Little Rock, Ark.
April 19, 2020
It sure has been fun getting to talk to you on FaceTime. Your mom has been calling me about twice a week and that makes it easier for me to see you growing.
You weighed 6 pounds, 12 ounces when you were born, and I think you had dropped off to about 6 pounds when I came down to Austin to see you. Mom said you weighed 11 pounds, 2 ounces when you went to the doctor three weeks ago.
My first time to see you was Wednesday, Jan. 29, when you were 4 days old. You were 6 days old when I came by your house to see you again before I left Austin to go back home.
I live in Little Rock, Arkansas. My house, where I live with my dog, Gibby, is 501 miles from your house in Texas. It took me about seven hours and 30 minutes to drive there when I visited you.
Gibby is a Lhasa Apso. He will be 3 years old on Aug. 24. When he came to live here in December 2017, my wife, Nancy, was here, too. We had lived here together since 2004. She got sick with leukemia and died in January 2019.
You would have loved her. She was really excited when your mom told us they might have a baby. Because her name was Nancy, you might have called her “Nanny,” or something like that.
During the day, Gibby sleeps on two big cushions stacked in front of the television set (TV). Sometimes, he runs through the house for fun. Then he jumps up on the bottom of the recliner, the chair where I sit, and curls into a ball next to my leg.
In the morning, I put Gibby on a leash and we go for a walk up the hill and around the circle at the top of our street. I walk at the edge of the street and Gibby sniffs around the front yard of each house as we go by. Then we walk back.
Each afternoon, we go into the back yard to enjoy the fresh air. I sit at the patio table in the middle of the yard and listen to the birds chirping and flying from tree to tree. Then I read a book or magazine for a while. Gibby watches the squirrels run across the top of our fence and barks at them. He thinks he can catch them, but they are just teasing him by running near him.
After he gets tired of that, he wanders around the yard, sniffing at different things and picking up a stick that might have fallen from the trees. Finally, he lies on the ground next to me, until he spots another squirrel.
When we go to bed at night, I sleep under the covers. Gibby sleeps on top of them, at the foot of my bed.
I realize that some of these letters you’ll be reading when you get older, even though you may already have heard them from Mom or Dad when they were first written. They will teach you how to read.
One last thing: Great music is one of the wonders of the world we live in. I’m going to introduce you to a song or musical artist as we begin getting to know each other through these letters. Some letters may not have one, but most will.
First up in Great Music: “Stand By Me,” by Ben. E. King (1961). It’s a great song about friendship and loyalty. Have Mom or Dad play it for you. Like most great rock ’n’ roll songs, it has a strong bass line running through it. King wrote it along with legendary songwriters, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.
King was the first person to have a hit with the song, but it’s been recorded more than 400 times. John Lennon, who used to be in the Beatles, released a nice version in 1975. Playing for Change, a musical group, released a wonderful video of the song from their 2009 album. It shows singers and musicians from all over the world singing it. The most recent version that I like is by Florence + the Machine, released in 2016.
Goodbye for now, my sweet girl.