have to email him and tell him …”

Crystal interrupts. “You can’t do that, Buddy. Murphy passed away during the night..”

Buddy sits up straight. “What? Why didn’t someone tell me? Jan didn’t even tell me he was sick.” He rushes toward the front door, stands on his hind legs, knocks everything on top of the bookcase to the floor and roots frantically through the mess. “Where are Jan’s car keys? I have to get to Atlanta. I’ll miss Murphy’s funeral if I don’t find those keys ”

“Jan has the car keys, Buddy. She drove the car to the store.”

“But Percy, I have to get to Atlanta and find Mr. Jimmy. He doesn’t have anyone now. He needs me.”

“Buddy,” Merci says gently, “you never followed through with your driver’s license after that one driving lesson. You don’t actually know how to drive a car.”

“And what would you do in Atlanta? You don’t know anyone there. You don’t even know where Mr. Jimmy lives.”

“I’ll look him up in the Atlanta phone book, Cameron. There can’t be too many guys named Mr. Jimmy listed in the white pages.”

“But what if he doesn’t want to see you? He might just want to be left alone tonight.”

Buddy sits down, appalled at Cyndi’s suggestion. “But everyone needs someone to talk to when there’s a death. We can talk about Murphy and how he volunteered to be the first student at my bed making school. Oh, if only Mr. Jimmy allowed Murphy to drive after dark. I could have taught him how to make a prize winning bed.” Buddy shakes his head at the memory.

“I’ve read Mr. Jimmy’s web site, ,” Cotton interjects. “He has a friend named Joe, co-workers, people he goes to church with, teenagers he takes camping and Taco Belling. (I think that’s something like bobsledding.) He isn’t alone, Buddy. His friends will take care of him. He’ll be okay.”

Crystal adds, “Buddy, it was just two weeks ago today your friend Benji died. I think you’re still grieving for him.”

“Yes,” Merci says, “I think you need the company of a friend tonight too.” She walks over to sit next to Buddy amid the assortment of leashes, harnesses and junk he has thrown to the floor in his haste to locate the car keys.

One by one the cats join them. Percy looks Buddy in the eyes and states, “We’re your friends, Buddy. When you hurt, we hurt. So we’re going to sit here with you and you can talk all you want to about your old pal Murphy. That’s what friends are for.”

A tear slips down Buddy’s face. “Thanks, guys. I don’t know what to say.”

The Funny Farm residents lock teary eyes for a moment, then softly they say, as one, “Good-bye, Murphy. And bless you, Mr. Jimmy, for taking such good care of Buddy’s friend.”


  1. My heart thanks you Buddy, Merci, Cameron, Cyndi and the rest of Jan's family. Murphy was my special boy and I miss him a lot, but I know that he is not sick anymore and that part makes me feel better. And who knows....I must just take Buddy's bedmaking contest on myself on Murphy's behalf. I have a few tear's running down my face as I read your words, but it is because I realize how lucky Murphy (and I) am to have such good friends like all of you and especially Jan. God Bless You All!


  2. Jan and the members of the funy farm. Losing someone close to us is the hardest suffering to deal with it, but if you all stick together, you will all get through it, Most of the grieving is for our loss, rhe person or animal you've lost is usually in a better place and the grieving is mostly for our loss., So you have to stick together, feel and express with each other the loss you feel and you will make it. My prayers and thoughts are with you,

    Your Friend,
    Carolyn :)


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