Unfortunately, I’m not much of a reader at all. Never was. Never will be. In what little spare time I have, I listen to music, play some tennis and play poker from time to time with a bunch of neighbourhood dads. I spend time with my wife and kids – in other words, I’m pretty much of an ordinary average guy (as Joe Walsh said in his song of the same name in 1991 – it’s a classic.)
So, when the wife suggested to me a few weeks ago that I read a book that she had loved (she’s a voracious reader by the way), about a dog (I love dogs), I said why not. So that evening I picked up the book written by a guy called Garth Stein and called “The Art of Racing in the Rain”. I’d never heard of him.
Now, if you have not read it – it is a must read. Make no mistake, I am not going to tell you the story and ruin it, but again – it’s a must read. (Full disclosure - although I am in marketing / PR, I’m not Garth’s publicist).
Anyways, it’s an easy read. Can get through it in a few days – and it’s the kind of story you just don’t want to end. It’s a sad – yet feel good story.
But here’s the thing … I guess loyalty plays a big role in my life and in the relationships that I value. In a blog posting a few weeks ago (This would never have happened at Disney) I talked a lot about loyalty – and the fact that my kid’s friend Andrew showed a huge amount of it towards my son Jason. And any fourteen year old kid that understands loyalty has got to be a good kid.
And then I forgot about loyalty until the last chapter of the book – and then boy --- did the concept of loyalty come back or what. You see, the book’s about a dog called Enzo and his master (Denny) – and chronicles the ups and downs of their relationship. It’s vivid. It’s real – and I am sure that if dogs could talk and write – it could even be real. In other words, it’s not far-fetched. Just the way I like a book to be.
So, a few nights ago, I’m a chapter or two from the end of the book – something happens that talks to loyally. The sniffles start. The eyes well up – and moments later I felt the warm salty tears working their way down my cheeks. My wife’s next to me. I’m bawling now. And that’s OK. (Real men cry too, you know!). Well, the tears lasted a few minutes. I mopped up and went on my way. My wife was impressed.
But then something else happened last night that put a few more things into perspective. I’m sitting at the dinner table with the wife and son - Jason. (Daughter - Amanda was at a friend). That all three of us were together is rare. That there were no distractions is even more so.
I’m not sure how the topic of friendship came up, but it did. And when I asked Jason what’s the single most important factor for him in selecting friends, he responded “Loyalty”. I sat back, swallowed the lump in my throat and continued eating. No doubt Jason (like all other teenagers) will learn some harsh realities about life – some will have happy endings, others perhaps not so happy. But one thing that I am so glad is that he’s learned the value of loyalty.
And it's good that the apple never falls far from the tree.