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What People Are For (for Abbey)

We had this game, you and I
You'd steal my socks, there was no place to hide them
You'd always some how find them
Then, you'd slip in so sly
While I sipped my morning coffee.
I sipped on my morning coffee.

We had this game, you and me
I'd pack a snowball, you'd see
Then I'd throw it far out in a field that was deep
And sparkling white, and you'd run and you'd leap
And bury your nose to find it.
Bury your nose just to find it.

That's what people are for 
Making ways to help each other explore
A world full of sun and fun in store,
Yes, that's what people are for‚
Whether they have two legs or more.

This morning my socks are still there
Right on the headboard exactly where
I rolled them up last night and now I just stare
Knowing our game is done, and there's
No one to steal them this morning
No one to steal them again...


It's still snowy and cold outside
I trudge and hike and look far and wide
Whistle and shout out your name 'til I cry
Release to the canyon this one lonely sigh
So many snowballs to pack, but why?
Who'd chase the ones I let fly?

But you taught me what people are for‚
Making ways to help each other explore
A world full of sun and fun in store,
And when someone is gone there's still snow
And running...
And there's jumping...
And there's snowballs to throw...
When it all seems lost, there's still more...
That's what people are for...
Your big wet nose always pushing this door
Yes, that's what people are for‚
Whether they have two legs...
Whether they have two legs...
Whether they have two legs...

Or more.

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In early February 2021, we lost our golden retriever, Abbey, who had been with us for 13 years. She was old, and had experienced a good life. She wasn't the first four-legged family member we'd lost... and she certainly won't be the last. But Abbey was certainly special.

In the days and weeks since she left us, I've been reminded over and over of small things that she and I shared that I no longer share with anyone else on the planet. On the day after she passed, I wrote "What People Are For" to remind myself forever of a couple of the wonderful games she and I shared... and more importantly, of the important lessons she tried her best to teach me. 

I was very sad while writing the song, but I knew that Abbey-- though she was immensely empathetic when anyone was down or crying-- wouldn't want my take-away lesson to be sadness. She loved games and tricks and sunshine and snow. She especially loved being together, whether we were snuggling a little on the floor or hiking on the trail. 

Our four-legged friends often can teach us best what's most important about being human. Abbey was a person, Abbey was a friend, Abbey was in many ways a mentor. Losing that kind of person-- no matter the number of legs they have-- is tough AND beautiful. Her lessons for me are that much more poignant and powerful now as I'm able to reflect on our time together.

That's the important lesson from Abbey-- we give each other ways to explore what's really important. At our best, we remind each other that fun with each other is one of the MOST important things, and that even when we lose someone we love, all of our shared experiences, secrets and games are still alive and working on us in beautiful ways.

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