Lichet’s Eulogy.

My Final Photo of Lichet

My final photo of Lichet, taken on Christmas Day, 2016.

I’ve heard it said people become a lot like their dogs.

I’d be very blessed if I’ve become anything like Lichet was.

What do you say about a dog like Lichet? What do you say about one who you watched, starting as a junior in High-School, grow from a fresh-out-of-the-womb puppy into a mature, dominate dog who basically ran the home she lived in? About a dog you once held for an evening and prayed over as she, still an infant, fought Parvo?

What do you say about a dog who lived, and taught you how to?

That’s where I’m at this morning as I remember Lichet.

In recent years I only saw her a couple of weeks each annum, but like a typical dog, her love never wavered. She lived on my parents’ goat farm, surrounded by dogs and cats and animals. She was a beautiful criminal with the coat of a Labrador (her father was part Lab, part Beagle) and the brain of a Jack Russell Terrier, a breed the American Kennel Club calls “Intelligent beyond measure.” She was an escape artist who on multiple occasions, usually while in heat, got arrested by animal control after getting out, running down the street, and biting someone. She would lead the dogs as they barked at any poor soul who turned onto their driveway, God forbid they actually enter through the gate and onto the property.

Except me. She never barked when my truck pulled in. On multiple occasions I surprised my mom by entering the yard and walking in without setting the dogs off. She may have come from brilliant stock, but my mom and I were ever-amazed at how Lichet could recognize my truck’s specific sound even from inside the house and often underneath multiple blankets, which she was fond of burrowing into, versus even my step-dad’s car, which she barked at without restraint. She loved me like a good dog always loves the boy who raises them. I wish I’d been there more for her.

She also loved walks. When she was first born, I would take her on mile-long walks around Burnside Loop on Fort Riley. She resisted the leash at first, as I believe most dogs do, but within a couple of weeks had learned to love it. From that point on nobody, stranger or family member, could ever grab a leash in her presence or say the word “walk” to her without her getting excited, even after I moved out and my parents moved onto a road with no sidewalks on which you could take a dog.

This ultimately led to her demise. I’m told that one day in April she got out and ran down the road as she so often did despite my parents’ best efforts to curtail her, and was hit by a passing car.

Lichet was the best of what I aspire to be. Nearly 14 years old at her passing, she came into my life as a puppy when I was in my late teenage years and grew parallel to me into a confident, powerful animal, a protective mom then grandma who never backed down and was never intimidated. Not by bigger animals, not by other dogs, and certainly not by people. She spent her final days looking after my decade-younger brother through some of his toughest times, but her legacy is the way she looked after me through some of mine.

I learned of her death on Mother’s Day 2017.

It’s with great sadness that I write about her today.

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Misc Musings: The Right To Growth

Growth sometimes means changing your mind about something you were once certain of.

It can mean doing things you once swore you wouldn’t, because sometimes you don’t know everything, and sometimes, even and perhaps especially in adulthood, you learn things. This is both Biblical: “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me,” (1st Corinthians 13:11), and common sense. Yet I was caught completely off-guard not long ago by someone’s apparent disagreement with me on this, so much so that I had to take a few weeks and digest what she said and make sure I was confident in what I believed.

In this conversation, I told the person about something I was learning about Love, and how it was causing me to reconsider some of my previous beliefs and/or approaches to it. I received haunting criticism for it. She felt I was “going back” or “backpedaling.” She apparently saw it as a sign of immaturity.
But today I write to make a definite statement in my own defense, to aggresively and forcefully make a proclamation I’m willing to vigorously debate with anyone:

We must preserve our right as individuals to change our minds.

We must preserve the right to adapt our thinking and if necessary change our circumstances or our course. Failing to protect our right to change our mind also in effect yields our right to continue to grow, even as adults. Obviously I mean within the limits of the law, I.E. if you sign a contract of some kind you’re giving up your right to change your mind per the wording of that particular contract. What I am speaking of today is simply in circumstances regarding relationships and things of that nature, where only the laws of ethical conduct apply.

In my suspicion, adulthood is when we do most of our mental growing, making it all the more vital we preserve our rights to change our minds into and through the later portion of our lives.

We must never stop growing, reconsidering things, reanalyzing. It dishonors our existence if we allow ourselves and our ideas to stagnate. We must never, ever be so confident in our beliefs that we never are willing to reconsider them. We must, under all circumstances, continue to seek wisdom, continue to strive for perfection, and aspire to excellence.

I refuse to see changing one’s mind as a sign of immaturity. But if it is, I should think it better to be considered “immature” anyway.

Growing Up, If Only A Little

I heard the ice break outside my window. I laid up in bed and watched out the window as one hooded figure about 5 feet tall slid carefully across the ice on the sidewalk across the street. It halted at the corner, and another figure of similar height and description approached from another direction to meet them.

I watched intently. On a foggy Manhattan morning in which the city actually received its first rain of the year, I wondered if I was about to watch some kind of drug deal go down or something. Here were these two hooded figures having a conversation at length and meeting on a dimly lit street corner at 7:00 A.m. on a Friday. I wondered also, should this be some kind of drug deal, if I was signing my death certificate, as I made no attempt to hide my face. Still, having wondered this, I figured any damage or damnation was already done, and I thus continued to watch.

After about five minutes of doing this I laid back down, my curiosity satisfied after seeing nothing. Then, after about 3 minutes of daydreaming, I heard what sounded like a big truck come to a stop. I looked up, and saw a school bus. And I laughed. 🙂

When my little brother came out to visit just before the end of 2013, I had a conversation with him. At 13 years old, he told me he didn’t want to grow up because it sounded like it sucked; with bills and job commitments and that kind of thing. At the time, I tried my best to explain to him that actually it was quite worth it. There was the freedom to do whatever you wanted if you could find a way to afford it (and so long as it was legal, which I feel goes without saying), there was the freedom to choose how hard to work and how far to go with what work you did and the freedom to choose where you worked at all. There was the freedom to not stress about anything when you didn’t want to, to wake up when you wanted to (based on your other commitments of course), and the freedom to decide HOW you wanted to live. To decide to rent a place, buy a place, and to decorate or make it whatever you wanted based on that, and who to live with or whether or not to live alone. The option to choose when to go drive, where to go drive, and what to go do on your drive. For all the hassles that adult life may have and cause, I tried to explain to him that it’s completely and wonderfully worth it.

But as I laid down in bed, having seen that school bus pick up those two kids and turn down the road toward the local elementary school, I realized that all the reasons in the world were irrelevant compared to this feeling. I laid down in my queen sized bed, checked my phone, and basked in the comfort of how soft it was. I had chosen it, and I had chosen well. Getting to simply feel happy as I lay there and daydream, about winning a poetry contest or taking the girl of my dreams out on a date, was the only reason I needed to be glad I’d grown up a little.

I wish I could have just imparted that feeling upon him…

Thanks for reading…