The Gantseh Megillah

Stern Words
July 1, 2000

I am finding it difficult to compose this particular column. On Friday 21 July, Arnold and I lost our very best friend in the world. Our beautiful and loyal Cocker Spaniel, ZaSu, died at 5:30 P.M. She was 12 years old which is considered to be “Senior Citizen Status” in canine years, so it cannot be said statistically that she left us prematurely. In our hearts however, 12 years did not seem nearly enough time to spend with this generous and giving little soul.

ZaSu came into our lives when she was only 8 weeks old and quickly worked her way into our hearts as a welcome member of the family. She immediately decided that anything and everything that went on in our home was her business. She supervised the preparation of meals by sampling the various components and passing judgment on their quality. I do not think I can remember one time, when she did not consider each morsel a culinary success. No one appreciated our cooking quite as much as ZaSu.

Seeing as we work from our home office it seemed only appropriate that she become a regular staff member and determined totally on her own the best way she could contribute to the running of our business. She appointed herself “Receptionist” and dutifully greeted every person who came to our door. Her reputation became known far and wide and drew many a repeat visit from our clients and friends.

Over the course of time, ZaSu became extremely attuned to our personalities and moods. She innately sensed if one of us was not feeling well and set upon making things right by cuddling close and offering a generous supply of her curative kisses. Believe me, if we could have patented these kisses we could have made a bundle marketing them as a “broad spectrum” all around make things better medicine.

The most remarkable story exemplifying ZaSu’s sensitivity goes back to May of 1995. I had just undergone a bit of surgery at a hospital in Boston. We decided to bring ZaSu along with us for the lengthy ride from Montreal, rather than leave her home alone for such a long period. A few hours after the procedure was completed and I was totally awake from the anesthesia, the hospital released me and we headed on our way home. When we arrived in the area of Burlington Vermont, Arnold decided to pull into a park area where he would take ZaSu for a walk as I napped for a bit in the car. The rest of this story was told to me after the fact.

When they returned from their walk, Arnold opened the front door to the car on my side where I was still fast asleep. ZaSu jumped in to greet me, and immediately sensed something was wrong. She jumped out of the car and ran to Arnold who was busy re-arranging things in the trunk. She started to bark and run back and forth between my car door and the rear trying to get Arnold’s attention. After a few moments he realized that she was trying to get him to come to me. He walked over to the side of the car where I was sleeping and attempted to wake me. I did not respond. He went so far as to slap me across the face, and still no response. ZaSu and he got into the car and Arnold drove as fast as he could to the nearest hospital. He ran into the emergency area and told the triage nurse that he had a person in the car who he could not awaken.

Within seconds several doctors and nurses ran out to the car, placed me on a stretcher and raced me into the emergency treatment area. At this time, I had stopped breathing altogether. One of the doctors explained to Arnold that the blood they had drawn was alkaline and unable to support human life. Yet, seconds later, I began to respond and within minutes found myself waking up within these strange surroundings. It took me awhile to realize where I was. The doctor explained to me what had happened and told us that had I gotten to the hospital even one minute later, I would have been gone. Arnold said that if ZaSu had not sensed that something was wrong, and brought it to his attention, he would have just assumed I was still napping and would have continued to drive home without disturbing me. The bottom line is, our little ZaSu saved my life!

I am sure you can imagine why her loss is so great to us. She was our little hero, and always will be for as long as our minds are able to retain memories. And God willing, that will be for a very long time.

Rest in Peace ZaSu. Our dear little friend!

This month’s issue will be a bit different than usual. As all of you know, I am constantly asking for contributions in the manner of stories, ideas, opinion editorials and the like. In the 8 months that The Gantseh Megillah has been in existence I have received several items from members of our family of readers, some of which have already appeared in the Megillah. However, there is one man who has become a fount of material worthy of publication.

Robert H. Stern has been a Gantseh Megillah subscriber since day one of first appearing on the World Wide Web. After saving his submissions in a separate folder for several months, I decided it was time to introduce the entire “Gantseh Megillah” family to the wit and humour of this thoughtful gentleman. Therefore, with just a couple of exceptions, all of the articles presented in the July issue of the “Megillah” have been taken from the contributions of Mr. Stern. It is my hope that by reading Bob’s lively submissions, more of you will be inspired to send me some work of your own. It is my pleasure to present the ideas and experiences of the various members of our family, for what better way is there for all of us to get to know each other.

Please, sit down, relax, have a glass tea (iced, of course) and meet Bob Stern and the rest of the July “Megillah.”
My love to all of you,

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