March 30 2021

Ol’ Frank and Beans

Today as I was driving home from work I heard Chris Stapleton’s “Maggie’s Song,” playing over my truck’s stereo. The Highway channel 56 Playing the hottest new country hits was airing the song for my drive at five. I had heard the song before. I own the album Starting Over which Stapleton released last November. “Maggie’s Song” is a track from that album. I have heard dozens of times but today out of nowhere the song brought memories to mind that caused tears to roll down my cheeks.

I wrote [Maggie’s Song] the day after our dog, Maggie, passed away. We had her for 14 years and I miss her quite a bit. I’m not really a dog person, either, that’s worth saying. But I loved that dog for sure. Every word of that song is just a true thing.

Chris Stapleton via NPR

The third verse of the song really got to me.

It was rainin’ on a Monday

The day that Maggie died

She woke up and couldn’t use her legs

So I laid down by her side

She put her head on my hand

Like she’d done so many times

I told her she was a good dog

Then I told her goodbye

I cannot think of a time in my life without a dog. I have always had a few dogs around, I guess for as long as I can consciously remember. A few weeks ago, my father texted me to let me know that they were having to let go of one of their beloved dogs. My mom and Dad’s dog, Frankie. To me, it was kinda like losing a member of the family. For over fourteen years, at my folk’s house, Frankie was there to greet me.

Even now, I can recall the first day I met her. It was a particularly cold evening and a local veterans group was hosting a fund raising event in someone’s back yard. I had gone early to help them set up. Up on the stage, Michael J Martin was playing his music. My oldest daughter, and my mother showed up. Tucked under my daughter’s coat clawing for warmth, was a tiny dachshund mixed pup.  They introduced me to her as Frank and Beans. My mother’s idea as she was a “weenie dog.”

Even when my parents were not there for one reason or another, I would make the drive to care for their pets. Frankie was always happy to see me and even more happy to eat. I know the dog had a good life, she just got too old. One day she stopped eating, her health declined, her old body grew tired and she wasn’t wagging or running any more. It was the best decision for my parents to make I know. The decision to put her down was trying on them both, although I am sure If you were to ask my pop about it, he would most likely deny having any emotions over the ordeal.

“If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die, I want to go where they went.”

Will Rogers

I love the line in the Stapleton song:

I can tell you right now that a dog has a soul

This line shares a common belief as I. I believe in the saying that all dogs go to Heaven. I think there is a rainbow bridge and when it comes my time to pass through this world and into the next I believe that ol’ Frankie, along with many many more good ol’ dogs are going to be running across that bridge to welcome me home.

I have known some pretty good dogs in my life, and a few turd hounds too. I can tell you this without regret, I would gladly take the turd hounds over most people I have met.