Twenty-Five Songs for Leaving Places

So, first off, thanks to everyone who showed up last night. It was great seeing you for… well, not the last time, but, you know, for a while.

Anyway, I don’t know anyone who’s good with goodbyes. The person in my family who’s best with them is my brother, and to tell you what that means, here’s a story:

My family had a golden retriever named Pebbles. We got the dog when I was about seven. Second grade, whenever that was.


The Dog

The first memory I have of Pebbles is when my Mom and Dad drove us out to a rescue ranch in rural Ohio. The place was literally full of dogs in need of homes, and my Dad fell in love with a Wookie of a dog named Queenie. However, as chance would have it, as we pulled up and got out of the car, Pebbles, at that time, two years old and hyper as hell, bolted around the side of the house and started circling me, panting and nudging a tennis ball at me. So, yeah, I was the youngest, and we got Pebbles.

Anyway, she made life a lot easier. My parents were divorced a few years ago, and it messed me up more than I thought at the time, but I got off lucky because I had Pebbles to play around with. (You know, in addition to all of my friends and whatnot.) Then, a couple of years later, my Mom and I (Joel having started college) moved down to Tennessee. Tennessee was not my favorite place to be, and, if it weren’t for a few really, really good friends, I probably would have turned into a Goth or some crap, and that just wouldn’t have been any fun. But, through it all, Pebbles was around, and my brother and I essentially had a little sister.

So, midway through my sophomore year at UT, when I heard that Pebbles died after having to deal with severe doggie arthritis, old age, and having a rough time of it all, I was wrecked. I’d like to say that I held it together, but that’s a pretty harsh lie, and it was a rough few weeks. Everyone in my immediate family, especially my Mom, Joel, and I, were sad, but Joel had a pretty Zenned-out attitude towards it all. While my Mom and I were sitting around in the condo sighing, Joel was knocking back drinks in her honor and telling stories about the time she ate a bag of chocolate chip cookies and puked on the bed, wrapped him up in her leash and sabotaged one of his runs, and fought off three Scottish Terriers over her tennis ball. I did this too, don’t get me wrong, but, he managed to sound like a stand-up comedian wheras I sounded bereaved.

The reason I say all of that is to illustrate that I seem to have inherited a terrible weepy gene from my Dad. (The other story I can tell is how, on my Bar Mitzvah, my Dad couldn’t say anything on the bima because he was crying.) Case in point, this leaving business after hanging around for a year is a right bitch, shall we say. As I don’t have a dog around (quite yet), music’s the best way I’ve got of getting some sort of emotional outlet stuff going on (yes, that’s right, I say something like that and I’m a published writer), and so, here’s my Leaving List. Shall we say.

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