Ross Mackenzie is my newspaper hero, editor of my hometown Richmond Times-Dispatch during my growing-up years ... a media person I admired because of his writing ... and one I admired because of his conservative leanings in a sea of liberalism. I met him for the first time in 2005 while attending the TD Correspondents Day luncheon and it was a great honor ... this man with his reading glasses parked on his forehead, crisp dress shirt and bow tie ... and what a wordsmith. His knowledge of the English language is beyond just about any I've seen in anyone else.
In today's TD he wrote "... And, as I Write, the Memory Is Very Sweet" ... a loving remembrance of his long-time yellow lab companion, Freedom. His words are hauntingly sweet, the mental pictures he paints are vivid of Freedom as a pup, as a full-grown dog, and then an aging shadow of his former self.
I am not a warm-fuzzy when it comes to animals but I read every word of Mr. Mackenzie's tribute to his friend. When I reached the final part, my eyes brimmed with tears:
The night before, hardly able to walk, he and I went up to the field and shared a beer under a full moon. We pledged and cried, fortifying as best we could for what was to come.Even typing it brings tears to my eyes again.
The next day his foreleg took the anaesthesia, she and I holding him. He licked once more to taste my hand, then dropped his head upon his paws and -- his spirit having flown -- turned to dust.
Free at last.
Everyone should be so lucky as to have their own Freedom. Thanks for sharing the sweet memories, Mr. Mackenzie.