Thursday, January 5, 2017

Remembering a friend

Lost a good friend a few days ago.

Rod Balch, only 59, died after a short stay in the hospital.

We were shocked and heartsick. We all loved him.

By "We," I mean all of us steadfast members of the Johnson City Dog Park.

His dog, his best four-legged friend, is a frisky bull-terrier named "Tara."

Tara will be lost and sad now, as Rod brought her to the dogpark just about every day.

Good man, this jolly, upbeat soul, Rod Balch.

One memory of him I'll take with me to my grave: When I retired from teaching in South Carolina and moved to Johnson City a few years ago, I knew not one single person here.

But I had heard about this place called "the dogpark" at Willow Springs Park--not far from where I live.

So off I went to the dogpark with my sheltie Joe and my bichon Jackson. My dogs and I entered the card-coded gate, and there on a metal bench sat Rod Balch. As happy and content as you please. He was petting his dog, as I recall, and basking in the warm mountain sunshine.

Rod, who apparently had never met a stranger (at least not for long), smiled and asked who I was and where I'd moved from.

That's the way it started.

I instantly liked him.

And just about every time I re-visited the dogpark over the last few years, Rod Balch and Tara were there.

Like a steady, friendly, outgoing presence--always up for conversation, a laugh or two and a few tidbits of news.

Farewell, Rod Balch. You were the best ambassador Johnson City ever had.

We will never forget you. And if any of your family reads this blog post and needs someone to take Tara to the dogpark, point them in my direction. I'll gladly take care of your beloved canine.

Photo of Rod and Tara taken from the Johnson City Press.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Revisiting my blog

Cannot believe it's been a few months since I've posted anything on Carolina Magic. No, I haven't forsaken by blogging, but I've gotten a bit distracted.

By Twitter.

Yes, I'm now tweeting.

I like to think of my tweets as bursts of insight about whatever or whoever.

So find me on Twitter if you're curious about what I'm writing about these days.

But also don't neglect to see if I've revisited Carolina Magic.

Because life is more complicated than trying to boil it down to 140 characters or less.

Happy 2017!