The Washington Times-Herald


March 31, 2012

A column too manly to write

WASHINGTON — Not long ago, I actually had the pleasure of returning home from work before my wife was asleep.

She’s a very early-morning type of person. Usually waking at around 3 a.m., she goes to teach around 6 a.m. That means that by the time I arrive home at 10 or 11 p.m., she has said goodbye to the world many hours before.

But, on this evening, I arrived home early, and we thought a short conversation was in order to celebrate.

I told her I was soon responsible for a column on the editorial page, and wasn’t certain what to write about.

She offered an idea about our ‘family’ on the bed might be an interesting column, but I told her that didn’t sound all that manly.

We have had pets, two cats and a dog, but no children. And, in a sense, that’s how the conversation started.

Our last pet, a dog named Phoenix, died seven years ago. I found Phoenix at the area dump on the morning of a primary election. We already had two cats, but Alice was nice enough to let the new family member join the household.

Phoenix was so small, that her front and rear legs barely hung over my hand when I found her. We thought she would be a smaller dog. However, she turned out to be 82-pounds. The cats seldom wanted to sleep with us, but Phoenix was right there every night.

Alice was going to roll me over for snoring one night, but it was Phoenix making the sounds in her ear. Phoenix was left alone.

When she died, we both were feeling lonely with the cats having already perished.

On the eve of a that years Mother’s Day, I stopped at Wal-Mart in Vincennes on my way home. I found this purple Quick Draw McGraw figure that seemed to fit just right. Quick Draw became known as Squishie, and has resided on the bed since.

Next came Poochie Bear. Bear is a rather small creature that a former neighborhood dog we called “Poochie” brought to our yard. Bear seemed to need a home, so the family grew with some minor nursing repairs from Alice.

“Donke Quixete” followed. This creature has the ability to sing “Can’t Help Myself”. Joining the family as a Valentine’s Day gift from Alice, much appreciated I might add, Donke Quixete still will sing that old love song when we flip his switch.

Not to be outdone, I brought “Elephanta” home one night. Didn’t really have a particular reason. I was returning home again late at night and had made a shopping stop. I was walking from one end to the other when I noticed the stuffed animals, and Elephanta was sitting somewhat alone and in need of sweet friendship.

Being the cold-hearted, cruel, but yet kind, man that I am, I took him home.

This doesn’t include a pair of pillow pets that Alice recently received as a gift from students. “Mom” and “Baby” are the handles, I think. And that doesn’t include the other creatures, such as hamster we got when we purchased our last car and a variety of other critters that sit either here or there.

Some bears and elephants are almost as big as the real critters.

Well, we talked a bit about the possibilities of me writing such a piece for consumption. We talked for some time. But, I told her I couldn’t write that type of column. I have my manhood to protect.


Gregg is a sportswriter             and can be reached at

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