Guy Ellis

A farewell to arms

I figure this will probably be my last installment of Calculated dishevelment for a while. The sports season is really starting to pick up pace and I’m afraid it is going to occupy the majority of my work-time.

Besides that, I kind of feel that my columns are getting a little stale and a break will probably do everyone some good.

Basically my columns can usually be broken down into one of three subjects: 1.) The wacky adventures of my family and our pets, 2.) I like coffee, and 3.) Everyone needs to try to make it to the Ridgerunner sporting events.

That third sentiment is especially true this weekend as there is a host of GHS sporting activities planned. The football team opens their season tonight at McDonald County and the Lady Red softball team will be busy all weekend with their annual Grand Lake Classic.

I’ve always maintained, and still do, that a body will have more fun at a GHS sporting event than anything the TV or movies could offer.

I’ve discovered that writing a column is an ordeal of two stages. The first few columns come quick and easy. But after that, at least in my experience, a writer begins to run out of ideas and schemes to make the piece compelling.

Last weekend I was fortunate enough to get a chance to travel back home for an all-too brief visit. With football season beginning my weekends are going to be booked for the next ten weeks at least, and hopefully longer.

The visit turned out to be timely because during the stay my grandparents beloved dachshund, Rudy, passed away. The loss didn’t come as a complete shock to his masters; he had been under the weather for some time and the vet had said the end was coming pretty quick.

You don’t have to possess a degree in family studies or gerontology to understand that when an 83-year-old man loses his companion of some 15 years that the impact could be severe. My grandmother has always been strong, at least outwardly, but it was tough to see my grandfather, Big L we call him, upset.

Still, he handled the situation a lot better than I had always imagined he would. The family gathered at his house and a cousin and I dug a grave in a section of the flowerbed that Rudy always used to dig in. My grandparents have erected a small, engraved tombstone this week.

I received a new-fangled cell phone a few weeks ago that has the capability of holding my entire MP3 collection. It also has a speaker option. As we were filling Rudy’s grave I contemplated playing an old Hee-Haw Gospel Quartet song with my phone. Something like “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder” or “Shall We Gather at the River.” In the end I decided against it because I was afraid it might come off as disrespectful.

I still don’t know how I ever managed to get the Hee-Haw Gospel Quartet in my song collection, but there they are, with Grandpa Jones leading the way.

Rudy had a great life.

He actually began his time on earth with my brother. A neighbor of his had found a stray weenie-dog pup roaming the neighborhood. My brother heard about it and agreed to take the dog in.

He was named Rudy after the title character in the Notre Dame football movie, “Rudy.”

Shortly after Rudy moved in circumstances arose in my brother’s life that precluded keeping a dog. He asked our grandparents if they would keep Rudy for a “little while” until he could take him back.

My grandparents grudgingly agreed, as long as it was just for a “little while.” That was 15 years ago and the rest is history.

Rudy soon became the master of the house and the center of most of the activity. Everyone that knew Rudy always said that his move to Big L’s was like “going from the outhouse to the penthouse.”

One family member quipped, in all seriousness, “That dog ate more steak than I did.”

Down at my grandparent’s business the manager had worked it out that Rudy was probably first in line as far as the inheritance stakes went.

So Rudy has passed but he lived a great life and he died fat and happy surrounded by his loved ones in his home. And that’s not a bad bargain for the inevitability that awaits all of us.