This was going to be a post about the helpfulness and thoughtfulness of some of this little town's shopkeepers but all I can think of at the moment is how fragile we all are and how little we know about what destiny has in store for us.
The morning after my birthday having dawned fine and sunny, I went, on foot, to the petstore where Simi goes for grooming and where I sometimes buy her food. It is a fair way from my house and involves walking along a pavementless, busy road, so I don't go there often but that morning the sun encouraged me and I lingered to window-shop along the way.
Once I'd made my purchases, the owner's wife became concerned about my carrying the heavy bag of dogfood back home on foot and suggested that her husband bring it to my flat after the store closed at 1 pm. I gratefully accepted her offer and, as I lingered to window-shop on the way back too, I arrived home just as the store owner was pulling up outside our courtyard in his van.
We shook hands, exchanged pleasantries and he asked after Simone's health, she and he being good friends from her grooming sessions over the years. As he got back into his van and I was waving to his little boy, he called, "Salutami Simi" ["Say hello to Simi"] and off the two went.
Sadly, there will be no more grooming sessions with our kindly friend for Simi, as yesterday I learned that he died of a heart attack later that same day. I keep seeing him standing in the courtyard in the sunshine and I can't stop thinking about how happy father and son looked as they drove off for what would be their last lunch together.
I am, of course, thinking of the gentle shopkeeper's family at this time and I don't know what the pets of Modica, whom he cared for so tenderly, are going to do without him.