Last, Best Day

The four of us loaded up into the car for the final drive to the vet clinic. It was the first time the old dog actually laid his head in Kyle’s lap and I recall thinking perhaps he knows this is the last time he’ll get to go “bye-bye.”

Inside the vet clinic, we were escorted to a private room where we sat on the floor with the old lab. Kyle and Kay pet and rubbed his belly while I brushed his flaky, dry brown coat.

It was harder on them to say good-bye than for me as I was staying with Chubbs until the very end. I believe he deserved to have his pack-leader by his side as he left this world.

He had been given a sedative and he breathed easier for the first time in months. I knew then I had waited longer than I should have to do what was about to happen.

My thoughts raced as the doctor pushed the final solution into my pet’s leg vein. I whispered, “I love you,” and told him he was “a good boy,” as I rubbed his chest and belly.

It took seconds for his big ol’ heart to stop beating. While I didn’t feel that, I felt, heard and saw his massive chest heave out that long, last and forever final breath.

The tears welled up in my eyes and washed down my face as I leaned over and smelled his fur. They puddled up, leaving wet spots on his ear and cheekbone.

I whispered, “I’m so sorry Chubbs that I couldn’t protect you from this.”

Then I lifted his lifeless form from the floor and laid him on the table. It was the last bit of dignity I could offer my best friend.

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Soles for Souls

Time and again I have said God has a sense of humor. Here’s another case in point.

Yesterday I stepped out of my right shoe. That’s to say: it tore along the side and my foot popped out. I had to throw that pair away.

Then this morning I went to church and found out it was “Barefoot Sunday,” a program designed to aid the people of Haiti who are without footwear. The stage was filled with bags and boxes of shoes.

Then there was an invitation given to take the pair from off our feet at that moment and give them with a glad heart. And that’s exactly what I did.

The pair of tennis shoes I gave was never very comfortable anyway. I sat through the service, happy as a clam, with the knowledge they’ll end up on someone’s feet who will appreciate them more than I had.

About half way home it dawned on me—I don’t have another pair of shoes at all. Now I’m down to jus’ a pair of slippers, until I get to the store.

Looking for Penguins

Every day after school, Adam and I would come home and look in the icebox.  As we grew into men with wives and children of our own, coming home for visits, we continued to look in the icebox. 

On one visit to see Mom, I committed a serious breach of civility.  I looked in the icebox before kissing her “hello”.

To Mom it seemed that I was more concerned with feeding my face than I was with seeing her.  And she let me know about it.

Fortunately for me though, Adam arrived about the same time.  He gave Mom a hug and a peck on her cheek and said, “Hello.”  

Then he proceeded to the icebox.  As he opened it, Mom yelled at him, “What are you looking for in there?” 

Her eyes were on fire.  And if she could have spit fire I’m certain she would have done that too.

Adam looked at me because he knew that I had done “something wrong” before he had gotten there and Adam was certain he was catching the blame for it now. I just looked down at my feet.

“Well?” Mom shouted.

“I was looking for penguins,” Adam calmly replied.

In complete exasperation Mom turned and walked away.  I had to fight off a chuckle. 

As for Adam, he shrugged his shoulders, and continued to look for penguins.

Instant Family

The Continental Airliner landed and taxied up to the gate. Within moments everyone was deplaning including me. As I walked down the companion way, I could see the sign. It read “Tommy Darby.”

Tulsa has the largest airport near Muskogee. I wasn’t going to Oklahoma for fun as I had jus’ gotten word that my father had jus’ had a severe stroke and was not expected to live.

My old man and I hadn’t spoken in at least 12-years, though we had corresponded a few times. So to get a call out of the blue from a woman claiming to be my father’s wife, was something of a surprise.

He had not mentioned having gotten remarried. And I didn’t know what to expect.

In fact, I was struggling with the idea of Dad at deaths doorstep. Plus, it still had not fully sunk in that I now had a half-sister.

It was my birthday as quickly made my flight reservation. The next day I headed out, the same day the doctor would be kind enough to list as my father’s date-of-death.

As I looked at the sign, I followed the arm downward until I could see the face of the woman holding it. It was my father’s wife and my step-mom.

My first thought was, “Oh, crap. Dad married a woman younger than me.”

Later, I found out Jere was four-years older than me, but it didn’t make me feel any better.

Fourth to Forget

It was the Fourth of July and I had only been on station three days, when Dave Barber and I were invited to go shoot off some fireworks. We were packed into one car and it’s trunk was loaded with lady-fingers and salutes.

What started out as lighting off fireworks denigrated into an all-out free-for-all, as we were throwing lit firecrackers at each other. And it didn’t take long for someone to get hurt.

Dave was on his knees, bent forward, holding his face after being hit in the eye with an M-80 firecracker. The ensuing explosion blasted the lens out of his glasses.

We ended up rushing back to the base, and the hospital. Once there, Dave was hurried into the emergency room where the doctor examined his eye.

It took a while, but the doctor eventually declared Dave’s eye undamaged.  He told us Dave was luck he didn’t get his eye blown out of his head.

Then he added: “You ought to get your brains examined, too.”

Hopeless Cause

Putting my foot in my mouth and saying inappropriate things has always been a forte’ of mine. I was working at KONE with Paul Stewart when he had to set me straight after I opened my fat-yap.

The day before I had purchased a brand-new car; a Hyundai for $6,000. I was feeling pretty happy with myself and I came into the radio studio as if I were walking on clouds.

Paul and I were discussing my purchase when I started bragging about how I had managed to get nearly $900 shaved off the over all price of the vehicle. I said: “I jude them down nearly a thousand-bucks.”

He looked at me over the rims of his glasses and responded, “I’m a Jew.”

My heart felt like it had come to stop. I hadn’t ever thought of the term as, “Jewed down.” I had always thought the term was spelled after St. Jude, the saint of hopeless causes and that’s what I told Paul.

He explained that I had it all wrong in both spelling and in orgin. Then he told me what the term actually meant.

Without hesitation, I told him I was sorry for making such a slur towards his faith. Paul was gracious enough to accept my apology.

It was obvious I still had alot of learning to do.