Here we are — another year has begun, and another trip on the annual merry-go-round most of us are so familiar with we are already exhausted just thinking about it. But this year brings some special blessings to the Jackson family — allow me to share a couple.
DOGS and HORSES — we are SO blessed to have passed another birthday (among Thoroughbreds, January 1st is the traditional birthday, and we have extended that to our entire herd of horses and pack of dogs) and so far, so good! My eldest, Boo, turned 33 — and for a horse, that’s long in the tooth indeed — think mid-90s, in human terms — and he’s still looking good and going strong. Cash, Gandalf and Merlin are 25, 9 and 4 repectively, and doing wonderfully well.
2015 was, as Dickens put it, “the best of times and the worst of times” where our dogs are concerned. We said goodbye to Navarre and Cederick, our 7-year-old Mastiff/Shepherd mix brothers who left us far too early and are still sorely missed. But we said hello to two wonderful guys, one dumped at Ben Hawes, the other literally on his way to the pound when we intervened. Diamond is a year-old Boston Terrier/Jack Russell Terrier/American Staffordshire Terrier mix (as far as we can tell) who has enlivened the entire farm with his non-stop energy and endlessly playful nature. And a little over a month ago we were blessed with Arthur, a 2-year-old line-bred German Shepherd Dog who had apparently been kept in a crate his entire life. He didn’t know how to run or play, and was scared to death of me. Now after just 6 weeks he is integrated with the pack, plays with everybody, is gaining weight and coming to me on the run when I call. He is elegant, affectionate and possessed of an amazing intellect. Our eldest, Jerome, turned 13; he’s a grumpy old man, but still his mama’s heart and joy. My “Velcro dog” Lucky is now a 7-yr-old “pit bull” mix, and Kuney, the Austrian Hound, is 4 and just the cuddliest, most openly affectionate pooch I’ve ever known.
SO that’s good.
My big new project for 2016 has already begun. I am working with the fabulous Dr. Diane Earle to create a Street Relief benefit Christmas album for the next Holiday season, and I am sure you will want a copy when it becomes available early next fall. Diane is a hoot to be around and a breathtaking musician; we are currently recording in the sanctuary at Settle United Methodist Church; I will add vocals later in-studio. More to come on this project.
All in all, Rebecca and I are facing 2016 with dogged (and horsed) persistence. I leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Mark Twain: “You can lead a horse to water, but before you push him in remember what a wet horse smells like.” Happy New Year!