Juxtaposition

One of my favorite words.  I think I like it so much because it tells so much so succinctly.  The Google definition is, "the combining of improbable elements in close proximity to each other, the effectiveness comes from the shock created by the combination."  In other words, two impressions, each made stronger and more poignant by the presence of the other.

Today we were at the vet.  The pups are having allergy troubles, and our favorite vet, Dr. R, had just finished looking them over.  While we were waiting for the bill, we started talking with a lady who had two, obviously younger, dogs there to get their shots.  I asked her what kind of dogs they were.  She explained, "Well that's a good question.  Their mother is a purebred Keeshound, but you'd never know it from these two.  She was pregnant when we rescued her from a puppy mill.  Evidently, the father was quite the mutt--the puppies all look entirely different." 

Turns out this lady had been surprised with, not two, but five little girls--Anise, Licorice, Chamomile, Marjoram, and Cardamon--the Spice Girls.  She had managed to find homes for three of them, but Marjoram and Cardamon were now four months old; well beyond the cute, roly-poly, easy-to-find-homes-for puppy phase and tending toward the eating a lot, chewing on things, needing shots once a month period.  Despite all of that, it couldn't have been clearer that the lady was overjoyed with her little girls.

I hate to use the cliche, but, truly, she warmed my heart.  Life is going to be good for those two puppies and their mama, and it so easily might not have been.

As we were chatting, the receptionist got a phone call.  Engrossed with the Spice Girls, I didn't hear the whole thing, but something was said about an emergency trip.  It didn't sound good.

A few minutes later, a man came in followed by his wife and son.  The man was carrying a limp dog covered in a towel; only it's tail was sticking out.  It was feathery, like Porter's.  As they came in the door, the receptionist called back to a vet tech, "The car accident is here." 

But when the tech rushed up to take the dog, the man shook his head, "He's already gone."  Trying to be hopeful, the tech gently lifted the dog from the man's cradled arms, "Well we'd better let the doctor look, just to be sure."  Even Moe seemed a little quiet as they went to the exam room--we were all hoping that just maybe . . . .

It was not to be.  A few minutes later the tech came up and darkly told the receptionist, "The doctor says no charge for this one."  The family sadly walked back out, and headed home to bury their pup with the feathery tail.

So, in the space of five minutes, there you have it.  Life and death; hope and none.  Juxtaposition.