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Archive for the ‘Rants and Rambles’ Category

Politics and Sports,Rants and Rambles

January 24, 2017

WOMEN’S MARCH GREATEST PROTEST IN WORLD HISTORY

Peaceful. Purposeful. And a Real Movement.

Greetings from Portland, Oregon –

What took place around the world on Saturday, January 21st, may have been nothing less than the first salvo of something extraordinary. An explosive and heartfelt outpouring of protest. Like a 21st Century Fort Sumter and the beginning of a non-violent Second Civil War for justice and equality and human dignity.

Here’s why.

women's march

Hundreds of marches, tens of millions, peaceful and purposeful.

The signficance of this real people juggernaut of a protest is dwarfed only by what it’s not.

The protest isn’t sour grapes about the outcome.

DJT’s the prez, but the story will be a long time unfolding as truth is separated from fiction, and reality from delusion.

The impact of Putin from the outside and Comey from within will be assessed, debated and perhaps even litigated ad nauseum. Of course it mattered, but that’s a discussion for another day.

Saturday’s Women’s Marches across the country and around the world were the authentic outpouring of heartfelt rejection of the man in the office; his heart, his character, his brain.

And his policies, however vague, thin, shifting and conveniently tuned to each audience.

And his values, if we ever really find out what they are, and aren’t.

The marches were the for real grassroots eruption signaling that the “fight” is on. Beyond politics for the soul of a nation.

Mitch McConnell had his way – obstruction, opposition and in the case of the High Court, refusal.

The opposition has found the genesis of a better way. I’m sure they’ll obstruct as they can, it’s the most immediate political policy weapon.

Added to that, is the people talking in a way we’ve never seen before. Mobilizing, getting involved and their activism can reengineer the political landscape, maybe at hyper-speed.

The real people. All ages, colors, genders across the demographic spectrum around the world.

Okay, here’s why they’re talking.

Because the new president is a flavor we’ve never been served before. His lack of most every tool to do the job is scary, not funny. Hey, Big League he ain’t.

The reality showman, grand promoter, con man huckster, rich man’s son and business bully, world class liar, serial kisser and privates grabber whose greatest skill is the ability to magically reduce the most complex and critical issues facing mankind to 140 characters.

In tweets always ending with an exclamation point in self-aggrandizing self-congratulation.

They’re tremendous and the best ever.

Worst of all, is a quality never seen in any previous occupant of the office he now holds, which is beyond frightening:

There is and never will be a dissenter, however small, he’s too busy to attack.

The prez can’t rise above anything, can’t let anything go, and the collateral damage is a savage attack upon the dignity of the office. A self-inflicted character flaw that could be potentially critically fatal at the wrong time with the wrong enemy.

The job is to lead the world not preach to the choir, guided and defined by our values not personal delusions.

Drain the swamp? He’s restocked it with billionaires, cronies and insiders.

The Elite, baby. The United States of Goldman Sachs.

During the campaign, everyone that opposed him was a liar and a crook.

In the end, he’d out-lied ‘and out crooked ‘em all. That’s who he’s always been.

2018 may be the most entertaining and crucial off-year election ever.

What will his newbie base do when promises he made are broken, as they inevitably will be, because he never meant them?

He never really believed any of it because Donald J. Trump only believes in Donald J. Trump, and couldn’t care less about folks he snookered into voting against their own best interests.

And as he’d end a tweet with that statement: SAD!!!!

Losing by nearly 3,000,000 popular votes isn’t a mandate, except in his mind, where if he says it, it’s true.

Like George Costanza told Jerry: “It’s not a lie, if you believe it.”

The popular tally aside, it was less than 80,000 votes that cost his opponent Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, and the White House.

The ‘movement’ he boasts carried him to his ‘tremendous’ victory was no movement at all.

The for real movement was out walkin’ January 21st around the world. Sending a message that it’s not okay, we won’t just take it, and the fight is on.

If only this could be the beginning of the new beginning.

The tens of millions around the world*, like the hundred thousand plus in the January Portland, Oregon rain spoke loudly and clearly today; they are the real movement.

And the Second Civil War for justice, equality and opportunity for all has peacefully, but oh so admirably, begun.

A little post on Facebook started it all.

If what I’ve written has resonated with you at all, I ask that you share it.

I’ve been a lazy blogger. Writing for clients, neglected my blog. Sat out the campaign and the most recent sports seasons, but what happened yesterday called to me.

Doing nothing is not okay.

Share this with others – together, let’s make a difference.

*So maybe it was only five or ten million – only. Besides, if Donald can tell the CIA and the world that his Inaugural crowd ‘was the biggest ever’ and insist that 3-5 million illegals cost him the popular vote, I feel ‘empowered’ to offer a few alternative facts of my own.

All the best to you and yours.

May the pages keep turning and deprive you of sleep!

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Rants and Rambles

December 13, 2014

HUMANE SOCIETY DONATION: HALF OF DECEMBER ROYALTIES

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Greetings from Portland, OR –

A great gift for any dog lover, anyone really, and a way to support the Humane Society. I’m donating half of Paw Prints in My Heart’s December royalties.

A nice way this Old Dog to honor and remember Mac, the four-legged love of my life at Christmas time.

Happy Holidays – May the pages turn!

Paw Prints in My Heart

Paperback and eBooks at Amazon

And one more thing –

Monique Balas, The Oregonian’s talented pet columnist, graciously reviewed Paw Prints and posted it on OregonLive.com.

Here’s the link:

http://www.oregonlive.com/pets/index.ssf/2014/12/portland_mans_book_a_great_gif.html

Rants and Rambles

November 13, 2014

IN OREGON WE HAVE SERIOUS WEATHER DUES TO PAY

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Greetings from Portland, Oregon –

The past two years have graced us with the most wonderful weather I’ve seen since moving to Oregon. A summer equaled only by my very first, 42 years ago. But here in the Pacific Northwest, the weather scales always balance. We have hellacious weather dues to pay.

Which means that ark-building time cometh. Yikes! I think it may already be here!

images

October was the second rainiest on record and we’re seeing wintry weather in mid-November.

Growing up in the Midwest I hated the rain. Meteorologically speaking, that made moving to Oregon more than a little scary. Northwest winter, or what we think of more as the rainy season, is of uncertain and varying length uniquely determined each year. It’s called the Water Year – October–September.

Don’t know if other places have anything like it. But Oregon weather does and for good reason.

Oregon rain brought Lewis and Clark to their knees and they certainly had their fair share of hardships exploring the Louisiana Territory more than two centuries ago.

In the more than four decades I’ve lived here, we’ve seen some soul-crushing winters that pre-empted spring and stunted summer, leaving us locals to feel cheated, weather-wise. Summer is near perfection. It’s hard to feel short-changed when it’s MIA and the rainy season returns without apology and is insatiably hungry and cruel as ever.

There were years that were more than a little tough to handle. Back in the day as relative newbies we wondered if it was worth worth it and if we could take it. But Oregon does have a way of making it hard to seriously consider living anywhere else, and when the sun shines on a bright summer day in the land of heat without humidity, it’s truly glorious.

Thinking of the past weather year it may have been the greatest weather year ever.

Last fall was a spectacle of color, cold and crisp days, and winter arrived with colder than typical weather, a shot of early snow that was no big deal but gave everyone an excuse to play in it, and politely went away in time for the Holidays.

January, and the months that followed, can be harder than hard because they’re so often wetter than wet, relentlessly and depressingly so.

Except the last couple of years it wasn’t. An odd thing happened, that I’d never seen before.

Every time the rain appeared to be really settling in, we’d get a day or two’s break from it. Often when it did rain, it was overnight. Uglier than imaginable mornings saw afternoon drying and clearing up. I began to apply an adjective to Oregon winter weather I never thought I’d use.

Polite.

We even had a stretch of sunny, warm and dry days … in January.

And it was repeated in February. March was monsoon-like, the wettest ever – efficiently balancing the scales. But then April was wonderful, so un-Oregon-like and summer came earlier than most any year I can remember.

Summer had arrived, and it was sunny and warm. At its hottest we only flirted with triple digits, and the wonderful, warm and sunny days stayed around through September and into October.

Weather so perfect you almost felt guilty about it.

We didn’t, of course, because while very extra day was a gift, it only added to the tab that would soon come due.

Now we’re paying for all that gorgeous summer weather.

Thanksgiving is still two weeks away and we’re getting a wintry mix that looks to be serious.

Few of us believe the rainy season will be so polite this time around, or that next summer will arrive so early and stay so long.

We know better. More likely that last year was an aberration and there are serious weather dues to pay.

Thanks for reading. May the pages keep turning and deprive you of sleep!

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Politics and Sports,Rants and Rambles

October 22, 2014

NOTES ON A GRINDING BASEBALL SEASON

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Greetings from Portland, Oregon –

A great yet painful but inspiring baseball season. My Cardinals made it to the NLCS for the fourth straight year, but exited on a three game losing streak for the third straight year. A fitting end to a season that was predictably unpredictable but painfully so. A season of grinders.

Jeter

Youth Ruled
The number of terrific young talent across baseball was unprecedented and suggest the game’s best days – at least between the lines – are ahead.

Money Didn’t
The Dodgers, Tigers, Yankees, Angels and others proved that spending the dough for a great fantasy team isn’t a sure path to success.

Streaks Ruled
Getting hot at the right time was never such a critical ingredient to success. Look at the sweeps, and tip your hat to the Royals for theirs. And to the Giants that seem to know what October is all about … again.

Starters Didn’t
Spotty results from most every #1, but more and more games became bullpen games and teams with the deepest relief corps survived and thrived.

Injuries Ruled
The Rangers, Reds, Rays and many others got hammered, ridden hard and put away wet. Tommy John injuries at a historic level. I’ll have more on this later.

Power Didn’t
Only Nelson Cruz cracked 40 HRs, speed and defense made a comeback, and small ball returned to the baseball lexicon.

Trades Ruled
Except when they didn’t. The A’s big deadline deals weren’t enough, but the Royals trade for Shields and Davis a few years ago sure looks good.

Class Ruled
Thanks to Derek Jeter for a career that exemplified all that is wonderful about the game I love above all others. If he’s not a unanimous first ballot HOFer, it’s just wrong.

Flawed Cards
I saw the Cardinals as a flawed team in April. Injuries, under-performing core players, bullpen issues and perplexing managerial moves proved it.

Better Days
This time of year the reality is 29 of 30 fan base watch the Champs, whoever they are, celebrate. But hope springs eternal and pitchers and catchers report in April.

The Royals and Giants weren’t expected to represent their leagues this year.

Both should be commended for grinding it out.

Thanks for reading. May the pages keep turning and deprive you of sleep!

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Rants and Rambles

June 23, 2014

UNBELIEVABLE HAPPY ENDING DOG STORY

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Greeting from Portland, Oregon –

One of my sons sent me this link today. The story of ‘Murphy’, a dog lost in the Sierras for nearly TWO YEARS and recently recovered by her owners. He pointed out the back-story similarities to ‘Weller’, the old lab that became a recurring character in my novels.

Happy endings like this are pet owners’ dreams coming true. The heroic details of their dog’s survival we’ll never know, but it’s hard not to tear-up and then stand-up and cheer.

Here’s the link:

http://www.news10.net/story/news/local/eldorado-hills/2014/06/20/family-confirms-id-of-miracle-dog/11141803/

The character of ‘Weller’ was introduced in The Old Dog’s New Trick, and inspired by Mac, my old Lab that passed away a little over a year ago.

I just published Mac’s story, Paw Prints in My Heart, and am thrilled by the first reviews.

If you’re interested in checking it out and I know you’ll be glad you read it – here’s the link:

http://www.amazon.com/PAW-PRINTS-MY-HEART-lessons-ebook/dp/B00KRPTWFC/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1403559939&sr=1-1&keywords=andrew+hessel

Great dogs are wonders when they share their lives with us, and miracles, when lost they become found.

All the best to you and yours –

May the pages keep turning and deprive you of sleep!

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Rants and Rambles,Self-Publishing,Writing Process Random Thoughts

June 5, 2014

The SELF in Self-Publishing Explained

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Greetings from Portland, Oregon –

Paw Prints In My Heart brings my total to five books; four novels and now a dog book I never planned to write but had to write. I’m fiercely proud of this unexpected non-fiction offering, as well the novels.

Writing the story of the dog of my life’s improbably wonderful long life was a labor of love. Great personal therapy, too.

At the same time, I’m all too aware of what the ‘Self’ in Self-Publishing really means. Ouch.

There is no agent to encourage, guide, and help to persevere. I had a NYC literary agent once and still scratch my head at all he did – and didn’t – do. In fairness, our relationship was born during the early days of the manic self-publishing explosion that redefined the conventional book business and led to the demise of publishers and retail stores, et al.

And our relationship was seasoned during the darkest days of the economic meltdown.

Timing is everything – or nothing – depending upon your point of view.

So I self-published my crime thriller trilogy, then another novel, The Do-Over, with a 21 year-old college girl as a hero, and just now the story of the dog of my life and how he changed my life and taught me so much without ever saying a word.

But self-publishing means there is precious little help and even less support.

No editor catching the typos and wayward commas I can’t see.

No promotional department to help get it out there.

And no agent urging me on.

Only my wife to wipe my fevered brow, pat my back and tell me it was all worthwhile. Thank you, my love!

Like all the writers like me, we depend upon you.

Reading it.

Enjoying it.

Telling others about it.

All part of the dream of someday, somehow, catching lightning in a bottle.

I’m hoping to live long enough to become an overnight success.

So check out Paw Prints in My Heart. Paperbacks and Kindle eBooks at amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=dp_byline_sr_book_1?ie=UTF8&field-author=Andrew+Hessel&search-alias=books&text=Andrew+Hessel&sort=relevancerank

If you like it, please review it. And then share it with folks that might get comfort from it during times of grieving for dearly departed furry four-legged friends.

My hope is that dog lovers will see a bit of their dog in my beloved old Lab, Mac.

And that non-dog lovers read it and reconsider.

And that everyone has a dog of their life at least once in their life.

Thanks for reading.

May the pages keep turning and deprive you of sleep!

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Rants and Rambles,Uncategorized

March 18, 2014

MY FRIEND THE MOST EXTRAORDINARY LEPRICAUN

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Greetings from Portland, Oregon –

A dear friend is a true original in every way. The guest that became the star of our oldest son’s wedding video. Tough to do. For the past 25 years, my friend Steve, and his wife, Julie have hosted a truly incredible St. Patrick’s Day party and next day parade.

Julie is pure Irish; the guy we call Coach Steve not at all. No matter, no one I’ve ever known immerses himself in the blarney with greater gusto and pulls it off with such high style. No one is simultaneously more Irish and less Irish.

shamrocks

What began small has morphed into a major neighborhood Portland event. A parade on Sunday morning, after the Saturday night party, has earned the city’s attention. Fire trucks and police are on hand to help, and the media sometimes gives it a little play. He even names a Grand Marshall for the parade each year – right after we all sing – and dance – the Hokey Pokey played on an old phonograph in his living room. A classic touch.

For weeks before the much anticipated event, an impressive banner – Portland loves the Irish – is hung between stately old trees in his front yard. It’s Coach Steve’s way of ensuring that no one that passes by overlooks St. Paddy’s day. Few did; this year’s party was the best yet.

Every year, as is Steve’s way, something is added. You could say Steve’s mission is to make the event as feature-rich as possible.

Perhaps in honor of Year 25, this year it was two things.

First, Steve’s friend built what I can only describe as a Viewing or Judge’s stand on the sidewalk in front of his house. When I stopped laughing I commended him on its genius and noted the solid construction.

And second, and this is kind of high tech in Steve’s classically obsolete way, a Countdown Clock that had to be six feet tall was mounted in the front yard.

01 Days to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade it beamed at us as we made our way up the walk to his house.

“I wonder where he found this?” I said when I saw it, impressed with the style so classically Coach Steve; thumbing his nose at the latest, in favor of the unusual and forgotten.

“Maybe the same friend,” I added,” so low-tech and so totally cool.”

For years Steve’s relationship with technology was best described as an uneasy truce.

He was the last cell phone holdout. Didn’t have one, never had one and didn’t want one.

But while he didn’t have a cell phone, he proudly showed off his Phone Cell.

“What the hell is a phone cell?” I asked one summer night after dinner.

He led me to his back yard and showed me.

Steve’s phone cell is an old Pay Phone kiosk – not a full blown phone booth, the space-saver version we used to find mounted to walls. A little cover in case it rains and a shelf where phone books used hung before they were ripped-off.

This is in his back yard.

And it works.

There’s dial tone and everything. And calls are free!

Last Christmas, Steve’s kids got him his first cell phone.

Now Coach Steve has a cell phone and a phone cell.

That’s my friend, Coach Steve, for you – always ahead of the curve – eventually.

Thanks for reading.

All the best to all of you and all of yours – but before I go, one more thing –

If you enjoy the blog, please check out my books.

Paw Prints in My Heart, will be available in a couple of months. I’m very excited about telling the story of Mac, the Labrador retriever that didn’t retrieve, my writing partner, the better half of Old Dog Publishing, and the dog of my life.

If you’re a crime thriller aficionado, Rush to Dawn is the first in the Cups Drayton Series and Part I of The Mirano Trilogy. Like the other books in the series The Old Dog’s New Trick and Imperfect Resolution, available in paperback and Kindle eBooks.

My newest novel, The Do-Over, is a hoot. Different by design from my thrillers, I hope you enjoy it.

To get the books click: To get the books click: Get the Books!

To learn about the books click: About the Books!

May the pages keep turning and deprive you of sleep!

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Politics and Sports,Rants and Rambles

January 14, 2014

WHEN THE LAST TEAM STANDING ISN’T YOURS.

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Greetings from Portland, Oregon –

Sports perspective time. In the end, every team except one goes home wondering what might have been, thinking of next year and what the future holds. When the better team wins and it ain’t yours, loss and finality trump hope and possibility. Ouch.

That’s baseball. And football. And basketball. All sports.
Niners logo
The Niners face Seattle Sunday in the NFC Championship. Win and go to the Super Bowl. Lose and go home. Here we go again.

I’ve been a very lucky fan during my life, treated to more than my fair share of the highest highs along with at least my share of the lowest lows.

In recent years my teams have fared really well, enough to almost feel guilty. Almost.

I remind myself I shouldn’t complain, and that’s true. Or is it?

I looked deeper and made a list.

Yeah, I have been a very lucky sports fan, but still have every right to complain, or at least whine and wallow a bit.

Thanks to the one constant in sports: The yin and yang of victory and defeat; pain and pleasure; the agony and the ecstasy.

Cardinal baseball has been amazing, reaching the post season 10 of the last 14 years with four trips to the World Series and two championships since 2006. It’s hard to complain.

Oregon Duck football has been elevated to elite national status, with a near miss in the 2011 BCS Championship an injured QB from another one this past year, and BCS bowl games four of the past five years.

The 49ers have resurrected themselves under Jim Harbaugh and nearly won the Super Bowl last year and just missed an appearance the year before thanks to a fumbled punt. All we have to do Sunday is win in Seattle.

The Blazers have me considering actually caring about the NBA again for the first time in over a decade. The thugs are gone and although Paul Allen still owns ‘em, great young players that play hard and seem to like each other is compelling and fun to watch.

Oregon Duck basketball is relevant again even if the floor in the new arena is bizarre. That said, if Uncle Phil likes it, who am I …?

The Portland Winter Hawks deliver great minor league hockey, and while I can’t generate much enthusiasm for soccer, the Portland Timbers made it to the MLS finals.

But while I’ve been a ridiculously fortunate sports fan, I suffered inordinate fan pain.

Here’s the list of what I mean by that, and it’s only the past year.

October 2012: Leading 3 games to 1 over the Giants in the National League Championship Series, the Cardinals decide to take an early vacation and blow it.

November 2012: On their way to the BCS Championship and controlling their own destiny, the Oregon Ducks can’t make a field goal and fumble it all away to Stanford.

February 2013: The 49ers fall short, and narrowly lose the Super Bowl to Baltimore.

October 2013: Leading the Red Sox 2 games to 1 in the World Series, the Cardinals, after hitting .330 with runners in scoring position all season, forget how to hit.

November 2013: For the second straight year Stanford hangs on to derail Oregon’s clear path to the National Championship. This one was tough to watch, tougher to take, and for me the hardest of all to get over.

Go Niners!

Thanks for reading, and all the best to all of you and all of yours – but before I go, one more thing –

If you enjoy the blog, you’ll love my books.

My newest novel, The Do-Over, is a hoot. Different by design from my thrillers, I hope you enjoy it.

If you’re a crime thriller aficionado, Rush to Dawn is the first in the Cups Drayton Series and Part I of The Mirano Trilogy. Like the other books in the series The Old Dog’s New Trick and Imperfect Resolution, available in paperback and Kindle eBooks.

To get the books click: To get the books click: Get the Books!

To learn about the books click: About the Books!

May the pages keep turning and deprive you of sleep!

Visit me on the Web

www.PleaseReadMyBookBeforeIDie.com

Check-out the Blog

www.ReadersandWritersCommunity.com

Show me some ‘Like’

www.facebook.com/andrewhesselnovels

Email me, I’ll answer

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Politics and Sports,Rants and Rambles

June 26, 2013

OREGON FOOTBALL ESCAPES NCAA HAMMER

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Greetings from Portland, Oregon –

The NCAA, in their classically myopic and enigmatic fashion, rendered judgment after over two years of investigation. Duck football got a mild slap on the wrist and the post-Kelly era escaped unscathed without the dreaded ‘Bowl Ban’. Go figure.

dm_130416_ncf_oregon_major_violations_spielman

Hey, the loss of a scholarship, reduced recruiting visits and two-years probation – whatever that means, I surely have no idea – and Chip Kelly having to ‘show cause’ for 18 months – huh? –all of that is astonishingly less than the critics championed and the faithful feared.

To tell you the truth, I’m inured and numb to sports scandals, anyway. I never understood what the big deal was, what the egregious violation was. They did what everybody does in the pursuit of ‘amateur’ athletics. Not saying it’s right, just that it’s how it is.

There sin, apparently, was in getting caught.

Which must mean that their only real crime was overpaying.

Thankfully, now that the dust has settled, they’re dumb but Bowl Eligible.

Now we can play, and the NCAA can continue their efforts to safeguard truth, justice and the American Way.

On a totally unrelated note, genuine thanks to all of you for the kind words about my Mac tribute post last week.

Mac was a helluva guy, loved and accepted me unconditionally in spite of knowing me so well, and I miss him terribly. He was a true friend and the dog of my life.

Thanks for reading, and all the best to all of you and all of yours – but before I go, one more thing –

If you enjoy the blog, you’ll love my books.

My newest novel, The Do-Over, is a hoot. Different by design from my thrillers, I hope you enjoy it.

If you’re a crime thriller aficionado, Rush to Dawn is the first in the Cups Drayton Series and Part I of The Mirano Trilogy. Like the other books in the series The Old Dog’s New Trick and Imperfect Resolution, available in paperback and Kindle eBooks.

To get the books click: To get the books click: Get the Books!

To learn about the books click: About the Books!

May the pages keep turning and deprive you of sleep!

Visit me on the Web

www.PleaseReadMyBookBeforeIDie.com

Check-out the Blog

www.ReadersandWritersCommunity.com

Show me some ‘Like’

www.facebook.com/andrewhesselnovels

Email me, I’ll answer

andrew@PleaseReadMyBookBeforeIDie.com

Friend Me on Facebook

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Rants and Rambles

June 19, 2013

THE OLD DOG’S FINAL GIFTS

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Greetings from Portland, Oregon –

A day after turning 14, hours after writing his birthday post, my beloved lab, Mac, passed. We’re devastated. Long fearing the one I’d never get over, now I’ll find out. For all the loss and sadness, even at the end he was the best of the best, leaving after giving us two amazing gifts.

Saying goodbye is the hardest part; the shocking and soul-crushing finality of the inevitable. After I tell the story, with selected pics from puppy to mature to senior to elderly, there are links to four past posts about a dog that was my true friend and a beloved family member.

He was an adorable pup!

He was an adorable pup!

The tipping point was quality of life. While prednisone gave us a few bonus weeks, last Friday the quality was gone. As were his rear legs, his strength and an ever-present sparkle in his eyes and smile. Lynne and I knew he’d let us know and he surely did. Mid-morning last Friday I knew the end had come, and made “the call” to our vet; she’d make a house call at 7 pm.

June 13 1999 to June 14 2013. He’d lived a doggone good dog’s life. Working from home most of those years, we’d spent most every day together. Mac was my writing partner and Old Dog Publishing was more than just a name to me.

In his prime, about three or so.

In his prime, about three or so.

I alerted our three sons that it was time to say goodbye. As the afternoon wore on, Mac slept. Weaker and weaker still, with no interest in anything, even food and that was a first. So unlike my 100+lb. English Lab that was truly the densest hunk ‘o dog I’ve ever known and an eating machine. The last six years we’d fed him the lowest fat dog food we could buy garnished with a half of pound of broccoli so he’d feel full without calories and ease the burden on his legs.

Waiting for my boys, the hours passed glacially. I feared our youngest son that had grown up with Mac, adored him and always lived with him might not make it in time. Meanwhile, inching closer to the grim scene when our vet arrived I tried not thinking about it, and failed miserably.

Jake got home a little after four pm and went straight to Mac. The old dog looked up and saw him, and then, having seen him, let go, stopped breathing and died peacefully.

The famous "my cookies are on top of the frig" shot.

The famous “my cookies are on top of the frig” shot.

Just like that it was over. Mac was gone, but on his terms, after first giving us two precious gifts.

First, thankfully, he’d waited for Jake. And then, he spared us having to put him down.

You know, our vet wept when we took him in late Friday afternoon, and she sent flowers to the house on Saturday. I took it as heartfelt acknowledgement of a rock star patient that was a legend in their clinic. For his extraordinary medical history, he’d always loved going to the vet … and we went a lot. He loved the people there and they loved him. When he stayed over, for him it almost like going to Camp.

Nearing the end of his life.

Nearing the end of his life.

On Sunday, Father’s Day while wonderful was painfully different.

More than missed, Mac’s absence was ever-present. The silence in our house is deafening.

With our family gathered for our Father’s Day BBQ, I made this toast:

“Lynne asked me if I could make it through a toast to Mac without crying.

I answered, “Probably … not.” Adding, “You know me, how could I? Of course, I can’t.”

So, rather than winging it and losing it, I wrote it so I’d say what I need to say.

About Skye Mac of Oregon, his never-used AKC name: He was Mac; Mackie; my baby boy, my fourth son; my bionic lab.

The best-looking man in our family and the handsomest lab face I ever saw.

Dogs are great companions. A few are irreplaceable friends. He truly was.

Mac liked dogs but loved people. Everyone. And if you think about it, he had a complex relationship with each of you, something that was just between the two of you. In his way, he was everyone’s best friend, and while he was with you knew it was true.

He was the purest, sweetest, goodest and bestest dog of all, and as smart as they come. Before losing his hearing, I’d lost track of how many words he knew. We’d often tell him to meet us on Mommy’s deck or the patio, and he’d go out the family room slider, wind his way through the yard to the far side of the house and be waiting for us when we arrived. With a smile on his face.

Mac was also the ultimate stoic.

Five leg surgeries and a bout with cancer couldn’t change his personality or dim his love and trust of life.

The old dog had always accepted his physical limitations happily because it’s all he knew and all he really wanted was to be with us.

He had the greatest doggie smile I’ve ever seen, unfailingly made me laugh every day and was truly a terminal licker-kisser. He sure put that massive tongue to good use.

Mac was the dog of my life.

Sometimes it’s hard to know what you can believe in. But I do believe in dog heaven, and I think he’s just been elected president of the neighborhood up there. He’s surrounded by great dogs, running like he never could, and enjoying the all-you-can-eat doggie buffet sans broccoli.

This is a toast to Mac: It was an honor and my privilege.

I know just how lucky I was that for 14 years you were ours. I’ll never forget you.”

The last shot, in early June before he passed.

The last shot, in early June before he passed.

http://pleasereadmybookbeforeidie.com/content/2013/06/the-old-dog-hobbles-to-14/

http://pleasereadmybookbeforeidie.com/content/2012/09/blackstrap-molasses-and-other-old-dog-folk-remedies/

http://pleasereadmybookbeforeidie.com/content/2012/06/post-100-happy-birthday-to-the-old-dog/

http://pleasereadmybookbeforeidie.com/content/2011/06/the-old-dog-is-twelve-years-old-today/