To be honest, she wasn’t technically mine, she was ours - a member of the family. My girls were 2 and 4 when a six-week-old Jack Russell puppy, no larger than a Twinkie, arrived in our home. It was difficult to explain to the kids why we couldn’t name her ‘Purple’ (that was Maddi’s favorite color) but we eventually arrived at a name with an appropriate horticultural reference.
Naturally, Rosie was much-loved and a constant companion to our children. She endured their tea parties, ‘obedience’ training and sharing in all their most secretive exploits.
Being a terrier, Rosie was a tremendous help to me in the garden. She would regularly dig cavernous holes in my beds searching for any furry creature that might have dared set up house there. Rosie also took immense pleasure in killing many of my chickens over the years... they must have made the most delightful chew toys. Despite these transgressions, I too loved Rosie and very much miss having a dog in the house.
Soon after the girls had both gone off to college, Rosie passed after 13 contented years of adventure in the Griff home and gardens. Given my work and travel schedule it just seemed unfair to have another dog in the house and, really, no dog could ever be what Rosie had been.
This type of overwhelming feeling of loss strikes me from time to time. I have mentioned it in previous writings because it affects me deeply. Treasures lost; items, places, family members, friends, pets... the expected tragedies of passing time.
For whatever the reason, the recent announcement of the closing of 800 Toys-R-Us stores made me consider the loss of treasures from the past. No, I am not mourning the loss of this mega-store. Instead, the closing reminds me of the toy stores that I visited as a youth. Visiting really isn’t fitting because as a kid you don’t really visit a toy store - you experience a temporary dislocation from reality and enter a realm of fantasy. A fantasy where toys come to life. Items on shelves become living things that beckon us to touch, to feel, to become one with the toys.
Some of you may remember from long, long ago the ByerCraft store on East Washington St. by Kenston school. The building remains but, back in the day, there was an enormous tree that grew up, through the roof, in the center of the store. This tree only added to the magical feeling that every child feels in a toy store. I remember a wall filled with the Revell model cars that I loved to build. Oh how I could get lost in that wall of cars! Many more of you will remember Taggert’s on Franklin St. in Chagrin Falls. How many Jolly Roger kites did I buy there? How many model rockets did I have pulled from the bins behind the sales counter? It’s ironic that the Toys-R-Us closing reminds me of my favorite childhood toy stores – stores that may have failed in the shadow of Toys-R-Us.
I am fearful that many more treasures may be lost due to the increasing advancement of technology that many small businesses find themselves unable to compete with. Price and convenience have always been, and will always be, an integral component of our purchasing decisions but once we lose sight of the value that small businesses bring to our communities, treasures we may take for granted today may be lost forever tomorrow.
I urge you to fully embrace all that your treasure, all that you love and all that you have passion for. Appreciate those treasures worth preserving for the future.
Every time I come through my garage door I half expect to see Rosie there joyfully shaking with a toy in her mouth pleading to go out in the yard to play. I would love to play again, just one more time.
No go outside and have fun in the dirt!