Archive for April, 2019

My best friend passed today.

His name was Milo.  And he was an 11-year-old male Doberman, a gift for my daughter from Santa Claus when she was just six-years old.

Some may say a strange gift for a young child… especially judging by the initial fears from parents of Elle’s other six-year-old friends.

But as my wife predicted, everyone came to love Milo.  He was so gentle and child-like around family and friends that we often called him, not a Doberman, but a Doberboy.

On the other hand, with Milo at the foot of Elle’s bed, no child ever slept as safe.

I spent more time with Milo in the last 11 years than I think any other living creature.

He was a good listener, graciously letting me do most of the talking.

Milo was always there for us.  He’d gleefully smile when we’d return home (I kid you not).  He’d run with me.  We’d rough house like boys do.  He was watchful day or night, always vigilant.  He’d put his head in my lap when he knew I needed a hug.

Milo had what is known as “Wobblers” — Cervical Vertebral Instability or CVI.  It’s found in large breeds such as Dobermans.  Instead of the bones in his spine protecting his spinal cord, they abnormally compressed it, causing increasing paralysis.

We first starting seeing signs of Wobblers about 2-3 years ago.  It was about then that we could tell he wasn’t so keen on chasing squirrels around the yard any longer (squirrels, of course, being a major security violation).  We were hoping it was just age.  But sadly it wasn’t.

Even with increasing paralysis, Milo carried himself with the dignity befitting his proud lineage to the very end.

There’s a big hole in my family’s heart tonight.  Please keep a good thought in your’s for Milo our Doberboy.

Milo

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At some point soon I’m going to hit another decade mark… and for the first time that I can remember, it’s kinda bugging me.

I don’t feel old.  I don’t think I act old.  And, yet, when an app asks me what year I was born, it takes me quite a few spins on the digital thumb-dial to get to my birth year.

Ouch.

When I was growing up, I always looked a bit older than I was.

That wasn’t such a bad thing.  I played my first hand of Blackjack in a real casino at the age of 16.  Even though I was underage myself, I was always the guy that got the girls into bars that couldn’t get in themselves.  And I was drinking at the Oasis from freshman year in college on — and since they carded almost everyone, that was quite a feat.

Now, later in life, I’m working hard to flip that.  Definitely helps that a shaved head is a fashion choice these days.  ;)

But regardless of how one looks, hitting a big milestone birthday gives you the inalienable right to share some beer-can wisdom.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

*  There is absolutely no downside to being polite to everyone.

*  And more than that, try to be genuinely nice… and, even better, kind… to everyone.  Because everyone deserves that.  The Golden Rule is golden for a reason.

*  And that includes animals, too.

*  And that includes the planet, too.

*  Never ask someone to do something that you wouldn’t do yourself.  Only jerks do that.

*  It may feel like a sprint but it’s really, truly a long-distance race.

*  You can’t do it alone.  And even if you can, it would be lonely.

*  Doing is better than not doing.

*  Don’t quit.

*  Don’t act your age.

*  Don’t judge.  You just never know what someone’s going/gone through.

*  Remember there are two sides to every story.

*  Take the high side.  Closed doors reopen all the time.

*  In the darkest times, make sure you have a goal… any goal.  There always needs to be some light… any light… at the end of the tunnel.

*  From time to time — especially in the darkest times — try a little spirituality.  It really is good for the soul.

*  Always ask yourself:  Am I proud of the way I behaved?  With family and friends?  With strangers?  In social situations?  In sports?  In business dealings?  When no one is looking?  That’s your true compass.  So few people actually ask themselves this… but from an integrity point-of-view — and from a, “is this the kind of person you want to be?!” point-of-view — that may be the most important question in life.

As you can see, I had to drink a lot of beer to gain that much wisdom.  ;)   There are probably some other really great ones… but after a few challenging and battered decades where I thought of throwing in the towel many times, those have served me well for as long as I can remember.

Which, according to my driver’s license, is a fairly long time.  :)