Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year, Jack


By CHRIS MILLSPAUGH

Well, happy new year, folks. It's finally the end to one of the most dismal decades of our memory. It started with a disputed election, then, the unimaginable attack on the twin towers in New York City, terrorists alerts that doomed the airlines and made air travel a tedious and unrewarding means of travel, then the war in Iraq, followed by the war in Afghanistan and the end of peace in our time, then the debacle on Wall Street, which brought about the downfall of our economic system. And then, just to make sure we were not down enough, the power goes out on Christmas. Have we all had enough?

No, this is nothing! They haven't broken us yet. Is that all they got? Ha-ha! We've withstood the deaths of family members, friends and admired public figures. We've lost jobs, opportunities and love interests. What more could happen to derail our emotions? Well, here's one.

My friend lost his beloved Jack Russell, "Jack" on Christmas Day to a truck. Jack was a decade old—70 in dog years—and they had been together since he was a puppy. They did everything together and loved each other with all their hearts. I was introduced to him in the beginning and we struck up an instant friendship that remained until last week. He was a great dog and I loved him as much as my friend did. Jack also loved a lot of other people and they, too, have been in mourning this week. With all of the other sadness in the world, why has this tragic event touched us all so? Perhaps because Jack was such a wonderful spirit in our lives. He loved unconditionally and made all of us feel special. He was good.

I could always count on a first-class greeting when I arrived at his home. He was genuinely excited to see me, danced around and filled me with love. Not many beings can do that for me. I would sit down on the couch in the living room and talk to his "father" and Jack would jump up behind me, place his front paws on my shoulders, peer around and cover my face with kisses. No matter what it was that was troubling me at that moment would disappear. Jack loved life and made you love it, as well, for a while. I'll miss those moments with Jack.

Someone once said that all we have in life are the moments that engulf us with joy. These moments sustain us. What will we do now that he is gone? I guess we will remember the moments of joy and hope they will surpass these moments of sorrow. Jack is still with us as we enter another year and another decade. He made the last one doable because of his charm and spirit—he'll be with us, too, in the years to come.

Happy new year, Jack ... and nice talking to you.




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