I felt lonelier when Larry wasn’t around when I was pregnant. Our home was eight miles from town. We didn’t have neighbors our age. The only people I really knew close by were Del and Alpha. I loved them very much but I did get lonely.
I did have one constant companion. His name was Romeo. Larry gave Romeo to me the summer before we married. Mom took care of him when I wasn’t home but when I was there he never left my side. He even slept in my bed with me snuggled up by my side under the covers.When we came home from our Honeymoon we stopped by my folks’ house to pick up some of our wedding gifts. We also picked up Romeo. When we got to our house he sniffed his way through each room. He found his bed beside ours. When it was time for lights out Romeo jumped onto our bed and made his way under the covers. When Larry came into the room and touched the bed Romeo growled at him and threatened to bite. I thought it was funny. Romeo didn’t want to lose his place next to me but he did and he slept in the bathroom for several months until he realized he was no longer my number one fella. When his bed was put back into our room he would sneak up on to the foot of our bed where he would half way pout and half way brag that he’d made it back to the “big bedroom.”
When Larry wasn’t around Romeo always took care to watch me. He was like a little shadow. He gardened with me, he played with my mop when I cleaned, he sat next to me watching television, and he listened to me when there was no one else around.
Romeo was always my little protector. The nights Larry was irrigating or in class Romeo was a great little watchdog. He was nice to our friends but very cautious of strangers.
One morning very early, before the sun had come up, Romeo escaped out the front door. There was a dense fog. We couldn’t see even one tree row away. I stood on the front step of the house while Larry walked part way up the drive way calling for Romeo. It wasn’t long before Romeo came running full speed to the house, passed by me on the step, and dove into his bed. Larry was right behind him with a peculiar grin on his face. He didn’t say anything. He went to the kitchen table, poured some cereal into a bowl, and told me where he’d be all day.
A very sweet older couple, Mr. and Mrs. Dodge, lived on the other side of our driveway about half way to the road. I just loved them. They were so sweet to me. They brought us lots of tomatoes from their garden before we had plants of our own.
The Dodges came over later in the day when Larry and I were in the front yard. Mr. Dodge was grinning when he walked up and Larry started grinning when he began to talk. Mr. Dodge said he had heard something unusual earlier that morning. He said what he heard reminded him of an English class he’d taken in school. I imagine Larry was biting his lip at that point.
I asked Mr. Dodge what he could possibly have heard. He said he heard someone outside his window calling, “Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?”
Larry had wanted to find Romeo for me so badly he had gone into the Dodge’s yard searching for him. He probably figured they’d hear him outside their window and didn’t want to frighten them so he called out in a familiar voice to put them at ease. Knowing Larry he figured why waste the opportunity to make them smile too.