If you have the benefit of having a great teacher (or many great teacher's), well you're one lucky person. I've had a bunch of great teacher's through the years I've stumbled my way around this portion of the planet. But there's one I loved more than any other.

I met him when I was just a kid of, oh maybe nine years old, maybe ten. That would have made it around 1964, '65. I called him Sarge because that's what everyone called him. Was that his given name? I would guess not, but that's who he was to me (and the others). Sarge.

I guess that maybe there's no one that truly taught me more in all my 65 years. And I can't recall anyone who taught me any better, either. I mean after all, those things he taught me all those decades ago stick with me still. And perhaps the strangest thing of all, I don't think Sarge even knew he was teaching me! How does that work?

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This teacher that became a best friend taught me discipline. He taught me that, if you do what you're supposed to do and maybe just a little bit more, people will appreciate that and you'll be rewarded. Oh, not always money and it might even be in ways you can't see, but he taught me you will be rewarded.

He taught me to work hard and play hard, too. He taught me to fully enjoy the day, every day. In fact, enjoy every moment as if you're not aware there's going to be another moment. He taught me to go ahead and enjoy the hot, sweaty summer, the harsh cold winter, and everything in between.

Sarge taught me it's OK to run through the rain and fall down in the snow. He taught me it's OK and even good to sweat under a hot sun and he taught me that it's OK (and fun) to splash in the mud puddle. He taught me that all of those things were OK because they just flat out felt good.

Sarge taught me it's OK to be scared, to be afraid. He taught me that sometimes, no matter how young or old you are, there will be those times that you're afraid. And that's OK.

Sarge taught me to love and protect my family and never let anyone hurt my family. He never let anyone hurt his.

Maybe most importantly of all, Sarge taught me unconditional love. Oh, when I was a kid I didn't even know what that meant, but that didn't matter. Sarge taught me that anyhow. Maybe he figured out that someday I'd know what that was and I'd remember he was the one who taught it to me.

That day is now, and I do remember it was him.

I met Sarge back when I was nine or ten. And he was younger than me, did I mention that? When I left home at the age of 18, Sarge had passed me up. I was still a kid, but Sarge had gotten old, real old. He slowed down a lot.  And then, before too long, he was gone.

I wonder why it is a dog don't live too long, and yet they die so old.





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