Here’s To You, Pal

…one last time


The Roscoe Tapes

In a bit shy of 60 days, it will be the 14th anniversary of the death of our first dog, Roscoe. It will also be time for me to see, for maybe the 100th time, if I am ready to listen to his memoirs. Right now, I’m not sure if I am. Hearing the last words of a person’s voice is a hell of a thing. You feel all sorts of emotions, but the big one comes at the end. You feel great sorrow knowing that that was it. There will be no more messages, no more sound of their voice that you have not heard before. In a way, it puts a stamp on their death that says “Memories Only From Now On”.

About a month before he died, Roscoe finished his memoirs. He used a cassette recorder because that was years before the Bus, Sasha and Ottopus arms. To write, he would have needed a tricked out typewriter. Speaking into a microphone was easier and much faster.

When he finished the last tape, he came to me and said, “I’m done, boss. Put them somewhere safe and when I’m gone and you finally can do it, listen to them. Make ’em public if you want, I don’t care. It’s 50% of the damndest story you’ll ever hear. Now excuse me, but I need a double scotch neat.”

33 days later, he was dead. It took 4 years before I even really thought about the tapes. In that time, we had gained two dogs, lost one of them to cancer and adopted another, all on top of the curveballs life throws at you. When I did think of them, it was just to say, “nope, not yet.”

On the 10th anniversary, I actually opened the box, then shut it. About a week later, I had Sasha take the tapes and digitize them. The file “The Roscoe Tapes”, has been on all of my computers ever since. Many times, my cursor has hovered just above the “play” icon, but I haven’t clicked it. The only person who ever did listen to it was Silky, the day after she found out her days were numbered. We know that she cried and laughed while she listened, but she never said anything to anyone about the content.

Anyway, I think it might be time to hit “play”. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the old hound told what happened to him over the course of several lives, starting with his first one on his Earth during WWII. Having heard Silky’s story, I’m very curious to hear Roscoe’s, even though it will hurt like hell to have it finish.

So on May 23rd, at 9:45 am, the moment he left this life, I’ll sit on one of the sofas on the bus, put on my headphones and hit “play”. Jeeves will hand me a glass and a bottle of the good stuff and I’ll spend the next 15 hours listening to my old pal tell 50% of the damnedest story I’ll ever hear. No doubt I will laugh and cry more than a few times.

NOTE FROM MAY 22, 2020: Tomorrow is the 15th anniversary of Roscoe’s death. We found out a couple of weeks ago that the NHTA wanted to publish a combined book of his and Silky’s memoirs, which we all agreed to let them do. It will come out tomorrow. The title? “The Damndest Story You Will Ever Hear.” It is going to make headlines.