Ode to Charlie, the world’s greatest kisser

Published 7:38 pm Monday, June 3, 2019

A month or so ago I sat down to write a column that started this way:

“Charlie has grown old, and we know that his time with us is growing short. 

This is an empty feeling inside that I haven’t felt since I was 12 and my brother Wayne and I had to take our lifelong friend — a half-chihuahua, half who-knows-what named Chico — to the vet one day and came home holding nothing but his collar. 

Half a century has passed, and we are only a few weeks from coming home with an empty collar. I’m not anymore ready for it now than I was way back then.”

I decided not to complete that piece at the time, to wait until the time came. 

The time came last Saturday.

Somebody reached down into my chest and just grabbed my ol’ heart and yanked on it. That’s how it feels. 

Many of you know. Chico did the exact same thing to me 50 years ago. 

And, now, Chico Jr. has replayed the scene for us, once more.

Over the next few months, I expect I will pause from time to time to reflect about my best friend whose main goal in life was to kiss everybody in the world as many times as he could. Charlie was a sweet thing, to be sure. 

It’s just that he had no governor on his throttle. Thus, he justifiably earned his nickname of being our Boston “Terror.”  

Charlie was a terror, mainly, in that he had a mind of his own. Philosophically, he was against going against that mind unless he saw somebody coming with a fly-swatter. 

My daughter Rachel —who shared “joint custody” of the boy at their home in Burleson — could tell him to do something, and he’d look at me to get a second opinion. But regarding the question, “Should I run and jump on that person and kiss them half to death?” he never asked anybody for permission.

I’ll leave you with a laugh, no tears and a fair image of the biggest Terror to roam this part of the country. 

Approximately half the population of Red Oak has enjoyed the world’s greatest and wettest kisses at the mercy of my happy, funny, hyper, slobbering buddy. 

For 10 years, everybody who met Charlie learned a great lesson in the power of a friendly greeting. We would all do well to put that into practice ourselves, although I do recommend toning it down just a bit right at first.