The Charlie Bravo Story

The Education of Little Tree

When I was just a sprout, I read a book that altered my life forever, “The Education of Little Tree”. It is the autobiography of Forrest Carter, an orphaned boy who was adopted and educated by his Cherokee grandparents. Although it started out as a just a great story, actually winning the Newbery Award, the book became one that influenced me greatly for the rest of my life. It managed to seamlessly weave into the story how the Cherokee viewed politics, greed, religion, death, selflessness and so on, pretty heady subject matter for a ten year old.
Over the years, it also became the blueprint for how I raised my own kids as well. One of the life lessons was the concept of “kin”; not as a definition of just being related as family members, but something much deeper; for most people the words “I love you” means a romantic or filial affection.
There is no direct translation of the words “I love you” from English to Cherokee, instead they would say “I kin ye”, the word “kin” meaning “understand”. As I choose to believe it, this means “I understand you”, as they deemed real understanding as so much more important in a relationship. So, when my kids were growing up, “I kin ye” took the place of “I love you”.
Then came the vicious teenage years, where more often than not, I most definitely did not understand them, or they me. As a result, there were times that I could not truthfully say “I kin ye”, and would have to revert to saying “I want to kill you”. These were the painful times when the bond between us was at it’s weakest.
And this is where the Casa is now, a house full of puppies that I love but have yet to form a kinship. When I found Charlie and later MacDuff, the connection was immediately evident, as it has been with many of you reading this; we have all “seen some shit” during our
I have always thought that shared suffering is the glue that binds us together. When I found Charlie in the crate, I was still bearing fresh wounds, huge medical bills and colostomy bag courtesy of a motorcycle incident a short time before. But over the next few months, she and I recovered together and I believe that’s where our peculiar kinship was formed and continues to this day. Even though she now struggles to get in and out of the car, underneath the gray she’s still the obnoxious, bossy diva that she has always been.
MacDuff was her heir apparent, but now he’s gone and I know that it’s time to gird up my loins and get moving again. Although I’ve lost many dogs over my lifetime, his abrupt passing was the first that ever left me feeling a bit lost. (Mom here: just a “bit” lost?”)
But the fact that you have been willing to share this loss with me allows me to truly say “I kin ye”. Between the ministroke last spring, the blown engine, the knee from hell, Mom’s hit and run, etc, etc, 2023 has been a very dreary year that totally kicked my derriere. But you have stayed with me through my sometimes gloomy musings and for this I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I can make no promises concerning the condition of the world around us, but I do have a distinct feeling that things are about to improve drastically inside us. It’s time for this crate to open, so be listening for the sound of the approaching motorcycles.

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