The Easter My Sister’s Boyfriend Ran Over Our Dog
EASTER WAS NEVER THE SAME
Easter was never the same after my brother-in-law killed our family dog.
I was in the seventh grade when my oldest sister brought her new boyfriend home to meet our family. They met while working the late shift at McDonald’s on Gay Street in West Chester. Presumably she thought after weeks of flirting with each other over the deep fryer it was time for him to meet us. My stepfather asked her that morning if it was getting serious. “Doesn’t he want to be with his own family on Easter? Why does he want to be with you? Is he staying for dessert?”
After an uneventful mid-day ham dinner my sister and her boyfriend got up to leave. What’s the point of staying when there are no more deviled eggs and no one else wants to talk about basketball? Our house, which sat on a hill in a suburban cul-de-sac, had a large enough driveway to accommodate six cars.
Our sweet terrier mix Cookie decided to take a nap underneath his car to shield him from the warm spring sun. Since she had partial hearing she likely didn’t notice the sound of the car’s engine starting. My sister and her boyfriend got in his car and then proceeded to back over Cookie and then run back over her as he pulled his car out of the driveway, down the hill, and out onto the main road. She evidently turned to him and asked what it was that caused their car to rise and fall. “Was there something underneath the tire?” she asked. Later he would say he assumed we had an uneven driveway.
My younger sister found Cookie in the driveway. She ran inside screaming. I ran outside and my normally emotionless stepfather was in sobs. He lifted Cookie into the air above his shoulders and wailed to the sky, “why?” I ran back inside and informed my sister Megan and cousin David that the new boyfriend had run over the dog. They began laugh as my aunt, an Episcopal priest, asked us all to bow our heads in prayer. We should have been celebrating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, but instead we were coping with the fact a practical stranger just paralyzed the family dog.
The next day Cookie was put to sleep while I was at school.
A few months later we got a new dog, which we kept barricaded in the laundry room when the boyfriend came to visit. We just couldn’t afford another fiasco. He didn’t seem to notice or care that his visits would involve us replaying the scene in National Lampoon’s vacation when Clark accidentally killed Aunt Edna’s dog Dinky by forgetting to untie his leash from the rear bumper. He also didn’t notice we referred to him as Skids. “Are you and Skids going to get engaged any time soon?”
She ended up marrying him, and to no one’s surprise they eventually got divorced.
So, yeah, Easter was never the same.
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