We often put our celebrities on pedestals -- sometimes to adulate, often the better to throw tomatoes at them.
It's easy to forget that they are also just normal people, putting their trousers on one leg at a time. When Jimmy Stewart lost his dog Beau he grieved just like the rest of us.
Except, being himself, he grieved with amazing grace and dignity.
Our dogs often become halo'ed angels when they pass away. But in reality they never were. They were just normal dogs, the quirky and annoying mixed in with the great.
It's good to remember them the way they were.
Here's the poem, and below is Jimmy reciting on the Tonight Show.
A DOG NAMED BEAU
Written by Jimmy Stewart
He never came to
me when I would call
Unless I had a tennis ball,
Or he felt like it,
But mostly he didn't come at all.
When he was young
He never learned to heel
Or sit or stay,
He did things his way.
not his bag
But when you were with him things sure didn't drag.
He'd dig up a rosebush just to spite me,
And when I'd grab him, he'd turn and bite me.
He bit lots of
folks from day to day,
The delivery boy was his favorite prey.
The gas man wouldn't read our meter,
He said we owned a real man-eater.
He set the house
But the story's long to tell.
Suffice it to say that he survived
And the house survived as well.
On the evening
walks, and Gloria took him,
He was always first out the door.
The Old One and I brought up the rear
Because our bones were sore.
He would charge
up the street with Mom hanging on,
What a beautiful pair they were!
And if it was still light and the tourists were out,
They created a bit of a stir.
But every once in
a while, he would stop in his tracks
And with a frown on his face look around.
It was just to make sure that the Old One was there
And would follow him where he was bound.
We are early-to-bedders at our house--
I guess I'm the first to retire.
And as I'd leave
the room he'd look at me
And get up from his place by the fire.
He knew where the
tennis balls were upstairs,
And I'd give him one for a while.
He would push it under the bed with his nose
And I'd fish it out with a smile.
And before very
He'd tire of the ball
And be asleep in his corner
In no time at all.
And there were
nights when I'd feel him
Climb upon our bed
And lie between us,
And I'd pat his head.
And there were
nights when I'd feel this stare
And I'd wake up and he'd be sitting there
And I reach out my hand and stroke his hair.
And sometimes I'd
feel him sigh
and I think I know the reason why.
He would wake up
And he would have this fear
Of the dark, of life, of lots of things,
And he'd be glad to have me near.
And now he's
And there are nights when I think I feel him
Climb upon our bed and lie between us,
And I pat his head.
And there are
nights when I think
I feel that stare
And I reach out my hand to stroke his hair,
But he's not there.
Oh, how I wish
that wasn't so,
I'll always love a dog named Beau.
This poem is from “Jimmy Stewart and His Poems,” by Jimmy Stewart, a short collection of poems published by Crown Publishers, Inc. in 1989. To order this book, call the Full Circle Book Store at 1-800-683-READ. Refer to ISBN number 0-517-57382-2. It's a little illustrated hardback that costs about $12.
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