Archive for May, 2006

Gracie on Good Morning America

Sunday, May 14th, 2006

Uh oh. This can’t be good.
I’m going to be on Good Morning America on ABC-TV this Wednesday morning (May 17, probably between 8:30-9). That’s not the problem. I’m thrilled to go on the show. And oh, heck no, I’m not nervous. I mean, it’s only about 13 gazillion people watching, so no big deal, right?
But what’s raising red flags is who is going to be on the show with me. The GMA producer called my publicist a few days ago and posed the question: “So, could John bring his new dog, Gracie, on the show?”
I asked Jenny what she thought. Gracie is our “good dog,” or at least she is good when compared to Marley, which isn’t saying much. But she still has her moments. She leaped up and slobbered the photographer for People magazine right on the mouth. She rummaged through the purse of an Italian television reporter who visited our home. She found my son’s cell phone the other day and took off with it across the yard. By the time we got it back — after bribing her with bologna — it had teeth punctures right through the casing. She can get a little excited when she’s around people she doesn’t know.
Jenny, of course, said, “Count her in!” Easy for her to say; she doesn’t have to be out there on national television with a wild dog racing off with Diane Sawyer’s high-heel shoe.
With just a little trepidation, I said yes. So on Tuesday, GMA will send a Town Car to our house to take Jenny, Gracie and me to New York. They found a hotel near Times Square that takes dogs. The hotel is right across from the studio. The next morning we walk Gracie across the street. Piece of cake, right?
Except for one thing. I’m still trying to figure out the potty situation. Gracie is trained to only use grass. She ain’t no city slicker. Using pavement as a bathroom…no way! How low rent! So I’m going to have to find a park or some other little patch of green earth for her. If the NYPD sees a half-crazed man racing through the streets at dawn with a plastic bag in his hand and a big yellow dog trotting along at his side, they’ll know they found me.
Wish us luck. And tune in if you can… I can use all the moral support I can get.

Arf!

About That Woman in Line in Seattle

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2006

In the entry below I described a really bad assumption I made while signing copies of Marley & Me at a Seattle-area bookstore last week. The young woman mentioned that reading Marley had helped her after she lost her fiance. I assumed by “lost” she meant “dumped.” This did not come out of thin air. A suprising number of women over the past several months have made comments to me along this line: “My husband told me it was him or the dog. I lost the husband, kept the dog.” And so I made a joke. Just moments after she had walked away, I realized that this woman was different from the others — that she had lost her love another way.

I almost did not post the blog entry below, feeling it would be futile. What were the chances this stranger would stumble upon it? But I had to at least try to explain, and so late that night I posted the entry just before turning off the light. The next morning when I checked my email, one subject line popped out at me: “From the young woman in line in Seattle.” The opening sentence read: “I AM the young woman from the line tonight in Seattle.” In some karmic connection, she had happened to stumble onto my blog entry within hours of its posting. She explained that she went to my website to read the farewell column to Marley I have posted there. “Imagine my surprise when I hit the refresh button and happened to click on the blog and saw the title of your posting,” she wrote me. “It was strange – before I even read further I somehow knew that the message was directed to me. But just to be sure – I waited til I saw the grey sweater part.”

And then came absolution.

“I need you to know that you did nothing wrong tonight. You were correct though; my beloved fiance did pass away – Cancer. His service was just 4/15. I had seen your book recently and since I adore dogs and animals, thought it would be a good distraction for me. When I found out that Marley had already died – I was not sure if I could read the book at THIS time.”

But she did read the book and come to the signing — just 10 days after burying her fiance. And just in time for me to stick my foot in my mouth. I’m glad I had the chance to connect with her and let her know I had misunderstood. And for me to know she had understood my confusion.

She concluded her note: “You had mentioned in your book that although the destination is important, it is really all about the journey. This is how my fiance and I lived our lives. … You don’t know how much your book has touched me, especially during this time of grief. The fact that you tried to find me tonight and posted the message on the ‘blog’ blows me away. I consider it a small miracle.”

I consider it a small miracle, too. To the young woman in line in Seattle, thank you for finding my blog, thank you for your understanding — and please accept my sincere sympathy. — John