It’s May of 1987. I’m in my mid-teens. I’m in my room. I lie in my bed. The door is shut. The lights are out. I’m not surly. I’m not dreaming of a girl. I simply want to be alone. To focus.
I can’t take my eyes off of my 13-inch t.v. On the screen is the Stanley Cup. And the Philadelphia Flyers are facing the Edmonton Oilers.
The Flyers are a talented team. They were in the Stanley Cup two years before and have won their division multiple years in a row. They have great players including Kerr (who is injured and unable to play during the Stanley Cup series), Propp, Poulin, Tocchett. Howe, Marsh, McCrimmon, Sutter (my favorite player whose jersey I’m wearing), and Hextall.
And then there’s the Oilers. They’ve won the cup two of the last three years (and will go on to win a few more). Their star players include Gretzky, Messier, Kurri, Coffey, Anderson, and Fuhr. Each of these players would eventually be made a member of the NHL Hall of Fame (only Howe made it for the Flyers).
*Happy New Year.
January 1 seems like a while ago already. Doesn’t it?
Think hard and remember those resolutions, ideals, goals, objectives, etc. This was the year you promised to put in the effort.
To make a change, whatever that change may be, is hard. Challenges will arise. Frustration will come. Days will arise where you just don’t feel like doing what you proposed to do. The willpower will not be there.
The dog, Pearl, a pitbull, licked SJ’s pant leg. SJ’s eyes met Pearl’s, and a moment later, the dog wandered off. SJ went back to playing as if nothing had occurred.
This innocuous moment was a long time in the making.
This year before my family and I became dog owners. BR, SJ’s older brother, loves dogs. For three years, he begged my wife and I to get a dog. While both my wife and I like dogs (she had one growing up), neither of us wanted one (I was more interested in being a grandparent to a dog. Less obligations.).
Yet, we cracked.
Her name is Leila, and she’s a rescue. A mixed breed of Shitzu and Bull Terrior, Leila is 12 pounds. She has white fur with a brown spot near her butt and black fur mixed in on her ear.
She looks sweet. People walked up to her expecting her to be friendly. But she’s a barker. We learned this early.
A few days after we get Leila, SJ was talking to my wife, “I didn’t ask for this.”
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He wanted me to say it was okay. But I wouldn’t.
I could have insisted. But I didn’t.
It was just less than two weeks till Thanksgiving. I was driving the boys to school, and I broached the topic.
Since BR was six years old, we have had the tradition to go to Manhattan on Thanksgiving to see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. SJ had been an attendee of the parade since he was seven.
In 2016, when he turned twelve, BR decided he was not interested in going to the parade. At the time, I was surprised. Disappointed. Hurt.
But a year had passed. And while I asked the question of ‘do you want to go to the parade?’, I was sure I knew the answer. I just hoped that SJ would also not answer in the negative.
However, both boys said yes. And quickly. I was excited.