Memphis in May BBQ Contest

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This may be John’s last year on the Magically Piglicious BBQ team, as he is moving to DC to teach at St.  Albans in about a month.

Dave and I joined him on Wednesday for family night in the MP booth.

Thank you, John, for all of the great times at BBQ Fest over the years. You always found ways to get us in and share some fantastic food, drink, and fellowship with us. We will miss that, but we will miss your constant presence in our lives even more.

Saint Lou-wee

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Katherine and I are in St. Louis today. She is giving a presentation at the University of Missouri – St. Louis on engaged scholarship, and I’ve been taking in a few sites.

The St. Louis Museum of Art, located in beautiful, manicured, and huge Forest Park was a pleasant surprise. It contains a surprising number of quality Impressionist pieces, plus several rooms of in situ period furniture collections and early Buddhist tapestries.

We’re currently at Busch Stadium, taking in an afternoon game before heading back to Memphis this evening.

A big thank you to UMSL for asking Katherine to come to their campus to speak to their faculty!

Beautiful Baltimore

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While at the CNI conference in Baltimore today, I escaped the hotel for part of lunch and took a walk down to the harbor and up to the top of Federal Hill. It was a beautiful spring day, everything was in bloom, and the gentle breeze blowing over the hill hinted of salt water.

Speaking of Federal Hill, I stumbled into (and out of) a great pub in that neighborhood. If you are looking for a tasty pizza, outstanding local brew, and interesting conversation, I highly recommend Pub Dog Pizza and Drafthouse.

Goodbye, Mazzy

After more than 15 years of faithful companionship, we bid a very sad farewell to Mazzy the Dog today. She had been very ill for several months, and a stroke on Friday led to our decision to put her down this morning.

To the end, Mazzy never lost her fighting spirit and never-give-up personality that always set her apart from other animals we’ve known. I’ve never know a smarter dog or one so much fun to be around. At one point, she knew more than 30 different words and could distinguish between many different toys by name and shape.

Everyone says that their pet is special, but there was always something a little extra special about Mazzy. She could anticipate what you were going to do. She was not just tolerant of small children but, rather, adored them, putting up with them pulling her white hair while tossing them a ball to throw back to her.

With the exception of thunderstorms, she was fearless. Never a dog to bark or attack others, she automatically assumed everyone in the world was her friend (and wanted to pet her), unless proven otherwise.

If you met her once, she would remember you years later. If you were sad, she would sit down beside you and try to cheer you up. If you came home from a long, difficult day at work, she would help you forget it with her favorite game: chasing and catching the frisbee and bringing it back to you. Even after we left her with relatives for a year while we lived in Australia, she forgave us and just wanted to pick up playing where we had left off.

Born as working stock on an actual farm in Mississippi, she was the oddball of her litter, a little white furball, kept in a chicken wire cage. White border collies carry recessive genes that are likely to shorten their lives and cause physical problems, but until the later part of her life, Mazzy just laughed that off. Ever since we took her off the farm and brought her home, she never stopped learning and loving life and wanting to feel alive, right to the end. She never gave up.

She was more than just a pet, more than just a friend and a companion. She was as near to human as I have seen in an animal (or expect to see again). Mazzy was something special, and we will miss her terribly, always.