Sunday, March 3, 2013

Wilbur of Buenos Aires

My wife and I are in Buenos Aires, where we are fortunate to have friends Polly and Marco as close neighbors –– so close that we punched an opening through our kitchen wall into their garden.

Two days ago Marco told me that their old dog Wilbur, who died months back and is buried in the garden, used to piss on the flowers of a certain plant (next to which he is buried).  We wondered about this, the peeing on the flowers versus the stalks of the plants –– since, as Marco observed, dogs usually aim for the uprights.

Impatiens Walleriana

The plant Wilbur watered is named Alegría del Hogar (happiness of the home), and a new plant of that species now flourishes atop his spot.  Alegría carries the botanical title of Impatiens Walleriana: Native to East Africa it somehow found its way to Buenos Aires.

Wilbur c.1998 on a day trip to Puerto Madero
A native himself to Buenos Aires, Wilbur was far less traveled, but where he went he went with authority for all his sixteen years –– including our house, which was his house so far as he was concerned.  (At birth, Wilbur was the one male of five puppies: I'm not sure about this but it's possible that a guy growing up with four sisters might possess a certain confidence, and it is a fact that he was one for the ladies and held no truck with males.)

Wilbur was named after the celebrated pig in E.B. White's Charlotte's Web.  A Schnauzer, he kept things close to the vest while seeming to be a deep thinker, so he took his flower watering-motives to his garden grave.  Still it should be noted that the flowers on which he peed never died, nor in some sense did Wilbur, as his presence abides.

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