I am about to embark on a family reunion.
Not the kind with uncles who sport obvious false eyes, or cousins that fart into those PlaySchool barn silo's and then place it over your mouth and nose until you gag, no my reunion consists of a linebacker from Iowa, Sue McGleno, my Omaha Daughter, her husband and my Granddaughter.
Everybody told me that having a granddaughter would be grand, but to be honest....my kids irritated me until they stopped crapping themselves and could talk.
But the collective voice holds it's majority opinion for a reason. It is backed by experience. Why is it that I think I know more than an entire generation that has gone on before me?
Granddaughters are so important to a father. they give you a second chance to show your daughter that you loved them, but were just to stupid and inexperienced when you were younger.
I went out to buy "stuff" for my granddaughter. she will be 2 in a couple of weeks, but she acts more like she is 29.
I wanted to get her something epic, and I labored in the quest. I toiled through every toy aisle in the state of Minnesota today, but then I saw it. The heavens opened and the answer was revealed.
Pink rake, broom, spade, gloves and rubber boots. I am going to promote gardening to my granddaughter. I also bought her two packs of seed that will sprout 10 foot sunflowers and I should mention I also tossed in a gnome stake.
My thought is my daughter and her husband will help little Madison plant a mini garden in their backyard. Then big sunflowers will grow to Jack & the Beanstalk proportions, and every time that kid sees a sunflower from there on out....she will think of me, and love me the most lol.
I got my son a couple days ago. I had to travel to Iowa. What civilized young adult thinks that they will make babies, but one distant day down the road....they will have to travel rural landscapes to see them.
So...me and the boy went to the movies, and on the way home we passed that intersection on Snelling and Summit avenues. It is on the north end of Macalaster college and more often than not the students hold signs on the corners promoting their Lib views.
My blog could care less about politics, but by now you may know that Klecko is a Republican and so is his All American sonny boy.
For years now we have drove across that small tuft of asphalt, and almost every time we see who can make the best sarcastic remark against whatever the hippies are pimping.
And I know right now you guys think that is awful, but c'mon....don't be a hater when you and yours do the exact same thing lol.
So today they have signs that say "STOP FUNDING ISRAEL!!!!"
I didn't even notice it, I was basking in the presence of my son. But all of a sudden I see a huge grin surface on his mug.......
"Damn dad, those hippies are never going to quit" then a dramatic pause before he continues......
"But at least these guys have a cause that's new."
The 2 of of laughed, and laughed. You can only enjoy that kind of experience with family.
So as we are driving homeward. I saw a woman walking a big Doberman Pincher.It was a sight to behold, but my mind raced back to an event that happened a couple of years back.
I was hanging out with Tami, the Muddy Paws Cheesecake lady. I love her to death, and even served her wares at my own daughters wedding. Tami and I were going to an animal shelter that she supported.
The ride was lengthy, and we even had to cross state lines. When we arrived, we pulled up to a large iron gate, it was like Michael Jackson's Never-Neverland Ranch. Later I was told that this security was needed because people would troll their facilities perimeter in the middle of the night and dump their unwanted pets on them.
When we got in, the facility was grade "A" stellar. The buildings were clean, the staff was friendly, the whole 9 yards, but then I saw some helpers working with a big Doberman that was laying on the ground.
I couldn't figure out why he wasn't moving, that is until they volunteered the information that "Sarge" was paralyzed!
I wanted to cry. The women smiled bravely and explained that some demonic crime was cast upon this once noble creature,and now he couldn't move from the neck down.
They also kept a stiff upper lip and tried to sell me that he had a high quality of life and even had 2 different girlfriends.
I wanted to put a bullet through his brain at that moment. I am a guy, I have had some noble moments, but if I can't move from the next down...Holy Polish Jesus, take me home!
When you go to animal shelters, I'll bet over 90% of the staff are woman. They have a more caring nature than men. I get along with girls pretty well, so in a short period of time I was part of this establishments "Event Crew." My job was to actually co host charity events. The better 1/2 of my tandem was a Jack Russell Terrier named Sherlock. That dog was old, blind, beaten and worn. Nazi like crimes had been commited against that dog. but he liked me, he let me hold him, in fact during most events I kept a microphone in one hand and Sherlock cradled under my other arm like the Christ child.
But, the downside to our relationship is that he didn't have long left in this world, and every time I saw him, in the back of my mind, that secret spot, I wondered if this would be our last frolic.
Often times they would do fund raisers at the Mall of America or other places, the founder of these events was/is very shy, her comfort zone is with animals.
So she would ask me to emcee different fundraisers, and I would show up dressed in my formal baking whites (equipped with my chef Boyardee hat)and try to get people to support this noble organization.
Then, it had to be 3 or 4 years ago, it was just after my dog biscuit cookbook was launched by the Minnesota Historical Society. Klecko was probably as hot as he ever would be back then, a real arrow up...lol.The people at the shelter found out they were going to have access to Cesar Millan, you know....the Dog Whisperer come to do an event, and I got to emcee it.
Cesar was arguably at his peak as well.The gig took place at the International Market Square. This space is fricken fab, but the only downside is that when you walk up to the entrance, they have a semi circle of 100 foot flag poles which have flags of exotic countries from around the world.....and yeah, they don't have Poland, are you kidding me?
France,don't like it, but I get it. Britain...I understand that too, but Austria and Chili (and this was pre minor accident Chili), I just don't buy it.
I got there early, Sue McGleno was so excited she even dropped a couple Benji's to attend.
Like busy bees in a beehive, this army of female volunteers buzzed around like chickens with their heads cut off, OMG....it was like Christmas Eve morning when Whiskey Willie would wake me from slumber so we could go to the bar and stay out of my mothers way. We wouldn't return until an hour into the holiday party,this strategy was employed during my teenage years, each Christmas Eve morning we'd just continue the cycle.
But yeah, they had women screaming as to where the celebrity dog houses should go, girlios were wigging on how long the slide show should be, and then there was the setting up of the silent auction items.Let me tell you, I'd rather ride in a Chevy Vega from L.A. to NYC with Hitler and Judas than work the silent auction table again, lets just say claws with "fish hook" sharpness thrashed through the air.
Other than our special keynote celebrity speaker, there was another highlight to this evenings event. The dog rescue parade. they took all these dogs and ushered them through the event. some had no eyes, others had ony 3 legs, there was also a few dogs that had chariots attached to their a** because they couldn't walk.
I won't lie, on that night, there was a part of Klecko that not only yearned for celebrity, but desired it, I don't know if this will make sense, but I really don't think Klecko wanted to live amidst celebrity, but he wanted to obtain it, so he could walk away from it, kinda like that Brit King who abdicated the crown for a smoking hot bird.
It's dark out now, Cesar is in the green room, I have a chance to meet him but first I wanted to go out into the parking lot and see if the dog parade were out there. The custom was that they would hang in a single file line for about 20-30 minutes and shake out nerves or get used to their handler(s).
As I stood on at the loading dock, I peered across that ocean of concrete, and I spied my best friend. Sherlock the JRT!
I hopped down and ran to him. It had been 7 or 8 months since I saw him. He had aged a century in that time. As I picked him up and held him, he slowly wagged his tail and offered up kisses.
I knew that there was no getting around it, this would be our last night together.
So I took him into Cesar's green room and me an d the mutt just hung there. You know you see people on TV and you think, bulls***, this person can't be that nice.The Dog Whisperer is.
I didn't approach him,this guy...a guy with enough swag to me mimicked on Southpark, he came over to me. He made polite conversation asking about Sherlock and Minnesota, but then I saw the thumbs up, and I said.....
"OK Cesar....it's time for us to go."
Cesar was totally befuddled....
"Go where, what are you talking about?"
Then I laughed and apologized that I forgot to tell him that I was the event emcee. He was was confused than ever.
"I do not want to be rude, but I have never been to an event where the hotel's chef was the emcee."
I didn't take it personal, and I simply informed him the truth.
"Cesar, first off, I am NOT a chef, please...I am a baker, and I'm really huge in Minnesota and Japan."
Now the Dog Whisperer laughed his a** off, he put his arm around my shoulder and said that he liked this place, it was fun.
I wanted to know what words of hope, or inspiration he was going to offer this crowd.What could he say that would give these people bang for there buck.
His speech had the innocence and reminded me of that Linus dissertation in that Charlie Brown Christmas special. You know, where he tells Chuck the meaning of Christmas.I always thought the show would of even had a plot line if Charlie Brown had taken Prozac, but I regress, Cesar walked sheepishly to the mike, panned the audience and said something like........
"I will answer any questions that you have tonight at your tables, but to be honest there is only one truth that we need to remember about dogs, we place ourselves in there presence because this makes us better people."
That was it, simple, straight to the point, and after years I still remember it. As I thought about this P.O.V., I had Sherlock in my arms.
Cesar walked by, thanked me and stopped to pet the old rascal.
But now that this moment is in my memory. The 2 epic moments that took place that night were Sue McGleno had to go home from illness. In addition to barely being able to drive, she was broken-broken hearted to miss Cesar, she loves him, and just knowing that I am lucky enough to have somebody in my life that has complete power over me,a power that crushes me when they are subjected to such disappointment. I think that is better than carrying secret notions of celebrity.
Then the other thing is that was the last night I saw Sherlock. He died soon afterward, funny.....when I hit my minds rewind button, I don't remember much what the Dog Whisperer really looked like or what he was even wearing that night.I can't remember a single networking pitch I made.
But I can remember every tail wag, facial expression and kiss that Sherlock tossed at me.
There is nothing better than a loyal family.