Ari Dane

Ari Dane

Ari Dane

Ari Dane

Is Your Name On My List?

To Receive Ari's email Missives

The Jerry Cole Tribute Show 

The Jerry Cole Tribute Show and how I came to be there: I just posted the video of my performance at the Jerry Cole memorial show which was held at the LA Baked Potato a few months ago and it’s placed me in a reflective, stream- of-conscious state of tumbling memories. My stand-up and lyrical improvisation can be seen on the video and although technically the sound leaves more than a bit to be desired, if you listen close (ear phones help), you’ll get the idea and should enjoy the show. Performing is one thing…what got me to the point of being there is another. Being there to honor the memory of my friend was a long road and I’d like to share a few of the highlights of the trip. For me to do that…we have to step into a flash back mode… Once upon a time… Janet (my wife) and I were living in Las Vegas. One night in 1978 I was invited by my friend Cork Proctor, one of my comedic idols, to accompany him to the MGM Grand to catch a singer and comedian by the name of Donnie Brooks…Ah…excuse me… I must digress…I told you this was “stream of conscious”… I said Cork was one of my “comedic idols”. He still is. To see him on stage when he’s on a roll is a thing to behold…It’s not that he doesn’t have tons of set material…he does…but he rarely uses it. He doesn’t need to. Not when he can walk out on stage, have something catch his attention that sparks something within his vast store of eclectic knowledge and then… watch out! Instant killer routine. I was performing in downtown Las Vegas at the Four Queens one night and as usual was closing with my signature improvisation. I had already thanked the band and was about to wrap up my show when from out of the darkness a huge moth flew across the stage and my face. I reacted by plucking it out of the air in mid-flight. Trust me. No one was more astonished than was I. Hmm…OK…so there I was in front of all those people with a huge moth in my hand. What to do? Well…the band was still playing so I improvised a lyric something to the effect of, “Everyone and thing should be free.” I released the moth into the light… it took flight… and…when I tell you that the crowd erupted with a spontaneous burst of applause and a cheering standing ovation that still echoes and reverberates to this very day…cross my heart…and hope to…and as I made my way off stage and floated into the club… feeling oh, so smug and full of myself for having created this…this...incredibly magnificent and magical theatrical moment out of a chance encounter with a wayward moth…when… I was confronted by Cork…who put his hands on my shoulders…looked me dead in the eye… and said… ”I can’t stand a guy who uses fucking props!” Anyway, Cork told me he had heard a lot of good things about this guy Donnie Brooks and…wow…talk about living up to a rep! Donnie put on a dynamite show. Not only was he a great singer who did all his hits like “Mission Bell” and “Doll House”, but he was also funny as hell. He knew every classic joke that ever was and had a great sense of play and timing and without question he was one of the most confidant and out going performers I ever had the pleasure of knowing. We became immediate and fast friends. The stories I could tell you about Donnie could literally fill a book. (But since this is a “blog” and not a “book” I’ll try to marshal my thoughts.) He was one of those larger than life characters and just the act of writing this sentence unleashes a flood of recollection…we shared road trips, countless shows, nights of black jack, laughter and… a few fights (the most memorable in the main room at Bally’s with a few drunks after a Mac Davis show) and…hell…you get the idea…we were tight… It was through Donnie that I first met (among so many others) Jerry Cole and one other great talent…Al Wilson. Al was one of those performers who just never, ever missed. He was nothing if not a perfectionist and it showed in every aspect of his work. From the individualistic sound of his voice to his great choice of material to the way he dressed and carried himself. Al was text book showbiz and the kind of act that others in the business could look up to as an example of what to do right on stage. At one point in the late eighties or early nineties (It’s late and I’d have to look it up), Donnie hired me to write scripts for two shows. The first was at Bally’s and was called “The 30th Anniversary of Rock n’ Roll”. It was pretty much a straight ahead variety show with Donnie as the MC/host and a cast of r&r acts like Mitch Ryder & Leslie Gore & the Tokens & the Rivingtons & Bobby Day and of course...Al Wilson The second was at the Las Vegas Hilton and was called “The Super Hop.” This one was an entirely different matter. “Super Hop” was a full blown musical comedy with a terrific band and dancers and it had a ”Back to the Future” kind of feel. What a cast! Brandon Scott played the part of a guy who puts a coin in a slot machine, wins a T Bird only to discover that the “T” stands for Time machine” and is transported back to a malt shop in the Fifties where, with the help of the owner played by Al and a spinning magic juke box, he meets his all time favorite rock ‘n roll stars like Donnie Brooks, The Diamonds, The Chordettes, and Wolf Man Jack… When Al first saw the script he got real nervous and said he wasn’t sure if he could pull it off…I told him, “Get over it. You’re perfect. Just do it.”…man…the first day of rehearsal rolled around…Al walked in…not only did he know his own lines…he had memorized the ENTIRE script! Like I said…the guy was a perfectionist and the show was a hit. Jerry Cole was the musical conductor for both productions as well as the oh, so, many shows that he and Donnie and Al and me along with so many talented others played in almost every venue you can think of. From trade clubs to conventions and private dinners and parties and arenas and stadiums and theaters to Fairs and bars and clubs and main-rooms in Las Vegas and Reno…Jerry provided the musical glue that held it all together. He was a superb musician and guitarist who was proficient and comfortable playing in every style imaginable with credits for his recording dates reading like a Who’s Who in Showbiz…from Nancy Sinatra to the Beach Boys to Roger Miller to a ton of surf records as well as being the musical director for the TV show, “Hullabaloo” and…hell… do yourself a favor and “Google” this guy and see what you come up with…a lot! Matter of fact, while you’re at it…look up Donnie Brooks and Al Wilson, too…there are worse legacies to leave than music that makes you feel good! During the time I knew Jerry, I had a fair amount of work writing special material for corporate-world clients like Mobil Oil and Prudential Bache and Lipton and BMW, etc. and there were occasions, when budget would permit, I would hire him to help produce these various recording projects. The way it worked was… I would write the songs and then play them for Jerry. Now, I’ve been playing guitar since I was seven years old and…with all due modesty…I ain’t that bad…and Jerry would listen…take my guitar…immediately play it back with his vast improvements and technique…smile…and say…”Is that what you meant?” Yeah, Jerry…that’s what I meant. And I mean this too…guys like you and Donnie and Al were very special people. Thanks for the friendship. Thanks for the laughter. Thanks for the music. Ari Dane




©Ari Dane 2004

                                    Eleven o'clock on a cold Valentine's Day night.  Time to hang it up and crawl into the preheated comfort of our electric blanket, perchance to dream and then, "That was our last cigarette..." 

                                    Hmm, one more reason to quit. I put my Valentine's card where my mouth was and silently bemoaned the fact I didn't have another trick up my sleeve like the last time she announced I could either go to the store or clean the barbeque grill (an odious task she knows I particularly hold in disdain) and...hee, hee, hee...boy, was she surprised when I opted to clean the grill because, as I later revealed...hee, hee, hee...I had already cleaned it the day before...hee, hee, hee.  But, alas, I was out of maneuvers in this particular game of marital chess and, what the hell, since it was Valentine's Day, I re-dressed, braved the night, started humming "Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette", drove the few blocks to the Chevron station and pulled up, not next to the pumps, but rather in front of that small cinder block, bunker-looking building of last resort euphemistically referred to as a mini-mart, turned off the ignition and eased out between the door and the ten-feet-tall display of leftover wilting bouquets, candy, cards, banners with pictures of hearts and Cupids, and dozens of purple and red balloons all proclaiming “Happy Valentine's Day!”

                                    Considering the hour and amount of available merchandise, I assumed this particular attempt to cash in on the holiday spirit had not been what you might term a resounding success.  Then again, what do I know?  Maybe it was their second or third batch. After all, it was Valentine's Day and, according to rumor, there's an awful lot of romantic people in Burbank.

                                    I took my place at the end of the line of waiting customers, stood witness to and was duly impressed with the be-turbaned and thickly-accented East Indian clerk as he handled each transaction in a polite, smooth and efficient manner, attending to change, receipts, and punching in the appropriate instructions to the pumps outside, all within what seemed but a scant moment: a good- looking African-American fellow dressed in a shiny double breasted suit, black turtle neck sweater, shaved head, gold earring, and movie star sunglasses plunked down twenty dollars for fossil fuel, turned to leave then quickly spun around, produced another five dollar bill and purchased a pack of Juicy Fruit gum; a young mother in torn jeans, old sweatshirt, hair in curlers, and two cranky little kids in tow purchased fifteen dollars worth of gas, Snickers, Mounds, Mars candy bars and a six-pack of Pepsi (no wonder the kids were cranky!); a biker used his credit card to fill his Harley; and yet another guy, obviously on a frantic last minute mission to impress some young, waiting object of his fancy, with an armful of flowers, candy, cards, and purple and red balloons all of which proclaimed "Happy Valentine's Day” from the aforementioned display. 


                                    As his last Valentine's Day sated customer headed out the door, the clerk turned his attention to me.  I placed my money on the counter and said, "I'll take three packs of Kent Kings, please."

                                    He reached up to the shelf above his turban, filled my order, rang up the purchase, handed over the sack and change and apologetically said, "Here you are, sir, I am most sorry for the delay."

                                    "No problem and, by the way, I must compliment you.  That was terrific the way you handled all those transactions.  Most people can't deal with that much information.  I was watching.  You didn't miss a beat."

                                    With that, he stepped from behind the counter and accompanied me the few feet to the door where, in full view of the Valentine's Day display, he replied in his sing-song accent, "Oh, yes.  I have always taken pride in the fact that I can deal with many things at the same time.  Many, many things.  Sometimes, ten, twelve, thirteen, fourteen different things.  I keep track of them all.  I always pay attention.  I always pay attention."

                                    I made my way around the wilting bouquets, candy, cards, banners with pictures of hearts and Cupids, and dozens of purple and red balloons all proclaiming “Happy Valentine's Day” to my car and said, "I thought you did really great.  Have a good night."

                                    And that’s when he smiled, waved farewell and called after me, "You, too, sir!  Happy Halloween!"

A Toast to Ocho! 



By Ari Dane

Did I know the man well?

Not in number of years

Still, well enough to share laughter and tears

We’d toast glass of wine

Swap some lies and some truth

With a twinkle in eye he’d spin tales of his youth


Impeccably dressed

The man was all class

Musicians might say,

 “That cat is a gas!”



None of us knows

What lies 'round the bend

 Today we miss Ocho

  We all miss our friend


How he loved that Jag!

He’d polish and shine

I’d always joke:

 “When you’re finished, do mine!”

Nuthin’ it seemed the guy couldn’t fix

With somethin’ he’d pull out of his bag of tricks



None of us knows what lies 'round the bend

 Today we miss Ocho

  We all miss our friend


Did I know the man well?

Not in number of years

Still, well enough to share laughter and tears



None of us knows what lies 'round the bend

 Today we miss Ocho

  We all miss our friend 

"Occult" for Halloween 



Happy Halloween my little (and not so little) creatures of the


© Ari Dane 2007

 I’ve never seen a ghost

or got a message from the dead

I’ve never seen the future

when the Tarot cards were read

I’ve gone through life undaunted

Never haunted in my sleep

Never battled with a demon

or heard a banshee wail and weep


I’ve never met a ghoul

who was wracked with the desire

to suck upon my neck

like the Dracula vampire

I’ve yet to meet a witch

who might fill my heart with fright

or a man who changes to a wolf

when the full moon’s shining bright


Tho Edgar Allen Poe’s

my favorite bed time story

I’ve never witnessed anything

so bloody or so gory


I’ve never known the horror

or experienced the chill

of a Phantom of the Opera

or a house like Amityville

I’ve never known a mummy

or an ancient voodoo curse

“Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble”

is just a nonsense verse


I’ve never seen a poltergeist

who’s presence made me shrink

The only spirits I have known

came in a good stiff drink


Houdini hasn’t called me

neither has my uncle Fred

They’re either much too busy

or, when you’re dead,

you’re dead


It’s hard for me to buy these tales

My life is undramatic

I write my words deliberately

They’re never automatic...


just in case these guys are right

Those who claim that they’ve been through it

If the I.R.S. should audit me...

I’ll say,

the devil made me do it!


Who killed the Ballona Creek ROCK PEOPLE? 


Who killed the Ballona Creek ROCK PEOPLE?


Not those kind of guitar slingin' Rock People who write Rock Operas...

I mean, we're talking real rocks here!



I alternate my daily walks between Dotweiler Beach and Ballona Creek.

Joggers, cyclists, fishermen from the bridge spanning the Creek, low swooping pelicans, seals and sea lions following the sport fishing boats in and out of the adjacent Marina Channel are all part of the scene...





As has oft been said, "People sure do a lot of strange stuff"...One day in mid-walk I noticed something different. Someone or ones had, at the creeks' rocky edge, gone to an awful lot of trouble to place several rocks on top of each other to create a sort of crude yet natural sculpture. Not once. Dozens of times. 


 The effect was pretty cool  and over the next few months I was kinda' tickled and amused to see the prolifiration of the Ballona Creek ROCK PEOPLE as they stretched for several thousand yards up the length of the creek. In a city where the usual public expression of art is to spray paint something, what a nice change of pace to see folks spontaneously get into a fun,and playfull simple artistic expression.

I even told myself little stories as I passed by them: How at night, when nobody was looking, they could walk and dance and make cold, icy love and that's where all the little pebbles came from...and...yesterday... when I was on my walk...

Oh, No!!!... This just can't be!!! ...They were knocked down and strewn about and returned to the creek-side rubble from which they had arisen.





I mean...hey...maybe it was some sort of official Beach & Harbors reason or some naturalistic cult of efete art critics called the Mayor to complain about using creek rocks without a permit or something ...or,...more likely...some jerks just like stomping on a dream and can't stand for anyone else to enjoy something nice and creative...It's not news LA is a tough kick down several hundred yards of creek-side delicately balanced rocks that form a several meters long assembly and display of ROCK PEOPLE...why...that's just mean and nasty for no good reason.

 Sure wish Columbo was still around...




Ari's Birthday Blues 


(Sing the blues, now...)

Today it was my birthday

Can you imagine that?

 I guess I'm feeling older

It's cold, I need a hat...

I got the blues...

(one more finish it...)



Seasons Greetings from the Danes 

Dear One and All,

'twas not without regret

I had to make you wait

And yet

and yet

and yet

I still... procrastinate...


Pointed line, comedic barb


Tried and true material


Perhaps to wax poetic

Brilliant metaphors,



How to say what has been said

Combinations and… mutations


Not too far from theme


In some rhyming scheme


Best, I guess, to shout it out

The thought is all it is about

Be it Hell


Be it Heaven

Have a GREAT

Two Thousand & Eleven!!! 

What? ...You were expecting Hallmark?


 Seasons Greetings

Ari & Janet & Roxy Dane





Dear One & All, I can see by the ol'TV that the weather pretty much sucks no matter where you live and so I don't realy expect much in the way of sympathy for the last few miserable, rainy beach days...gloomy...starin' out the window at a stretch of deserted, sandy beach and sullen, grey me thinkin'...



c. aridane 2010

 As I pondered weak and weary

Thinkin’ about Old Tim Leary

Was there something he did know?

Shared between himself and Poe?

 Other than a sense of dread

Other than they both are dead

Other than what’s plain to see

Psychosis and some LSD

 Both can get the walls to  wavin’

Roads to hell in need of pavin’

Don’t ask me, I ain’t no maven’

Go and ask the fuckin’ Raven!


The Case of the Creaking Chair 



Dear One and All,

Roxy is looking at me like she wants to go for a walk but I don't really believe her since I just opened the patio door for her to go out and take care of biz and she just stared long and hard at the puppy deep puddles and opted to hold it...What a grey and gloomy day for our usual sunny CA...maybe we'll just play a little game of indoor catch and hope we don't destroy another lamp (but that's another story)...

Roxy sure loves her little soft leopard-colored squeak ball and all in all she's pretty good with it. Good...but not like Ripley. Ripley was incredible!


The Case of the Creaking Chair

© Ari Dane 2010


            Woof! creak…

            Want to go for a walk?

            Woof! creak…


            Woof! creak…

            Supper time!

            Woof! creak…


            Woof! creak…

Personally, I never cared much for that old rocking chair and the way the damn thing creaks when you get out of it. For the life of me, I can’t remember how it came to be in our possession though it must have been at least three moves and twenty some years ago. I guess it’s the kind of thing you always say you’ll get rid of when you find the right thing to replace it with and then never end up finding, so you just sort of hold on to it till it becomes, as they say, part of the furniture in your own personal universe. 

The frame was still good but the cushions and springs were shot long before we ever jerry-rigged some towels and rags for padding and covered the sorry affair with an eight dollar Mexican woven rug we picked up on Olvera Street in downtown LA. Didn’t really look like much but then again it didn’t look bad either, just sorta’ blended in with the rest of our, I suppose you might say, eclectic décor, which is a euphemistic way of saying it’s a bunch of weird stuff we like with one thing having nothing to do with the other, but somehow or other makes sense, if you know what I mean, and if you don’t, then you probably shop at Ethan Allen, not that there’s anything wrong with that. However, if you do shop at Ethan Allen, then your rocker probably doesn’t creak like mine does which becomes real pertinent later on in this story. 

Anyway, like I said, I didn’t care for it near as much as did Ripley. He absolutely loved it and at times it seemed like he just lived in it. Curled up, happy as could be, dreaming his little doggie dreams. Oh, yes, you non-pet owners, they do dream. Those little front paws twitch with the rhythm of running a mountain trail or through a summertime meadow and their breathing fluctuates and sometimes you even see a smile upon their face. 

He could have been a circus dog. Half Cairn Terrier like Toto from the Wizard of Oz and half Basset Hound, hence the name Ripley for, of course, Believe it or Not. Didn’t look like either one but definitely closer to the former than the latter and weighed in at just under sixteen pounds most of his adult life. 

To say he was bright, affectionate and as loyal a companion one might hope for in the canine persuasion would not set him apart from any of his ilk you might have the pleasure of acquaintance of in your own experience. But, this little guy was special and some of his skills were worthy of comment, in particular, his athletic prowess with a bouncing blue rubber sphere. 

In his prime he was a natural and marvel to behold and if parallels were to be drawn it would have to be with the likes of a Michael Jordan for, to quote some of my friends who engaged him on his own turf, “Ripley doesn’t play catch…Ripley has moves!!!” 

For instance, if the ball were thrown just right over his shoulder, he would rise several feet in a floating motion, pluck the missile from thin air, execute a perfect back flip, gently place his prize on the tarmac and with laser precision, gently kiss the tip of the ball with his nose and roll it in the direction of your cupped hands as surely as if he were sinking an eight ball in the center pocket. Yeah, he had “moves” and was without question the master at his game which he would play incessantly and, even without a human partner, he would amuse himself for hours on end rolling and nosing that ball around. 

Many’s the time I observed him planning and experimenting as he lined up his shots and executed various angle filled combinations across the slick, tiled kitchen floor. Again and again he would practice each move till he could pull it off with an unerring perfection.  What do I know? Maybe in a prior life he was William Tell or Robinhood. If he was as proficient with a bow and arrow I would have confidently stood with my back to the tree and smiled as I placed the apple upon my own head. And they say dogs don’t have deductive reasoning. Bull. Anyone who says that never knew Ripley. 

I’ll give you another few examples of my observations, like Raleigh, a white shepherd named for the hotel in the Catskill Mts. where I found her sitting on the front steps abandoned, along with her nine darker colored siblings, waiting for the local dog catcher to cart them off to the pound. 

She was such a pretty little thing and the perfect pet, I thought, for my friend Lora Lee, who I felt sure would fall in love with her… but…didn’t… and so, Raleigh became ours. All, eventual ninety, white, fluffy, shedding pounds of her. 

Raleigh’s spark of genius and claim to fame was a rather complicated game of her own invention involving perhaps ten or so doggie toys of bones, balls, tied rags and twisted rawhide. Noteworthy here is she had a specific hiding place for each item in her collection and would always return them when finished with her play. Who ever knew dogs could be neat? 

With an obvious single mindedness, she would gather her treasures from beneath the couch, behind the drapes and between the cushions of the living room chairs and line them up in an exact order at the top of our split level flight of wooden stairs, and then… one by one…nudge them over to bounce and clatter to the landing below where she would bound after them, and…one by one, retrieve and return them to their assigned place only to repeat the process for sometimes what seemed like an eternity. 

We were enthralled with her ingenuity…that is until the time she started to perform this little miracle at 4:00AM and we decided to curtail her Sir Isaac Newton experimentation. Still, I dare you to tell me she was not thinking and reasoning every bounce and clatter of the way! 

And then there was Crispin, a character if ever there was one. He was supposed to be a Yorkie when, in what seemed like overnight, these long legs dropped out of his body kind of like a little furry stork and he topped out at twenty eight pounds and we exclaimed, Whoops! That ain’t no Yorkie! Matter of fact, he kind of looked a lot like Tramp from the Disney flick. But, by then we were more than attached and so he stayed around for about seventeen years, which is pretty decent in dog life expectancy. 

Yeah, he was an independent little cuss who had an incredible attention span and more of a fascination with the working of any hand held tool than I ever did. Pliers, scissors, hammer, screwdriver, drill and bit, it didn’t matter. Work with anyone of them and his attention was rivited. He also could and would obey any command with the caveat being…if he wanted to… Like Ripley, Crispin also enjoyed a good game of catch …only thing was, if you threw it, or anything else for that matter, he figured if you threw it away you obviously didn’t want it, so… he’d never bring it back. Once, when he was a puppy,  I tried to entice him to swim in a lake and he refused to dive in. In a last ditch effort, I threw a stick out over the waves and he fetched. From that point on he was a water puppy…but only if I threw the stick first… and…  I’ll never forget the day we went fishing in a reservoir in up-state NY.  

I parked off the side of the blacktop and unloaded the trunk as an excited and impatient Crispin darted ahead while I struggled with my fishing gear down the embankment through the dense forest, arriving at the rugged ten to fifteen foot escarpment overlooking the choppy water in time to see Crispin dragging what appeared to be a redwood in his mouth, drop it over the edge of the cliff with a splash great enough to alert any hookable fish in the county, and dive in after it!

Did he want to play? Did he want to swim? Was fetch and swimming part and parcel to his way of thinking even if it meant he had to throw the stick himself? As funny as it was to watch, whatever the answer, he knew what he wanted and acted accordingly. 

The examples I have cited thus far , Ripley’s expertise with a ball and elevating it to an art form, Raleigh’s inventive cause and effect game, Crispin’s initiative in going for a swim, are all based on their natural instincts of hunting, gathering and retrieving. It is how they built on these attributes and applied their knowledge to problem solving that amazes me. 

On another occasion which seems right out of a Lassie movie…In the mid-seventies my wife and I were living in a trailer, I won’t dignify it by calling it a mobile home, on the grounds of the Green Acres Hotel, formerly the Roxy, on a winding, dangerous stretch of two lane black top called route 52 in Loch Sheldrake NY, with a pretty shade of short-haired blonde with big brown eyes and floppy ears little  Heinz 57 mixed breed girl puppy named Calev…which , in case you were wondering, is the Hebrew word for “dog”. 

Calev had a friend named Rikki who belonged to the family who owned the resort. She was a very small German Shepherd and without question one of the brightest canines I’ve ever known. For one thing, she had street smarts. She understood what traffic was all about. A useful skill considering where we lived cars appeared from out of nowhere and zoomed by at high speed. You could see the intelligence in her eyes and demeanor. When you spoke to her you had the distinct feeling she not only understood what you said,but if she wanted to, she could hold up her end of the conversation. 

Rikki was mostly a loner and outside of her immediate human family didn’t care for a lot of people or other dogs, for that matter. The exception was me and Calev. We had a connection. I remember how her family was surprised on the occasion she had a litter and would allow no one to venture near her off-spring. Yet, when they were less than a week old, she left them long enough to come to my trailer, bark at my door to get my attention, and then take my hand in her mouth to lead me to her house and the closet where her puppies awaited her return. Make of this what you will, but I know she wanted to show them off to me. 

Unfortunately, the next time she came for me was on a tragic note. This time when I opened my door to her insistent bark I could tell from her tone and action it was a more urgent need. Once again, she took my hand in her mouth, but this time she led me down the long steep driveway to the highway and around the bend to where Calev had been struck by a car. I’m sorry to say there was no happy ending. With tears in my eyes and hoping against hope I rushed Calev to the vet, but it was too late. Still, in my book, Rikki will always be a hero. She recognized a problem and figured out the best solution was me. 

Ripley, Crispin, Raleigh, Calev, Rikki, I loved them all. Each in their own way was special and each at one point or other displayed an unexpected flash of intelligence by utilizing deductive reasoning to solve a problem. How else would you explain their actions? 

For those of you who do not have the desire or opportunity to share your lives with a pet, I feel a great deal is missed by their absence. Granted, they are not always convenient and it hurts so much when they depart, but hey, that’s the price of admission.


Gotta’ give it to him, Ripley was cool to the end. Yeah, in the last year or so he slowed down. His eyesight and hearing failed and he retired from his game. And, although he still had a good appetite for dinner and would rally for a short walk, it was a far cry from the five to twelve miles a day he ran with me on the local Southern California mountain trails. I’ll be the first to admit it was sad to watch him fade. When the end came it was peaceful. In the Vet’s waiting room, moments before his appointment, he took a deep breath, stiffened and was gone.







I don’t remember exactly when it was, but a few months before he died he stopped sleeping in our bed and moved into that chair… 

It’s not that I don’t appreciate sunrise, but my inner clock plus a lifetime as an entertainer make me an inveterate night person. Every few years or so I steel my resolve to reverse this cycle but eventually and inexorably find myself adrift in my natural currents floating back to the vampire hours. Most nights I am to be found writing till one or two in the morning in my office adjacent to our living room and, through the always open door, in a direct line of sight with the rocker. 

It was during that hour Ripley would wake from his sleep and within a few minutes of coming to himself, with the afore-mentioned creak, vacate the chair and head for the kitchen and doggie-door, return a few moments later, drink some water from his bowl, glance in our bedroom to reassure himself my wife and other dog, Cassidy, were still where he had last seen them, visit me for a brief pet and scratch behind the ears and then return to his chair and one final creak before settling down till daybreak.

 It is now almost six months since Ripley passed.

Witnesses will attest that between one and two o’clock in the morning the chair creaks.

All explanations would be subjective.





I think it might have been in the Seth Speaks series of books by Jane Roberts when I first came across the concept of pets being fragment personalities. In other words, when a soul passes on to another level or existence but still wants to retain a bit of the material plane, it leaves behind a small piece of itself in the form of a domestic pet. I don’t know if I really believe that or not but it is a comforting thought and I’ve heard worse ideas. I could see doing that.Leaving just a bit of myself behind to keep tabs on things. Maybe that’s what people really mean when they say he or she is a dog or a cat person. Of course, where this leaves the folks who like hamsters and parakeets, I haven’t a clue.

(Here's a little video of our Puppy Pals. I hope James Taylor won't mind if I borrow one of his songs...)