I wonder what kind of man I would be these days without my puppy Auggie.
My wife, two children, mother-in-law, two cats, and I moved just as the global virus crisis began in March 2020. The very day we rumbled out of Tennessee and made our way on I-40 across the Mississippi River (hello giant pyramid!) over to I-30 in Little Rock and down to our new digs in Collin County, Texas, the word “pandemic” was first officially used to describe our recent time of trial. The next day, I met one of my neighbors in the alley behind us and we shook hands as per usual, chuckling to each other that “they say we’re not supposed to do this right now.” Little did we know.
My family had so enjoyed our neighbors during the three years we lived in Tennessee, and when it was time to relocate to the Lone Star State—and to one of the biggest metro areas in America—we were determined not to get lost in the isolated suburban sprawl. We bought a home in an established community just north of Dallas that was built in the seventies with modest brick ranch houses lining easily walkable streets laid out on a grid (not that we can walk to anything, but that’s no matter here). We were all set up for neighborliness; but that promising first handshake proved to be a tease. I saw the same neighbor again outside over the next few months, but he hurried back into the house, pretending not to notice me (or so I thought). The couple on the other side started getting large grocery deliveries, and we never once saw them set foot outdoors. Almost everyone kept to themselves.