I remember the day my brother brought the little dog home.
"Here," he said, "Look what we got."
He lowered a squirming, velvety black puppy into my sister-in-law's arms.
"What did you do?" she asked. But she was smiling.
It is hard not to smile in the face of my brother's delight. He is, like our father was, prone to extreme exuberance. As I am.
"It's always a surprise being married to a Ward," my sister-in-law said once.
"You can say that again," agreed my husband.
We are exuberant and excitable. Our emotions run high and hot and wet. I say this for my own self, because I don't like to speak for my brother: I sometimes don't think things all the way through. I love a good surprise. I love to get a reaction, but on occasion I dismiss the long term effects of this need.
My father sometimes traded work for old wagon wheels or a batch of antique ice tongs. He'd drive up to our house with a pile of deer antlers tied to the roof of his truck and step out grinning.
"Check that," he'd say.
My mother might have wondered where the grocery money was going to come from, but she couldn't deny the simple fact of his pleasure.
My brother's little black puppy grew into a big, black lab. Edgar, in true Ward fashion, found the wonder in his world. He chased flashlight "fairies" and soap bubbles and wanted little more than a good belly rub and fine friends.
He will be missed, this big dog. But he is in good company.