Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Draw of Water

I live in a shining city on a hill, literally, Columbia, SC. The land falls off in nearly every direction so that from given locations, you can see the land and the incredible skies that lie above. For example, from my office window you can look over the low lying building across the street and see 20 miles to the northwest. That vista brings a sense of peace on busy, fast paced work days. As I leave the parking garage I find myself turning south along Assembly Street headed out to I-77 more often than not. That route is slightly longer than the other way home, which got me thinking; just why do I do that? It finally dawned on me that I could see out across several counties as I drive off the hill down towards the Congaree Swamp. The view between the buildings at the University is really spectacular. But there is something missing.

I was born in a city on the water, Jacksonville FL, where it is flat and the vistas are created by great bodies of water; fresh salt and in between. Water was as near as a mile or so in three directions from my parent’s home and my elementary school. We were bound by the Ortega River on the East and the Cedar River to the South and West. It used to be called Cedar Creek, which caused my Uncle John, who was from Montana, to quip; “What you call ‘cricks’ down here, we called rivers up there.” I guess someone listened to him because they changed the designation to river some years ago.

I would ask my uncle what “Big Sky” country was like since he was from Montana. His answer was interesting. He said he liked the big skies of Florida more. The reason eluded me until I moved inland away from the oceans, rivers and bays of my childhood; water is what was missing from my inland views! If you have ever experienced viewing a large river, a bay or even the ocean from a sunlit shore with the wind blowing overhead you know what I mean. I’ve seen my share of vistas from mountains and prairies. They are nice, but to me, water makes the scene!

Crossing a river or going to the beach wasn’t an everyday event until reaching my freshman year of high school. At that time, my route to and from school crossed one of the three bridges that spanned the St. John’s River at the time; The Alsop Bridge, The Acosta Bridge or the Fuller Warren Bridge. Each day the bus would climb the ramps over the bridge and we would all be treated to the sunlight glinting off the water below under the blue skies that were the norm, especially during the school months.

Rainy days were even more interesting. The clouds hung low in the sky, sometimes almost touching the superstructure of the older bridges that rose up majestically like some metallic tinker toy creation across the river from Downtown and the Westside over to the Southside where the school was located on the river’s shore. You could see the columns of rain splashing down on the green land and the rippling water between the shores. I often wondered what it would be like to be one of the ever-present seagulls flying between them and sometimes landing on the bridge to watch the traffic go by underneath.

As one got farther and farther from downtown and the busy port to the East, where the water was brackish and the tides more pronounced, one would encounter mud flats covered by sawgrass. If you were from Charleston you would call these areas “Pluff mud” but whether or not you were in Charleston or Jacksonville these tidal areas gave off a peculiar aroma. Growing up I was not too fond of the smell of sawgrass but these days I actually miss that smell.

I think my dislike of that aroma was another that was common around both Jacksonville and Charleston; that of pulp mills. All up and down the East Coast from the Carolinas to Florida there were vast expanses of pine forests that were harvested to make paper. The only way to describe the smell is to say that some actually preferred the odor from a skunk. Thank goodness that the technology has come along that has the capability of scrubbing the smoke from paper mills so that these days you can stand directly downwind of one of them and not smell it.

I love the neighborhood where I live today. It used to be on the edge of town but these days it is closer to downtown than it is to the rural countryside that was nearby. We are surrounded by beautiful 75 foot tall pine trees that keep the winds at bay in the winter and the house covered in shade in the summer. But I have no “Big Sky” view from my street.

So I was sitting here in my office/studio wondering what I was going to write about today when suddenly the thought of big sky vistas complete with sawgrass and Pluff mud came to mind. As much as I have enjoyed my reverie, I’m not sure where it came from. Hmmmm, it is possible it could have been one of the dogs. Oh MY!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

What was the name of that song again?

One of my favorite internet memes is one where a disk jockey is shown hard at work taking requests. He is saying something like “OK you want to hear a song, you can’t remember its name or who sings it! Ummm, I’ll get right on that for you!”

That one slays me every time I see it. As it does for everyone who has ever slung a disk on the radio or DJ’d an event. We all love our music even if we forget that “We’re caught in a trap” is really Elvis Presley’s “Suspicious Minds” of that “Faded Photographs” is “Traces” by the Classics IV.

The problem seems to be getting worse as my listeners and I get a little older. My memory has become like a steel trap; all stuck and rusty! When I was a young pup, I could immediately connect “The purpose of a man is to love a woman” with Wayne Fontana and the Mindbender’s “The Game of Love”. I must admit that there was the additional motivation of the young lady standing there in bobby socks and blue jeans waiting to hear her song. But today with a memory like a sieve I have to work harder at it. Usually I can get there by singing it to myself.

This works because usually the “remembered” title is either the first words of the song as in “Faded Photographs” or is from the song’s “hook” as in “We’re caught in a trap.” Singing it usually brings the singer or group into focus in my mind and that is half of the battle, because I can then type the artist’s name into the search feature of my playback software and when I see the list of songs he or she has recorded, I can pick the correct one from the list and add it to my queue. Unfortunately, the search engine provides for a search by artist or title only. If I don’t know either it won’t help.

Most of the time, I can get to the correct song immediately because like the two examples above a lot of folks remember their songs the same way. Another example of this is The Cowsills’ 1967 hit single "The Rain, The Park & Other Things" which is often requested as “I Love The Flower Girl” again remembered by a phrase from the hook.

A variant of this problem is when someone sends me a request via a written note that could be more than one song. “Stairway to Heaven” is a great example of this. It could be either Neil Sedaka’s 1960 song that peaked at number nine on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, or Led Zeppelin’s smash hit which was released in late 1971. The person who wrote the note is not longer around for me to ask which one, so it is now a guessing game. If I am clueless, I usually opt for the latter song. The method to the madness is if the person wanted the original one, they are aware of the later song and that lets me off the hook a little. Since there are 11 years between these two, the reverse is not always true.

In recent years more and more frequently after trying all my tricks I have to say “I got nuttin!” I’m completely stuck; it just won’t come to me. The fact that I’m still selecting songs and playing them doesn’t help either. The further I go the less likely I am to come up with the correct song. So there is a sense of urgency to figure it out quickly.

All is not lost, there is a last resort! The best engineering and scientific minds in our culture have put together something that works almost every time; the Internet! I just open a blank tab on my WWW browser and type in the phrase that was given to me and voila, “I Love the Flower Girl” comes back as “I Love the Flower Girl” but it also comes back as “The Rain, The Park and Other Things.” After smacking myself in the middle of the forehead I go find the song and load it into the queue. The older I get, the flatter my forehead is getting. Once in a great while, even the internet fails me and I write the song snippet down on a piece of paper. Usually in the middle of the night a couple days later, I’ll sit bolt upright in the bed and smack myself in the middle of the forehead because I just remembered the name of the song. Somehow that smack makes the song stick in my brain until morning.

One of my favorite sayings is that I wish I could empty my brain of all those old song lyrics so I would have room for something else. I say that but I don’t really mean it. There is nothing like the feeling of driving down the highway with a great oldie playing and singing along with it at the top of my lungs. It is a good thing that we have air conditioning and windows and that no one else can hear me sing in the key of “R”. “Oh give me the beat boys and free my soul, I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and drift away.” Oh MY!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Radio Promotions

It is that time of year! Last Thursday, a pair of groundhogs were hauled out of their nice warm dens into the early morning cold to predict the end of the winter. They came out with a split decision under decidedly suspicious circumstances. Up in Pennsylvania, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow under cloudy skies and predicted six more weeks of winter while down in Georgia, General Beauregard Lee did not see his under sunny skies and predicted an early spring. How did that happen? Well, they are rodents, not meteorologists. But they had the attention of the whole world and for a while, the Facebook and Twitter universes argued about something other than politics for a change.

Thinking about groundhogs, top hats and burrows reminded me of some of the radio and television promotions that used to pop up this time of year. “This is radio station WXYZ, home of the most accurate groundhog in the country!” and “Our groundhog can out-predict yours any day!” were just two that come to mind. The whole radio promotion idea can be found on the “I Thought Turkeys Could Fly” episode on the WKRP in Cincinnati TV sitcom. But just where did all of this craziness come from.

The answer was simple, after busiest time of the year; the Christmas Season, the station sales always ramp down with the after Christmas Sales then the President’s Day sales to the lowest point in the year. Instead of running 18 minutes of commercials per hour, then the limit placed on the stations by the FCC, sales would drop off to five or six total commercial minutes per hour. Most of these were the sponsors of the shows who bought packages that ran year round. The station copywriters began to twiddle their thumbs and get cabin fever.

Copywriters, by their nature were creative people who worked closely with the Sales Team, and now both of these groups had time on their hands. Ideas began to be bounced around as they sat in bull sessions and the radio and television promotions were the result. Besides there was a lot of surplus air time floating around.

These boredom – driven meetings resulted in some of the most creative local spot and promotional activity ever. A good example of this is the creation of “ChickenMan” a series of 60 to 90 second vignettes started at WCFL in Chicago that wound up being syndicated on many of the stations in larger markets in the county. This was something that the sales department could sink their teeth into. Sponsorship of “ChickenMan” the earnest, bumbling super hero spiked late winter, early spring sales figures for a couple of years. “ChickenMan” can still be heard daily on a couple of radio stations. Here is a link to a ChickenMan episode.

Medium and smaller markets could not afford the syndicated “Chicken Man” show resulting in many “Turkey Man” knockoffs. WCOS was one of those stations that did this. I can tell you that it was so much fun to produce. Woody, our program director was the genius behind our “Turkey Man” episodes that ran in 1969. Once a week, the entire on air staff would gather into the production room and surround the microphone in the middle of the floor. Woody would hand out the script and we would then roll tape and let it roll. Let it roll is a good euphemism for what happened next. The script was not complete but a loose story line. We would all then ad-lib our assigned character’s lines for the next minute and a half. The DJ with the deepest voice was always assigned the narrator’s role because at some point during the bit, he would always say “Weeelllllll, Turkey Man is in yet another fix!”

That same year, 1969, I was in Atlanta for a couple of months and got to hear one of the best “Turkey Man” promotions ever on WQXI, the big Quixie in Dixie. For months and months, they promoted that “Turkey Man was coming to WQXI.” There were lots of plot inserts and funny pieces inserted into these announcements. I noticed that these announcements carried a sponsorship. I thought that was a pretty cool way of extending sales on the series, so I made a note to share that with the sales team when I got back.

As it turns out, there was a reason that these pre series announcements were sponsored. I was fortunate enough to be back in Atlanta the Friday that WQXI finally ran the first episode of “Turkey Man” Luckily, it was in the morning drive time and I was able to listen to it live. The episode started off normally, the imbedded commercial ran, and then Turkey Man took off after the baddest of the bad guys. The biggest of fights ever on the radio ensued and at the end of it, Turkey Man lay unconscious on the floor. The deep voiced announcer came on and said “Weeeelllll, is this the end of Turkey Man?” A long pause ensued and then he said “Yes! This is end of Turkey Man, presented by the sponsor!” I was on the I-75/I-85 corridor near Georgia Tech just about to turn off at The Varsity on North Avenue, when all I could see was a sea of red brake lights in reaction to what everybody just heard. After the initial shock, I laughed all the way to my destination, the FCC Atlanta Field office where I was going to sit for my First Class Radiotelephone License. I smiled all the way through that exam. Now, that was local radio creativity at its best. By the way, I passed the exam on my first and only try. Oh MY!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Radio Remotes

According to Wikipedia; in broadcast engineering, a radio remote broadcast (usually just called a remote) is broadcasting done from a location away from a formal radio studio. According to me, a remote is a lot of blood sweat and tears and a whole lot of fun.

If you look at many pictures of radio control rooms, they are usually set in the middle of their facilities, windowless and dark, the kind of place where Venus Flytrap would feel right at home spinning tunes in the middle of the night. I must admit that my first two control rooms WUSC and WCOS were like that. It was possible to see an outside window from the air chair if you twisted and turned and looked real hard. But you could not see outside while actually announcing.

Left: A WUSC Patio Party Remote. My first experience doing a “remote” was at WUSC, when we dragged a cable across the hall and dropped it out a third floor window to the patio below. We had an audio board, two microphones and a pair of turntables sitting on a folding table and hooked up to that cable which was plugged into the master control console upstairs. What a rush it was feeling the spring air flow around you as we played records and talked live on the air with the students who were passing by. They would stop and sit in the chairs at the tables around us and listen. It became an almost daily impromptu event that we called the WUSC Patio Party. It was probably the best audience interaction I had ever in my career, because there were no barriers or buildings between us.

When I first started doing the overnight show “The All-night Satellite” on WCOS, the control room was completely sealed off from the outside. But a few months after I started, our engineer removed the covering over the window that was right in front of the board and we could see outside from right in front of the microphone. Wow, now I could see real time if it was raining when I gave the weather forecast at “15 and 45.” Still, it was not like being out there for real. I missed the remotes we did at WUSC, at that time I was not yet promoted to our nightly remote broadcast from a local drive in restaurant.

Then one Friday afternoon, our program director called me into the station early to let me know that I would be doing the “Satellite” from the showroom of a local car dealership that night. All I had there was a microphone, an audio board and a radio that I plugged into my headphones so I could hear. There was a control operator back in the studio who played the records and commercials and did the news on the top and bottom of each hour. It was a good thing that I knew the songs we were playing well because the first inkling of what song was playing was when I heard the first note. That was all I needed, if the instrumental intro was long enough, I would walk it right up and hit the post. You would think that there would not be anyone around in the middle of the night, but there was a steady stream of people there most of the night. The slowest hour was between 4 and 5 AM when there was only a handful of folks there. I would call the control room with their requests and of course, the control operator was taking requests from folks who called the station. That was a fun show but alas, it was a onetime event.

Left: Doug Broomes Restaurant on Main Street The next year my longest remote started. I was promoted to the evening show at that drive in restaurant I mentioned a while ago, “The Doug Broome’s Nightbeat Show!” This was one of the most popular shows on the station and was broadcast “remote” six nights a week from one of the two locations the restaurant chain operated. At the same time I was taking over the show, Doug decided to move the broadcast from the top of the roof of his location on Main and Confederate Streets to his new store on Two Notch Road near Beltline Boulevard. They built a 10’ by 15’ foot cinder block studio with three 4’ by 8’ glass windows right down on the parking lot where the first row of teletrays would have been.

This was “remote” heaven. Every night I would arrive at that little studio with an armful of records, commercials, jingles and the weather forecasts. I would flip on the power and arrange everything for the show. I would leave the microphone open until the newscast started at 5 minutes before the hour so that Mike, our news guy, could check to be sure the audio circuit between us was working. One of the car hops would show up at the back door to find out if I wanted something. I can tell you, I had a lot of “Big Joy” burgers, fries and cokes just before air time.

Then it was SHOWTIME and for the next 5 hours the tunes would roll out of that little studio on the parking lot into the night time air. All night long, I would answer knocks on the back door to meet the teenager anxiously standing there with a request and dedication written on a napkin or a page ripped from a notebook. I made some lifelong friends through those short conversations. Later in the evening, when things slowed down a little, I would stand in the empty door and listen to the sound of the song I was playing drifting across the night air from the speakers of the cars. We were all young and life was good. One last thought: to all of you who were on that back row in the cars with the fogged up windows, I could see what you were doing. Remotes! Oh MY!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Does anybody remember eight track tapes?

There was a moment in time between vinyl records and cassette tapes where our music came from eight track tapes. All of a sudden, they were everywhere; home, work and most importantly in our cars.

I was already familiar with cart tape technology, having used “carts” in radio the previous ten years at several radio stations. We played commercials, public service announcements, promos, jingles and eventually music off of carts. The difference was that broadcast carts contained only one audio track, and one queue track, to stop the endless tape loop at the beginning of the next commercial on the tape. Eight track tapes had no queue track. Instead the heads of the player would move vertically from one position to another to play the second through the fourth track. The one thing you had to do with both carts and eight tracks is to find the splice where the tail of the tape was attached to the head to form the loop. If you didn’t do that, you wound up with an audible “thump” in the middle of your recording. I even came up with a way to segue from one song to another so I would not have a blank space between songs.

My car did not come with an eight track player so I mounted one under the dash of my Ford LTD that connected to a pair of speakers in the rear window shelf. It took most of a Saturday to get it all wired in. The hardest part was finding a path from the dash to the speakers in the rear. The solution was to remove the covers on the rocker panels and run the cables through the frame of the car under the doors. Yes, my luck was bad; it was a four door car. I thought I’d never get the panels back on right and be able to close the doors again. But finally it was all done and my car was finally rocking the way it should be.

That covered the player, now I needed something to play on it. When eight track tapes were new, they were relatively expensive. So I replaced my old reel to reel tape with one that one that could record eight track tapes as well. I wound up with the Roberts version of the Akai X-1800SD Reel to Reel Cross Field Stereo Tape Player Recorder 8 Track. I have to tell you that I was in hog heaven. I spent hours dubbing my 33 1/3 RPM vinyl collection over to eight track and spent even more hours listening to them in the car driving to and from work.

There was a fly in the ointment; eight track tape cartridges and the machines that played them did not take kindly to being bounced across the many potholes and train tracks that inhabited the highways and byways that were the paths around town. The machines could get out of alignment and then I would be under the dash with screwdriver and wrench realigning the heads. Worse than the machines, sometimes a particularly bad bump would cause the tape to jump over the pinch roller included in each cart. When that happened, the tape would come to a grinding halt but not after several feet of tape were blown out into the mechanism of the player. After that happened a few times, I learned to make a copy of the cart onto reel to reel tape so I could make a new cart from the reel to reel copy instead of building it from scratch.

Alas, the writing was on the wall; eight track tapes were soon replaced in the mid ‘70s when the Advent Corporation introduced their Model 201 tape deck that combined Dolby type B noise reduction and chromium dioxide (CrO2) tape with a commercial-grade tape transport mechanism. We never did solve the problem of tape spilling out of the cartridge but at least now we could take a pencil and rewind the tape back into the cartridge and motor on. I do believe that more #2 pencils were used to rewind tape than to write on paper for a few years.

When my next car came equipped with a cassette tape in the radio, I finally gave up my eight track ways and bought a commercial grade cassette recorder for my component stereo system, remember them?!? My trusty Roberts then became a mixing source for the cassette recorders as well as a way of copying the few commercially made eight tracks that I had purchased to cassette.

I would be remiss in telling my story if I didn’t acknowledge that copying in analog meant a reduction in quality. I didn’t notice it much in the beginning but as tunes came out with higher and higher fidelity, I began to notice the difference. I have to hand it to digital technology that no matter how many digital copies of copies you make, it still has the same quality as the original recording. However, nothing had the warmth and richness of vinyl and to a slightly lesser extent, eight track carts. So in my memory, I can hear the throaty rumble of that LTD adding to the bass track of the Funk Brothers as I listen to that Motown eight track rolling down the highway. Oh MY!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

45 RPM Records

There was an internet meme floating around Facebook this week asking everyone to list the most influential albums of their teenage years. When I thought about it I realized that the answer was that there were none. By the time I left home for college I still had not bought my first album. That really blew my mind.

Lest you begin wondering if all my music came on Edison Cylinders, my record collection was all 7 inch 45 RPM records with the big hole in the middle. In fact, the first family record player was a 45 RPM RCA Victrola. When I was twelve, I was beginning to wear it out playing my Mom’s and Dad’s records; Vaughn Monroe, Frankie Laine, Perry Como, Doris Day and Bing Crosby were their favorites. I was listening to rock and roll on the radio but had not started my collection yet. That Christmas, they gave my brother and me our own record player and three 45’s; Elvis Pressley’s “Hound Dog”, The Everly Brothers’ “Wake Up Little Susie” and Buddy Knox’s “Party Doll”. To this day, I wonder if Mom and Dad knew what a “Party Doll” was, I didn’t until much later.

Those three records began my journey into ownership of a rock and roll music collection. I carried them in a box to all the dance parties and sock hops through grade and high school. There were 33 1/3 RPM albums around but I didn’t own any. By time I left for college, the collection was too bulky to carry along with me. All I brought with me was two suitcases full of clothes. Trust me – when I am on campus on freshman move in day, I always wonder how I survived with just those two suitcases.

There was a guy on my dormitory hall with a radio and he played it loud enough for most of us who didn’t have radios to enjoy. During the day, he played music from WNOK and WCOS radio. At night he played shows from WUSC, all AM stations. One evening as we were hanging out I found out that he was the student station manager for WUSC. I had never heard him on the air because his radio was off when he was at the station broadcasting. When I expressed my interest, he invited me to come down to the station. That turned out to be a pivotal moment in my life; the dawn of my broadcasting career.

WUSC had two control rooms and a news booth full of equipment that sported lots of knobs and dials and six turntables between them; three in the On Air Master Control and three in the production room. The path between them took you through the music library. My first glance of the library left me wide eyed and slack jawed. Two of the walls were lined with shelves 12 feet wide and 7 feet tall. These shelves had bins and bins stacked full of 33 1/3 RPM albums. There was the unmistakable fragrance of vinyl filling the room. Normally you could smell that only when playing records. But there were so many records in there, that wonderful smell was always present.

So, it could be said that my first album collection contained around 5,000 disks. I never did get a chance to play all of them, but I spent many a happy hour trying to. Since the station was off the air most of the day, going on around 4:30 PM and off at 1:30 AM, I was able to spend time studying during the middle of the day in the master control room while listening to an album or two. The production room was occupied during that time by the DJ’s who were on the Night Owl show (11:00 PM – 1:00 AM) recording their shows. That library is mostly CDs these days but there is still a significant vinyl selection.

When I transitioned from WUSC to commercial radio and television in ’65, my first gig was at WCOS (’65 through late December ’69) where all the music was on 45 RPM singles. We had the Top 60 in Dixie (later the top 40) set on top of the old Western Electric audio console in a wire rack. There was a stack of about 10 – 15 “Up and Comers” in the control room and another stack of “Solid Gold Oldies” on the edge of the desk. It didn’t take long for me to memorize the approximate rank of each song on the top 40, because we would have to find that song very fast during “Instant 60 Requests.” We would locate the record, grab it by the edge and center hole, slap it onto the rotating turntable, find the first note of the song, slip que it and hold onto the edge of the record all the while talking to the person requesting the song on the air. I can tell you, there was little as satisfying as executing that instant request live. What a rush. I got as much out of it as the person calling in on the request line. You know what! I still do today!

So, how did I respond to that meme on Facebook. “The most influential albums of my teenage years... were all 45 RPM singles. And there were far more than 10.“ That about sums it up. Oh MY!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Welcome Home Darcy

I bet you were wondering if I had “retired” from this blog after posting my last entry titled “Retirement Nevahh!” Seems like life got in the way; Christmas, New Years and a shuffle in the menagerie. On December 30th Dixie, our 15 and ½ year old lab mix crossed over the rainbow bridge and on January 7th Darcy, a 9 year old German Shepherd mix came to live here and keep Chester from being too lonely.

So things are in a bit of an uproar as the dogs figure all this out between themselves. The cats already have worked it out. They are disgusted with the whole thing. They are against the new world order. Patty was caught talking to a picture of R2D2 saying “Help me Obi Wan, you’re my only hope.” So, if you see any storm troopers in the neighborhood, I would appreciate the “heads up.”

I was wondering if the addition of Darcy would change anything in the behavior of our special needs doggy, Chester the wild man of all Catahoulas. I think that Chester believes that I am some sort of wayward steer that needs herding. If I am outside, he will bark and run around until I go back into the house. And if I am inside within the “danger zone” between the back door and the living room, he will try to herd me into my easy chair. Unless I have food in my hands; then I can go anywhere and do anything, as long as he gets his cut.

Not surprisingly, food seems to be the flash point between the two dogs. Their only cross moments seems to be when food is in play. Hopefully, making sure there is distance and maybe a barrier between them at feeding time will resolve the issue. Another couple of weeks or so and this transition will be complete.

One of the things that I missed the most when Dixie passed was being greeted at the door when I came home. Greeting is just not Chester’s thing. He just wants me to settle down in that easy chair. Yes – I know my place. Darcy however has taken Dixie’s place with wet kisses and a flurry of hair right at the threshold of the house. Another similarity between Darcy and Dixie is they are both double coated with tufts of hair all over the place. That’s gonna make my veterinarian happy. She got so much pleasure out of pulling the tufts off of Dixie on her visits. Dixie accommodated that by sprouting new tufts every time we headed to the veterinary office, even if we brushed her out good before leaving. Hopefully Darcy will be just as helpful. Oh, the poor vacuum cleaner is getting no respite at all, just more work.

We have always adopted rescue dogs and cats instead of purebreds. I think mutts generally have better personalities and appreciate a home more. We also usually adopt older animals as well. Sometimes I feel it is a pup’s or kitty’s last shot at a forever home. The good thing is that they are usually spayed or neutered and house trained by the time they arrive here. That’s a good thing.

The biggest surprise from Darcy is her energy. She gets around pretty good for a dog that will be 10 in a month or so. Comparing her to Dixie is like comparing a Jaguar XK-E to a garbage truck. Her energy has transferred over to Chester who is again living up to his “wild man” status. Come to think of it, her energy has transferred over to me too. My FitBit thinks that I’ve lost it somewhere and that it was found by a marathon runner.

I have to be honest here. I’m not wearing rose colored glasses. I know that older dogs present health issues sooner. In fact, a trip to the vet is coming sooner rather than later as we already have some minor issues to deal with. But when I look into those happy eyes so full of joy and gratitude in her new home, it is all worth it. Oh MY!