A memory of Max

Several years ago I read an article in the New York Times where they asked retiring superintendents in the Midwest what they dreaded the most. To the reporter they replied "making snow day calls."

After almost four decades of dealing with weather adversity in New England and Central New York, I identify with the Michigan superintendents, especially this winter. In fact, several years ago, after opening when I should have closed, I wrote the column that follows:

"A few weeks ago, in discussing my failure to accurately predict the weather this past winter, I wrote that one of our parents had gotten my attention when he wanted to know if Max, our very small miniature schnauzer, was calling weather shots. He might as well have. I concluded the column by stating that Max would be off to Penn State in the fall to study meteorology.

Since then, I received some calls from folks who wanted to know how Max got to Penn State without any formal high school program. Reluctantly, I must admit that Max has been homebound for some time, working one-on-one with a very patient tutor. Max has embarrassed himself and his family on a number of occasions due to his inability to follow proper training standards. In other words, Max does not always act as one would expect from such a talented canine when it comes to being house-broken.

In my column, I wrote that Joe Pa could always use another wide receiver when Max arrived at Penn State in August. The problem with Max, though, was that once he caught the ball, he didn't give it back and just kept on running.

I also expressed concern that Max would be lonely at Penn State. I suggested that maybe we could get a scholarship for his nephew, Alex, a venerable blue point Siamese cat. I remembered reading somewhere that that one college even gave a scholarship to a sibling just to entice the star player they were after. I couldn't imagine anything like that. But if that were true, would they offer a scholarship to a nephew?

Finally, I concluded that Max was "really getting excited about going to State College. In fact, every night when Dave Eichorn comes on, he focuses on the Doppler and appears to understand its real value, whatever that might be."

Max and Alex, have been gone too many years, but their spirit and memories live on.

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