Good ol’ Jack and Charlie

Published 10:24 am Thursday, September 14, 2017

By Joel McNeece

“Is that Jackass?” J.R. Denton asked.

“It is,” I told him. “We miss him.”

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“Jackass” is the name our previous Yellow Lab Jack was better known by amongst family and friends, and regular readers of this and my wife Lisa’s Purely Personal column in The CCJ. We never called him “Jackass,” or I guess I shouldn’t say never, but rather it was a term Lisa first started using on her Instagram and Twitter accounts where she would chronicle his seemingly daily, if not hourly, misbehavior.

Jackass became a regular subject as I traveled around.

“What’s Jackass into today?”

“How’s Jackass doing?” people would ask me.

We purchased Jack from a breeder in Millington, Tennessee in April of 2006. His full legal name was Jackson of Riverwoods. He had quite the pedigree to become a “Jackass.”

Lisa and I will never forget the ride home. We thought he would just lie on the backseat of her car, but he preferred to lie across her shoulders, wrapped around the back of her neck like a scarf, little paws hanging over both her shoulders. We should have known right away this dog is a little different.

I have perhaps intentionally forgotten a lot of the trouble he caused around our house. My memories of Jack are his later years when he caused little trouble, just wanted to be by your side all the time.

He grew into a tall, beautiful Lab that loved our granddaughters, Addi Claire and Ellie Kathryn. My office walls feature a number of pictures of Jack. My favorite is one of Ellie lying on him as if he’s a giant pillow. Jack seemed to love it.

The radio screen in the dash of my Jeep has a place for photos. It came with some default scene of a Jeep sitting on a high cliff above the Pacific Ocean. The owner’s manual said you could upload your own photos, so naturally, I installed one of my favorites of Jack, sleeping peacefully on the couch.

It was there the other day when J.R. stepped into my Jeep and saw the picture of him and asked about Jackass.

For the past year, Jack’s health took a turn for the worst and fearing the end was near we decided it was time to introduce a new dog into the house, both for us and the granddaughters.

Along came Charlie.

Lisa began dubbing him as #PoorCharlie on her Instagram feed because Jack wasn’t very nice to him. Like Jackass, the name has stuck. But there is nothing “poor” about Charlie. He is a growing, strong, playful, beautiful dog, and he is a menace.

I get nervous about looking at my phone anytime I hear my text tone for step daughter Jo Ellen because I’m fearful it’s a picture of the latest carnage from Poor Charlie. Monday it was one of the expensive cushions off the patio furniture lying at the back of the yard.

We’ve gotten into a routine of having to go home regularly to keep him on his toes. It’s become customary to peek through the frosted glass of the garage door to see if you can spot any major damage before walking in.

Couch cushions, rugs, shampoo bottles, a split pine log from the wood rack, shrubs from the flower bed, you never know what you might find on our kitchen floor when you walk in.

We had a watering system buried in a large flower bed that runs the length of our backyard along the patio. I say “had” because Charlie dug it up last week.

We had good looking pepper and tomato plants this summer but never tasted any of the produce as Charlie snatched the peppers off just before they were suitable to pick and ripped the tomato plants out of the ground and pots by the roots.

I threatened this summer to lock him outside as soon as the weather cooled to keep him from tearing down the house. Now I’m not so certain he doesn’t do more damage outside than inside.

I love Charlie, as frustrating as he is. I miss Jack terribly. Lisa keeps telling me Jack was just as bad if not worse than Charlie when he was young. I don’t remember the “Jackass,” just Jack. Poor Charlie seems intent on me remembering him forever.

Joel McNeece is the publisher of the Calhoun County Journal.