Because of my affiliation with the NARN, I was extended an invite to spend an evening in one of the many versions of the Jasperwood gazebo which lives on in Lileks lore. Since Hugh had been in town the previous night for a special AM 1280 The Patriot event (and live broadcast from the MN State Fair on that Friday), Lileks invited the NARN personalities (past and present) for a casual evening on the back patio. I have to admit I was a bit star struck sitting among the likes of Hewitt and his producer Duane "Generalissimo" Patterson, Lileks, John Hinderaker, Minnesota Orchestra trumpet player Manny Laureano, etc. Also in attendance were my friend and NARN colleague Mitch Berg, Brian "St. Paul" Ward (NARN alum & friend), Paul "Nihilist in Golf Pants" Happe and Jim "Sisyphus" Styczinski.
Given the collective intellect and life experiences among the attendees, I found myself feeling wholly inadequate. I believe the most I contributed was when everyone was asked whom the GOP presidential nominee should be in 2016. My preference was for Scott Walker, for reasons I then conveyed. Outside of that, I spent the rest of the evening indulging in adult beverages and appetizers while occasionally talking Twins baseball with Brian.
As the evening wore on, I merely listened to the fun anecdotes and political insights of the elite guests as well as hung out with the Lileks family dog Scout. Upon returning to my seat with a beverage at one point during the evening, I had discovered Scout was occupying my chair. He was such a sweet and content fella that I just didn't have the heart to shoo him away. Instead, I found a rickety old lawn chair which I pulled up beside the comfy seat I had previously occupied. I think I may have sneaked a few snack crackers to Scout in an effort to ingratiate myself to this delightful canine. I even texted a photo of Scout to my wife, as she is an avid dog lover. Eventually Mrs. Lileks (don't recall her first name) came home from an evening out with friends. I had a nice (albeit brief) chat with her, which included her sharing the story of how Scout became a part of their family.
I share all this to say that I hadn't thought much about that pup in the past three years. That is until a Lileks piece popped up at Ricochet.com on Tuesday.
My daughter chose him. Of all the puppies at the shelter, he seemed the sweetest and kindest — big floppy ears, gangly legs, and big paws, covered in beautiful brindle fur. His shelter name was Garth, perhaps because he’d come from the South and someone who worked at the Humane Society was a country-music lover. He was a stray by the side of the road, picked up and put in the pipeline that takes dogs from areas that don’t have shelters to states where rescue dogs are in demand.
She named him Scout.
Spoiler alert: the beloved Scout sadly met his demise recently. While I feel awful for the Lileks family, I appreciate James giving us a glimpse into what that sweet four-legged creature meant to them. And the final paragraph of the piece is quintessential James Lileks given the poignant manner in which he conveys Scout's final departure.
Definitely read the whole thing.