One of his many gifts to me was a way to remember Thanksgiving.
Nagging thoughts are often the origin of these kinds of memories; this one began with my unexplainable desire to purchase a fresh turkey. No amount of meditation would dislodge it so I bought the turkey.
Then, I was mostly Zen Buddhist and mostly vegetarian but the Thanksgiving of 2012 was not about me. It was about Cooper being a beagle who loved the aroma of anticipation as much as the turkey bits he knew would come his way. Maybe even more.
Cooper was curious about anything and everything. More than any dog I had known, Cooper enjoyed life, no matter the moment. He was never reluctant to explore but he also exhibited a respect for boundaries, especially when I was with him.
He was a master of canine kitchen behavior; always, he waited until I left the room. I was grateful for the way Cooper kept the floor clean–I hated sweeping and mopping floors–Cooper seemed born to both.
On Thanksgiving Day, he kept “turkey watch” at a respectable distance but in full view of every possible angle of the oven. He immersed himself in the meditative state between turkey basting moments. His low, beagle keen was within seconds of the timer’s ding.
In complete contentment, he watched me baste the turkey. Cooper was in the moment, and it had to be one of his finest, not that he would have judged it one way or the other.
Food was Cooper’s first love. I never minded playing second fiddle. He was never greedy. He lived with an enthusiasm I have not met again.
He simply got through moments, no matter how unfamiliar or beloved the scent, such as the heady aroma of thanks giving.