Unbelievable. After receiving documents that our next hearing would be February 17, the prosecutor moved the date up to the ninth, and told us to bring a truck!
Kathleen, bereft of hope, cried herself to sleep Wednesday night, the eighth, muttering between sobs: "I know he's dead Craig, I just know it."
At the courthouse Maria came with her two sons, all dressed in black and looking sullen, fearful and angry. None would look me in the eye. They were ordered to return our items forthwith, but had to actually present the dog to the judge. Kenyon looked haggard, was limping on his right front paw, and when I picked him up out of the pick-up the first thing he did was smell the fence and pee. Obviously he's still a dog.
The only thing I said to Maria as she walked away from the courthouse was:
Es mas malo que el diablo para sequester un perro de servicio desde las sordas por dinero.
"It is more evil than the Devil to kidnap a service dog for the deaf."
Naturally she didn't reply.
Before collecting our possessions, naturally, I brought Kenyon straight home to Kathleen, who woke to find her puppy curled on the floor beside her. Incredulous, streaming tears of joy, she was enraptured. In short breaks between talking to Kenyon ("Good dog! My beautiful puppy dog! Oh Kenyon! I have part of my heart back!) she thanked me repeatedly and called me her hero. She had nicknamed me "Canus Pitus" long ago because of my indomitable nature. That doesn't mean bullheadedness is necessarily a virtue, as there have been times in my life when I should have given up sooner. I was pretty close to giving up this time.
Yet it seems like that's always the time when the worm turns, or for believers, when God intervenes--after all our human resources have been spent. How could I give up on Kenyon? I mean, in essence, we already lost our son down here, who has been banished from my presence indefinitely for crimes against us I will not detail, and though Kathleen accepts and supports this judgment, she does, of course, keep in touch with him but won't allow him past our door. But for her to lose her only son and her guide dog in one swell foop was never acceptable to me. Her suffering only increased my determination.
After the joyful reunion with Kenyon, I went to the evil triumvirate's domicile, where we recovered the most important items: valuable papers, good shoes, clothes, a little furniture, all my CDs (miraculously!) and other items.
She denied possession of two refrigerators and a desk and dining table, and the computer printer was missing, among other things, but I was more than happy to recover the essentials, which ought to fit in our mini-van since one item she did not return was our back bench, likely now adorning her living room. Our other two seats we left in Texas as surety for a car repair bill we couldn't pay last November--along with Kathleen's rubies, but they have not returned my inquiries as I'm sure the rubies were worth much more than the balance. C'est la vie).
The resentment was palpable as Benjamin brought box after box to his porch and tried to drop them before I caught them. He succeeded a few times but nothing was damaged. One Mexican friend of mine wanted the extensive plants and planters we had installed in the garden, so we stripped that pretty good to their great displeasure. Their sullen, downcast faces, recalling to mind "Mr. Yuck," gave me a good deal of satisfaction. As rather ignorant if cunning natives, I think they were shocked and embarrassed by the whole process, and best of all, they endured a great loss of face. No Mexican in his right mind believes one can actually win a case in their system of justice. Here the police are the biggest thieves. I've been told by Gringos and Mexicans alike that our triumph in in just 5 1/2 months may qualify for a record.
As for my papers, the majority were hopelessly water-damaged, but miraculously (I know that's the second time I used that adverb), most of my original songs as well as the second half of my manuscript, In Search of the Spirit were intact. Much of the rest I have on disk else lawyers and accountants have duplicates.
Kenyon we took to the vet immediately yesterday morning, and he needed two vaccines, antibiotics, a program employing a special shampoo, de-worming pills, and was given a diagnosis of arthritis in his right front paw (and what I call in ignorance his ankle--fetlock?). He hardly wagged his tail Thursday but by last night it had begun to wag as he joyfully presented me with my dirty socks, which he loves to smell and chew and carry around like a prize that I must pry away from him.
Initially he looked so depressed I asked the veterinarian, at Kathleen's behest, if dogs could take Prozac, but he said no. We'll love him back into health, and swimming and grass and dirt surfaces (rather than the endless stone streets of San Miguel) should improve his limp, along with resuming his glycosamine.
He looked like he'd aged three years in one; that's 21 human years!--long enough to attain legal drinking age. Kathleen and I have likely aged three years as well, so if any of you are shocked by our appearance upon our return to the States, forgive our wasted youth--but it was worth it.
We're having a big party today at a restaurant to celebrate Kenyon's release and to say good-bye to our friends, who regularly beg us not to leave (I'm known, among other things, as "Dr. Feelgood" here, for helping with any number of psychiatric maladies, many serious, referred by word of mouth through other Gringos.) Kathleen has been dubbed "The Silver Queen of San Miguel," not only because she's beautiful, but being deaf, everyone mistakes her for the most compassionate and patient listener they've ever met.
Kathleen and I are halfway through the 3rd draft of my Eliot opus and will finish it before we leave so the last issue of Melic can be released. She's a tough editor! She makes me "want to be a better writer." And yes, Jack, I am taking my pills.
We hope to leave for the States next Wednesday or Thursday (2/15-2/16) and will first stop in San Diego for my doctor's appointment, visiting with Ralph and family, and afterwards head to Long Beach to see two of our daughters, lastly to parts north to see Rachel and our grandson, Jacob, as well as my faithful siblings.
After that we hope to settle north of San Francisco near the blue pacific and a clear river, tentatively Ft. Bragg, whose economic depression may render housing affordable.
God how I miss the greens and blues of Northern California!
So glad we can share this happiness with you, but this is not the end of my blog or the story; re-adjusting to the U.S. may read a little like Stranger in a Strange Land or A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.
We give thanks to God, our friends, our family, and to Prosecutor Garza who stuck with us all the way when our own lawyers deserted us.
Do take a moment today to celebrate with us. Put down that paper and enjoy some good news!
Thine in Truth and Art,
C. E. Chaffin