Character sketch — Smokey and Marisol Clarke

b. 1942 (Smokey), 1951 (Marisol)
d. 1997 (Marisol – breast cancer)

Smokey is from Jamaica. Marisol is Cuban. They met in the US.

Dottie met Marisol in college in 1969. Marisol was also 18. Her parents immigrated to the US through legal channels in 1958, seeing the coming revolution. They lived in New Orleans — he was a Jazz musician. She assimilated quickly thanks to her parents’ insistence. She excelled at school and was able to get into college. She faced major discrimination there though. Dottie befriended her and helped her ride out the worst of it.

Dottie was in college for only two years, but Marisol stayed. She met Smokey shortly after Dottie left. He was on vacation in New Orleans, and she was on a break from school. He was older than she was — started working for Animal Behavior Enterprises (ABE) in 1962 when he was 20. So Smokey was born in 1942, which makes him 68 in 2010.

Smokey kept working for ABE until the late 70s, when ABE closed down. He went out on his own then and basically took over doing what ABE had done. They had four children; Marie was the youngest and the daughter of her father’s heart. The others have grown up and moved away and rarely come back to the small town in Louisiana where Smokey and Marie live and work.

Marisol passed away from breast cancer in 1997. Smokey found solace in his work. He had a stroke in the first year of Marie’s Master’s program at UNT (2005). She left school, came home, and took over the business. The stroke left Smokey unable to speak and weak on his right side. He has been unwilling to do much of his physical therapy. He hasn’t been able to help with the business which left Marie in charge.

Dottie comes to see him to ask him to help with Rain’s training. He and Dottie have both lost beloved spouses and so they strike up an unexpected friendship. This helps them both live again. Smokey and Dottie come to see Rain train one time. Marie asks his advice, which surprises him because she had been so quick to turn away his advice before. Smokey and Dottie also come to the field trial.

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