The Best Book Dedication Ever

From Steinbeck’s East of Eden ………

Dear Pat,

You came upon me carving some kind of little figure out of wood and you said, “Why don’t you make something for me?”

I asked you what you wanted, and you said, “A box.”

“What for?”

“To put things in.”

“What kind of things?”

“Whatever you have,” you said.

Well, here’s your box. Nearly everything I have is in it, and it is not full. Pain and excitement are in it, and feeling good or bad and evil thoughts and good thoughts- the pleasure of design and some despair and the indescribable joy of creation.

And on top of these are all the gratitude and love I have for you.

And still the box is not full.

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Danny and Mike

 

Danny and Mike
Danny and Mike

My friend died today. This is a story I wrote six months ago.

I reckon it’s high time I told you about my friend Mike. You’ve heard me mention him before, he of Mike and Beth fame. But now, I want to go into a little more detail concerning him.

However, before we discuss Mike, perhaps I should introduce myself to all you neophytes out there. Not that there are many. Everyone knows who Danny the Dog is, or at least they should by now. Oh yeah, there is also my hapless human Andrew. We live together on a boat. I keep him around for laughs. Now on to Mike.

Last night just after sunset, I’m reading the collected works of Friedrich Nietzsche and Andrew is playing with his yo-yo when the phone rings. Because it takes Andrew all of his brainpower to get the yo-yo back up, I decided to answer the phone.  Now, I understand human, but I cannot speak it. Something to do with my vocal cords or my tongue or something. I don’t really care because when I have something to say to a human, he or she understands me just fine.

Mike was on the phone and he was inviting me to a cookout, hamburgers. (My favorite next to hotdogs.) He didn’t mention anything about Andrew, so I woofed once into the phone. Mike knew what I meant and said, “Okay, just for you. You can bring him if you want, but if he gets drunk and falls in the water again, I’m not pulling him out this time!”

I can’t leave Andrew alone. One time I left him for just a few minutes to go and bark at a dog walking its human down MY street, and when I got back, Andrew had locked himself in the boat. He was pounding on the door and crying like a little girl. So I have to keep him on a short leash, so to speak.

Anyway, we get over to Mike and Beth’s boat and Andrew goes right to the bar, as usual. I situated myself right in the middle of the throng of humans to make sure I’m close by when the food comes out.

Beth came over, rubbed my head and gave me a kiss. I love Beth! Then everyone else welcomed me. Mike was inside getting the food ready to put on the grill. Nobody spoke to Andrew.

When Mike came out and saw me, he came right up to me and said, “Thanks for coming. And please see what you can do to keep Andrew from drinking all my booze tonight.”

Mike was holding a bowl of raw hamburger meat and when he saw me sniffing it, he dipped his hand in, came out with a big glob of meat and put it down on the dock for me to eat. Now, this is my only complaint about Mike. Who or what does he think I am? I’m Danny the Dog! I have a sophisticated palate; I’m a gourmand. I do not eat raw food! I don’t care if you call it steak tartare or sushi – I’m not eating it if it’s not cooked.

After Mike picking up the meat, putting it to my mouth, and me turning my head away a few times. Mike finally got the message.  He shrugged and told me he’d make a special hamburger just for me and asked how I wanted it cooked. Two woofs meant well done. And that’s how I got it. Mike sure makes great hamburgers. He puts a lot of stuff in them, but the ingredients are top secret. He won’t even trust me with the recipe.

Just one more thing. As Mike was mashing up the meat to make into patties, his next-door neighbor, Big Joe, put on some music and Mike started to do a little jig. Having no hands, I can’t clap, so I barked along with his dancing. Mike ain’t no Fred Astaire, and he ain’t no twinkle toes, but for a human he has a certain rhythm.

So that was my night out. Somehow, Andrew did not fall in the water and I got him home in one piece. As I was putting him to bed, I noticed he had the yo-yo in his hand. I gave him a questioning look. He told me he had tied the string too tight around his finger and couldn’t get it off. As I turned off the light, I looked at the poor fool; he was clutching his precious yo-yo to his bosom like it was a teddy bear.

Post Script: My friend Mike died today. For a human, you were quite okay. Good journeys, my friend.

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