My cousin, whom we refer to as Auntie Bailey, is the family matriarch. She has a very elderly 100+ pound dying dog named Chestnut that has been dying for the last year. Because she loves Chestnut so much, Auntie Bailey has committed her retired life to making Chestnut “comfortable” instead of traveling the world, playing Bingo, and going to Mohegan Sun like most of her friends. The issue now is that there is a family trip coming up and everyone wants her to attend. Her reply? Tentative. She doesn’t want to leave Chestnut alone, and putting him in a dog kennel in not an option. And apparently, Cousin Maria is out of the picture as well; she used to be Chestnut’s babysitter.
“Jesus! Lawd have mercy! Ooh, not ah’tall. Not me. Not this time,” Cousin Maria started.
“What are you talking about?” I asked. Her outburst seemed odd since we were talking about buying food in bulk from a local wholesaler.
“Auntie Baily middi buy food di oddah day fuh Chestnut.”
“Okay,” I said, trying to follow the exchange. Cousin Maria was a mid-conversation topic switcher.
“You know di dog soon dead. Talking about food reminded me di dog sick bad. Ah nuh wahn watch him!"
“Did Auntie Bailey ask you to watch Chestnut? I mean, if you did, you would miss the family trip,” I reminded her.
“Yuh nuh di listen? Me juss sey no. I middi clarify dat fuh yuh.”
Did she forget I didn’t inquire? I wondered. “Who are you, the Canine Reaper?”
“What? Ah who dat?”
“All ah di sey is this: Di minute Auntie Bailey travel an' me come ova, dat dog wahn dead. Just like dat. Blam, blam! Chestnut juss di wait fuh she go whey and leave him. He nuh wahn die in frontah she. So me minding ah dying dog? I wouldn’t know what to do, who fuh cyall. I might just run outta di house an’ leff him dey dead!”