Friday, January 15, 2010

Sophia's mother

Whenever I find myself reminiscing seriously with Sophia about personal matters, I take pleasure in reminding my dog that, once upon a time, I was a close friend of her dear mother Laïka. This reddish animal of no obvious race, who belonged to my neighbor's daughter Anne-Sophie, was truly the dearest dog I could have ever imagined. I got to know her well, as a visitor and intermittent well-fed guest at Gamone, long before the birth of Sophia. There's a simple anecdote that I adore. When Anne-Marie got married, I was invited to the civil ceremony on a nice spring morning up in the village of Presles. When I arrived, guests were strolling around on the village square, waiting for the mayoress of Presles to call us in to the tiny town hall. Suddenly, I received a thump in the back, as if I had been hit by a football. It was the paws of my friend Laïka, who had recognized me in the crowd, and wanted to welcome me to her mistress's marriage.

Shortly after Laïka's puppy was born, Anne-Sophie phoned me to announce that they had a dog for me. It was a total surprise for me, but Anne-Sophie was aware of my friendship with Laïka, and she had decided unilaterally that I should receive one of Laïka's puppies.

I chose the name Sophia, not because of Anne-Sophie, but because it has always been—in my mind and in my ears—the sweetest Greek word that exists: wisdom as in philosophy (literally, the love of knowledge).

No sooner had I received my puppy than Anne-Sophie ran into some kind of a personal problem, and she asked me to take care of Laïka for a couple of weeks. So, Sophia's earliest days at Gamone were spent in the reassuring presence of her mother.

Finally, Laïka left us, and my puppy became the unique mistress of Gamone. Later, Sophia herself had a splendid daughter, named Gamone, who lives with Christine in Brittany... where she has received Sophia's old kennel (seen above). So, I've been acquainted with a beautiful dynasty of three females: Laïka, Sophia and Gamone.

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