Archive by Author

Just a Little Story I’d Like to Tell

30 Aug

Author: Eric

I read this story the other day and it really stuck with me.  There is just something in a story about a dog – man’s best friend – that opens up a soft spot in my soul.  If you haven’t read it…take a minute to read/watch the story.  To summarize briefly, a fallen Navy SEAL is being eulogized while his canine companion, his friend, lies broken-hearted and faithful at his side.

This made me think about a story that I wanted to share.  It has a lot to do with family.  It has a lot to do with love.  And it has everything to do with the miniscule moments in life when we actually get to see what somebody is truly all about. 

The summer after my fourth grade year, my parents finally broke down and bought a puppy.  Well, a 1-year-old rescue dog that we stumbled across at the pet store, but nonetheless it was a dream come true for a 9-year-old boy.  Jesse was a mutt, a mix between a beagle and a black lab.  Can’t visualize?  Let me assist…Jesse, in her prime, was a jet black version of a classic beagle…not the overweight beagle you see wheezing around, rubbing its belly against the sidewalk begging for less food and more exercise, but rather the type of beagle you see in one of those old-timey English fox-hunt paintings:

Now, that’s a good looking dog…and if we can get off topic for a second…don’t we all wish we could ride around in one of those sporty red jackets and a top hat?  Why did those fools ever come to America in the first place?

Back on track…unfortunately, this is not a story about Jesse’s life (amazing as it was) but instead it is a story about the day she died, and oddly enough, a story about my dad. 

In the tail end (not a pun) of her life Jesse had grown a number of cysts to go along with the complications of old age.  One of the cysts, about the size of a fist, ruptured on her underbelly causing immense pain when she would eat and even more so when she would lie down.  We immediately took her to the emergency care pet clinic.  There we were told that age and severity would not allow for surgical intervention.  The vet gave us pain meds and told us that a heating pad could do the trick, but it was unlikely.

Sadly, it is true what they say…when a dog knows that it is going to die, it will try to separate from loved ones.  At home that night, Jesse could not lie down from the pain, could not stand from the arthritis, and decided in her own mind that she would head outside to find her peace.

It was December 31st and as frigid as it can get in Indiana on a New Year’s Eve, but Jesse was not going to be alone on her final night.  My father faithfully donned his tattered and faded Carhartts and braved the blistering cold to find his longtime friend.  All of the between-the-legs, upside down belly rubs…the garbage can dodging walks around the neighborhood…the butt-in-the-air welcomes…the stolen ears of corn and missing potatoes…those were more important, those were warmer than the snow-covered backyard. That night, my dad sat down next to Jesse, as she had finally found comfort, and stayed with her until the end.

I read that story last week and couldn’t stop thinking about that night my dad went out in the freezing, December cold and comforted our dying dog.  I thought about what I would do.  Would I have the… “balls”…to freeze my balls off like that?  I thought about what I wrote last week…about being afraid of the things that I could do wrong.   Strangely, I began to feel a little solace.  A little calm.  There are probably a thousand other moments that could define my father.  His family.  His work.  His dedication.  But that moment, those few hours in the crisp winter evening tell me everything I need to know:  If I can be  half of the dad that puts on Carhartts and sits with Jesse…I’m gonna be alright!

If you have a few spare minutes in your day…take the time to read that story.  It is a great piece on an American hero and the friend that will always love and remember him.

Me & Jesse

A Few Thoughts from Dad

21 Aug

Well, I guess my wife was right in the fact that I am 1/2 as responsible for the reason behind this blog so I better get my sorry butt in line and start posting.  Unfortunately, I can’t use the patented ‘I hate writing excuse’ since we both received English degrees from the same university…I knew that would come back to haunt me somehow, someday!

I was thinking about how I would introduce myself to the blogosphere, more importantly this specific realm, and I thought what better way than to attack a few of the emotions that I am harboring through this process.  You hear so much about how a woman feels through her pregnancy…don’t get me wrong, I am not downplaying the severity of hormonal changes and a life form growing inside of you….I am simply saying that my mind is racing, too.

EXCITEMENT
I am a 27-year-old kid and now I get to have a kid myself.  Everytime we drive by a Toys-R-Us or a Chuck E. Cheese I quietly think to myself how awesome it is going to be to get to go to those places again.  Disney World…book it!  Playground…done!  Playdates…we will tear those things up.  Playdates will never be the same.  Having a kid may not be all Sand Castles and Awesomeness all the time, but that doesn’t mean me and my offspring can’t rock out those times when they roll around!

NERVOUSNESS
Do you know the feeling you get right after you walk out of an important job interview?  You think, man I wish I would have said that different, or why in the hell did I wear that stupid tie.  You analyze every little question to the very microscopic depth of its meaning to the point that not one single answer you gave sounds remotely close to being right.  The tension, that terror is what I go through everyday of this pregnancy.  Did we do everything right?  Is Mel eating the right foods?  Should I have taken more vitamins as a kid?  Do you think that 20th shot on my 21st birthday will stunt his/her growth?  Will they ever make ‘Alf:  The Movie’ and do you think they just made “Saved by the Bell: The College Years” so Kelly and Zach would get married?  I don’t care whether we have a healthy baby boy or a healthy baby girl, I just pray we have a healthy baby!

FEAR
That’s right, fear.  I think if any dad says he wasn’t a tad afraid of the road ahead then I think they are kidding you.  There are no parental roadmaps and I will always have a little fear about making the right decision for my child, but thankfully I have an amazing family to show me a few detours and shortcuts to help me along the way.

FINALLY…ANTICIPATION
Well, of course!  I can’t wait till February, but I will enjoy the ride to get there.  I have never been huge on picking out room decorations, clothes, or window treatments, but suddenly it doesn’t sound all that bad…don’t tell my wife I said that!