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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines


Many moons ago, Ralph Waldo Emerson brought a burst of sunshine and unbridled joy into the life of a bumbling bachelor.

We lost this fine fellow at the beginning of 2008 and nary a day has passed that I have not yearned for the companionship of my cherished compadre.

He was funny, incomparably loyal, and a friend to all, especially little girls and boys. A curious fellow once inquired if my long-eared basset hound was potentially harmful.

“Only if you are susceptible to drowning in kisses,“ I replied with a sly smile.

A few weeks ago while meandering through the dining room, I suddenly deemed it necessary to organize a number of items scattered atop a large table. Dust had collected on the top layer.

I am hardly an efficient housekeeper.

Make no mistake, these were not treasures. In fact, most of them fit neatly into a nearby trash can.

As I was discarding them indiscriminately into the disposal, I was surprised by the signature sound of a tinkle. Was it possible? Could Santa be taking an extended nap in my humble abode?

I had not heard that particular sound in my home for more than a decade. I located the source of the jingle beneath a couple of old magazines.

It was an elastic, brightly-colored red-and-green wreath adorned with bells distinctly designed to fit a canine’s neck. Lo and behold, it was Ralph Waldo Emerson‘s Christmas necklace.

My mind quickly rewound to those bygone Decembers when we would journey to Evansville and he would proudly prance through my parents’ threshold and into the hearts of everyone clustered around the Christmas tree within my childhood home.

He immediately became the center of attention. My sweet sister and nieces carefully adorned him with red and green ribbons as he jingled from one to another, begging for their blissful belly rubs.

How could they say no? It was indisputably his most wonderful time of the year.

He’s gone now, and so are my mom and dad. However, thanks to that dusty necklace, I can revisit those treasured, tender moments as though they were transpiring today.

Most valued necklaces are meticulously crafted with silver and gold. Mine is more modest, merely freckled with tinkling bells.

However, it once hung around the neck of my best friend forever, my shotgun rider, my special soulmate.

Such a handsome, charismatic creature, still bringing joy into my life after all these years.

Bob Bridge welcomes comments at 812-276-9646 or

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