Wednesday, August 24, 2016

An Angel Named Andrew

            “You know how much I love animals.  Especially dogs. But how about waiting ‘til we get out of this apartment into a home with a big back yard?”  It was my last ditch attempt to convince my wife Duffy that this was not a good time for a pet. 
            She smiled, handed me the car keys and said, “They’re expecting us to pick him up in 30 minutes.”  Two hours later an angel moved into our apartment.
            Let me back up just a bit.  The year was 1987.  My partner Randy and I were morning DJ’s at a radio station in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Charlotte, a growing metropolis, had just been awarded a NBA franchise.  Professional basketball was coming to the Carolinas!  The team didn’t even have a nickname yet.  So naturally one morning we decided to name them.  We came up with “The Fighting Corgis.”
            A corgi is a dog that originated in Wales and it has a long body, short legs, and a fox-like head with huge ears.  There are two breeds of Welsh Corgis.  The Cardigan, which has a long tail, … and the Pembroke that has no tail at all.  Randy & I decided on the Pembroke because, well, it looked funnier. 
            After just a few days of campaigning for the nickname “The Fighting Corgis” we were inundated with irate phone calls from Corgi breeders.  They were very upset that we had the gall to call their sweet pets “Fighting” dogs.  We were invited to a local dog show to meet with the breeders and their beloved dogs.  That’s the first day I met “Andrew.” 
            Andrew was a tri-color Pembroke Corgi.  Six months old and ready to take on the world.  Duffy fell in love with him immediately and after two days of useless arguing we had a new roommate. 
            The first night home I put Andrew on a leash and took him outside for a short walk where he quickly decided that my foot looked like a fireplug.  I grabbed him by his collar, lifted him to my face and snarled, “That’s strike one!”
            Two days later I walked into the apartment and there, standing over what was left of my large photo album, was Andrew with what appeared to be a picture of me tightly between his jaws.  I lurched forward, grabbed him by the scruff of his neck and whispered through my clenched teeth, “That’s strike two!” 
            I would never make it to strike three.  Andrew quickly won over my heart.  He had Duffy’s heart from day one.  The three of us became inseparable.  We took long walks.  We played with tennis balls until they no longer looked like balls at all. And we would fall asleep together exhausted from our daily adventures.
            We moved from the apartment to that home with a big fenced-in back yard.  Andrew loved it.  Duffy would plant flowers, Andrew would rearrange them, and I would laugh.  Little did I realize it at the time, but a new challenge and a life-changing event was just around the corner. 
            In December of 1988 Randy and I were fired in Charlotte but quickly found a new morning radio job in Atlanta, Georgia.  Things could not have been better.  Then in late 1991 Duffy caught what we thought was bad case of the flu.  Her cough just wouldn’t let up.  Early in 1992 Duffy was diagnosed with lung cancer.  Andrew never left her side.  Duffy died in my arms on January 22, 1993.  
I was lost.  So was Andrew.  He would put his head on the windowsill and gaze down the driveway waiting for Duffy to come home.  I would often lie next to him hoping for the same thing.   When I started to cry Andrew would immediately cuddle up next to me and put his chin directly on my cheek to dry the tears.  He would then gently press down with his chin as if to say, “It’s going to be ok.”  We repeated this ritual time and time again.  Andrew became my shadow and together we began our recovery. 
            I gradually re-entered the real world and began to date again.  Andrew was always friendly with my dates but took no particular interest until he met Janet.  Janet was a single mom with two fantastic and wonderful daughters, Lauren and Meredith.  Beautiful, talented, intelligent and caring … Janet healed my heartache and I fell in love.  Andrew too was in love with Janet and the kids.  We were married on May 18, 1996. 
            The years flew by … the girls were growing up … Andrew was an old man.  He had back surgery in June of 1999.  Then one year later he began to have problems eating.  He couldn’t keep food down.  His back legs were almost useless.  And finally he would not eat at all.  I had a tough decision to make. 
            Janet and I talked … I prayed … and on Friday night July 21, 2000 I decided it was time to let Andrew go. 
            I snuggled up next to him that last night and began to cry.  He looked up and slowly put his chin and my cheek and gently pressed down … “It’s going to be ok.”
            Saturday afternoon at the Veterinarian Clinic I held Andrew tightly.  I thought of everything that he had done for Duffy, Janet, Lauren, Meredith and me.  I don’t know if I would have made it without him.  He was indeed an angel.  The needle pierced Andrews’s front leg.  I held his face close to mine.  Our eyes met.  I put my chin on his nose and gently pressed down.  He closed his eyes.  “It’s going to be ok.”

Monday, August 22, 2016

Reconnect

I had excuses. OK, I was lazy. For whatever reasons I had not hiked Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield Park in several weeks. But today … we reconnected. The beauty, the sounds of nature, the solitude … it was all waiting for me. Like old friends, we picked up right where we left off. I walked, my mind wandered, a smile encompassed my face, I counted my blessings. The beautiful park once again embraced me.

 “It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.” -- Henry David Thoreau


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Tall Tales

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Thrifty

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Battery free calculator!


It's the back to school sales tax holiday in Georgia! I scored this handheld calculator that doesn't need a battery!


NOTE: I like to go to Starbucks, sit down between two people using their laptops, start playing with my slide rule while furiously scribbling down numbers and math formulas on a yellow legal pad using my mechanical pencil. Then I will suddenly stop, grab my cell phone, call home and shout ... "It's 7.69915! The asteroid will strike earth exactly 32 and a half miles northwest of Chattanooga, TN!

Monday, June 27, 2016

SlugBug

I’ve been experimenting with this for months and finally have a working model. I “MacGyvered” my Fitbit into a SlugBug. I now accumulate points while sitting at the computer, laying on the couch or just being a sloth. At the end of the day the readout on my SlugBug shows me what movies I could have watched while being a couch potato. For example, yesterday I was inactive long enough to have seen “Pearl Harbor” (3 hours 3 minutes), “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” (2 hours 59 minutes) and 3 episodes of “Modern Family.” At the end of the week (if I accumulate enough laziness points) I get a free Netflix movie. I will let you know when I get out of the Beta-Testing stage. SlugBugs will only be sold online and delivered to your front door, because who would ever want to get their fat butt off the couch to drive somewhere to pick one up? Look for me soon on “Shark Tank.”

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Game of Thrones

Friday, June 24, 2016

Brexit?

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Mark of Mogill



I first saw the news on Facebook. One of my former teachers had passed away. Not just a teacher … my favorite teacher ever. Mr. Mogill was my Physics teacher in high school. I was in his class for just one year. But, what a year it was! I can still see him pacing back and forth in front of the classroom wearing a white shirt, sleeves partially rolled up, with his hands shoved deep into the chalk stained pockets of his black dress pants. Intelligence, humor and kindness were the tools he used to teach a classroom full of teenage know-it-alls. And teach us he did. Not only about physics, but about life. Mr. Mogill respected each of us and expected that we respect him in return. He also demanded 100% of our attention when he was in the midst of an important teaching moment. My most vivid memories happened at this time. With his back to the class while furiously writing on the chalkboard, Mr. Mogill’s superpowers awakened. His all-seeing eyes in the back of his head would focus directly on the student paying the least attention to his lesson. Then, with a ninja-like quickness, Mr. Mogill would suddenly pivot, and what I can only describe as “High Noon” meets “The Matrix” … he would quick-draw a chalkboard erasure from his pocket and project it toward the hapless kid who was giving him “no respect.” SMACK-PUFF! Chalk dust filled the air and for one shocked student, the “Mark of Mogill” could be seen as a rectangular white powder outline dead center on their chest. How Mr. Mogill never missed the intended target and how others in the class were not victims of “friendly fire” is a physics lesson in itself. I remember thinking to myself, “how could this old teacher be so quick and agile?” Of course, I now realize that Mr. Mogill was only 29 years old when I was his student. He was just 12 years older than me at the time. I am sorry that I never made the time to personally thank Mr. Mogill for that magical year and for the life lessons he taught me. But, I can proudly say that, on more than one occasion, I went home with that chalk erasure outline on the front of my chest. More importantly, the true “Mark of Mogill” has been and will always be with me. Rest in Peace Mr. Mogill.

Alexis Timothy Mogill, January 24 1939 - June 4, 2016