Jan 222013

Just recently, a friend’s young dog was hit and killed as it wandered out on to the highway. With the thought that she might appreciate the words, I shared with her the following story which I had written when our own, much older dog, passed away a few years ago. Young or old, pets make a lasting impression, so this is also sent to anyone who has ever had to say that final goodbye.


“Little darling, it’s been a long, cold, lonely winter”

        Here comes the Sun by The Beatles


What’s the big deal about pets?


It had been 30 minutes since I left the veterinarian’s office – our old black Lab of 13 years had to be put down. All around me now, the patrons of Tim’s coffee shop are going about their early morning ritual; I stare vacantly out the window waiting for my wife to meet up with me on this bleak winter’s day.


Earlier we were loading our old dog into the van which, almost certainly, would be the last time we would see him. Before leaving, my wife looked into his unresponsive eyes and wept.


It had come on suddenly. Just a day earlier our dog had been his tail-wagging, bright-eyed, and what we called his “yuppie-the-puppy” self – a bit slowed down with age, but still, robust.


Yet during these past 24 hours, he refused to eat, went into the dry (and not so dry) heaves; when he could hardly get up to do his morning constitutionals – in fact, laid down in the cold snow motionless – it seemed he knew, even if we didn’t want to believe it, his time had come.


I tried lifting him, but with almost 85 pounds of dead weight, it was too much for me. However, as if in one final effort to please, he miraculously raised his head and wobbled to his feet. And, with a last great painful effort, he slowly stumbled his way back to the porch some 30 feet away. What more could the poor old guy do for me? I was humbled by this final act of bravery.


Dr. Rick arrived early at his vet clinic and verified officially our collective consensus: euthanasia. With the big dog’s head in my hands, I said goodbye and felt his response by the exhaust of breath from his nostrils across my face – the last of his once mighty strength faded away.


So what’s the big deal about pets? Plenty! The shining eyes so happy to see you: as warm and reassuring as a sunny day in spring. I ask… who else would put up with our mood swings and inflated egos? Not many. Pets are as constant in their love as the North Star.


And who really is the master? I suggest it’s our pets that set the best human example, to which we can only aspire. When I look out my window at four-legged foot tracks in the snow I’m reminded of their lasting impact on our lives. The rain may wash away any obvious trace, but never the imprints they make on our hearts.


Looking down at my now empty paper coffee cup, the message on it tells me to “Roll up the rim to win!” – which I do – and smile at the message:  “Please play again”.


“Here comes the sun and I say, ‘It’s all right’”

Here comes the Sun by The Beatles



Fred Parry / www.fredparry.ca (2013)


Jan 112013

I guess my love affair with music started in the backseat of a car … no not that backseat … actually the back window of my mom’s old 1950’s Buick.

To make more room, I had shifted the big old pile of ‘78’s records from the seat to the back window shelf, where the hot summer sun beating through the large rear glass window, melted and warped them all.

My mom was horrified and, right then and there, I realized that music meant something to people and what I had done was sacrilege. Music meant everything to her – it was her voice – and I just killed it!

That was the day that music gave birth to a brand new reality in my soul. Music had the power to move people; and seeing what it meant to my mother, it eventually became my voice too: music began speaking to me.

I even got hooked on record company labels. And later, when the Beatles came along, I can still remember the design of those smaller 45’s records of the Capital label and also the Beatles’ clever own ‘Apple’ label: one side a green apple … the other side, the apple cut in half.

Actually, I was one of the last in my generation to even know who the Beatles were. It took my first real teenage kiss at a party game called ‘spin the bottle’ – with the music playing ‘Eight Days a Week’ in the background – that convinced me that I really should get on board with this new sound. After that kiss, my head was spinning too and I may not have known what day it was, but I knew that if girls liked it … then I did too!

I also realized something else. If the girls loved the music, then that went double for musicians! (Hey, maybe those old piano lessons my Mom sent me to, would finally pay off!) Next thing I knew I was in the high school band and blowing the school’s saxophone on the weekends, as part of a rock group. (Oh, how sweet life can be!) Even the thugs left us ‘musicians’ alone; because they knew that …”like bees to honey”… where we boys were, so were the girls!

Fred Parry

Fred Parry

Fred Parry / www.fredparry.ca (2013)