Posts Tagged ‘Miss ABBA’

How Can Two Years Seem Like Forever & Yesterday?

Time.  There’s so much of it, but we never really have enough of it in life.


In song, there’s “Time After Time”, “Time (Clock Of The Heart), “Time Is On My Side”, “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is”, “I’ve Had The Time of My Life” and “If I Could Turn Back Time”.

If I could turn back time, like Cher, would I go back 731 days (or roughly 17,544 hours) to February 3, 2012, when I kissed you goodbye for the last time and held you as you took your last breath?


Or, would I go back 4,955 days or roughly 7.1 million minutes to July 11, 2000 and to that little country llama farm in Tuscarawas County, Ohio, where I said, “the first little girl golden retriever that walks over to me would become ‘ABBA’.”

ABBA July 2000

From the summer of 2000 when I ripped you away from your mother and father, Dolly and Fletcher, and all of your brothers and sisters when you were 7-weeks-old to that unseasonably warm, early February morning two years ago when I said my tear-filled last goodbyes to my best friend, we had a whirlwind life together.

We traveled from that farm and made our home in Youngstown, Ohio, Chicago, Illinois, Salisbury, Maryland, and Moline, Illinois.  We took road trips back to Ohio, to New York, to Kentucky, and to Ontario, Canada.


Miss ABBA, it’s been two years today since you traveled over the “rainbow bridge”.  I think about you a thousand times a day.  I say goodnight to you every night and I touch the urn that sits by my bed.  I’ve made peace with you not being here, but I know you’re looking down upon me and after me, just as I did for you for almost twelve years.

I no longer cry when thoughts of you cross my mind or I see a golden retriever walking down the street, on television, or in a magazine.  I smile and I think of how goofy you were and how much joy (and, on occasion, frustration) you brought me.

ABBAreenactmentABBA Christmas 2009   ABBAGAGA2011ABBAFashionShowJan2012

Our life together was filled with so much happiness and solitude.  You were aloof, but so observant.

I remember your first snow in Ohio when you were just months old.  You walked outside and barked at the snow-covered yard.  It wasn’t the brown, dead frozen grass you saw the night before when you went out before bedtime.  You loved the snow so much and I think of you every time the flakes start to fall.  You really would have loved this winter!

ABBA -- January 11, 2012ABBAsledding1252010 ABBAdemandingsled

I remember all those walks along Lake Michigan when most dogs were running with their people and you’d just sit and watch the world go by.  Or, when we’d go to granny’s house in Ohio after driving all day and the minute you were out of the car, you’d be in the pool or how you’d race from the car and into Spirit Lake when we’d visit Ray’s parents in northwestern Iowa.


I remember your apprehension at taking your first boat ride as an “old lady”, but then after that, you’d be standing at the boat waiting to go back out!

You were a sweetheart!  And, what a trooper.  After being diagnosed with cancer in late March 2011 and given two to three months to live without surgery, chemo, and radiation, you defied the odds.  Spring turned into summer, summer turned into fall, and fall back into winter.  You were there for our wedding and you were there to see it snow again and make “snow angels”.

It’s even hard to believe now that you were making snow angels and running down the snow-covered streets on that Saturday and then six days later you were gone.

However, I’m blessed that after making peace with your diagnosis and the short time we’d have left, we were blessed with ten more months together.

But, I’ll never forgot that last 24 hours when you took the turn for the worse and I knew it was time.  Lying on the bed as you snored loudly and I comforted you, instead of letting the tears flow, I let my thoughts pour out onto paper:

The fog hangs in the air shrouding the light, not only in the sky, but in your eyes

You look lost and just want to sleep with me close by your side

I listen to you breathe and each breath sounds deeper

Is it the end or just a peaceful sleep

As I caress your neck and shoulder blades,

You snore even louder as I try harder to hold back the tears

I don’t want you to hear me cry,

I want you to let go and not fight for me

You’ve been there for me all your life

And I want to be there for you now, my love.

My best friend


You found peace and comfort in life, except in thunderstorms or when you heard fireworks.  It took me some time find that peace after you went to “puppy heaven”, but the reflections of our life together is as beautiful now as it is in this picture of you in Ohio.

While I may celebrate birthdays with Madonna in Las Vegas or dinner in Paris, I’ll never forget that last warm birthday in 2011 when we got to spend all day outside playing together.


And, that last Halloween of you in our makeshift graveyard will live on with me with the tattoo I got a couple of months after you went away.

ABBA Inspiration For TattooAnthony ABBA Tattoo

ABBA, I may not be able to hold you and kiss you, but you’re always with me.  Thank you, my friend, for everything.


Daddy A

May 22, 2000-February 3, 2012

Your Memory Brings Less Tears & More Smiles One Year Later

Since February 3, 2012, 366 days, or 8,784 hours, or 527,040 minutes, or 3,1622,400 seconds have passed.  That’s easily measured.  However, in that same time period, I can’t count the number of times that I’ve thought about Miss ABBA.  It was one year ago today, after her courageous fight with cancer, that our beautiful golden walked over the “Rainbow Bridge” away from us and I lost my best friend of almost 12 years.

ABBAAnthonyBD20112009 Family Christmas

For those of you that followed Miss ABBA and our life in person, on Facebook, or in my blog, you know she led a spoiled, beautiful life.

If you’re unfamiliar, here’s some of what I wrote January 28, 2012:  In late March of 2011, I discovered a tumor on Miss ABBA that was unlike the “fatty tissue” tumors that are common in older, larger breed dogs.  Her veterinarian examined her and made arrangements to put her under to do x-rays.  He called and told me the x-ray confirmed his suspicions that the cancer had already started metastasizing.  He could remove it, but since it had spread to the lymph nodes, it would be a painful process that would require more surgeries to remove the lymph nodes, in addition to chemotherapy and radiation.

“Those surgeries and the recovery would take place over several painful months and it might buy Miss ABBA another year.  Without surgery, chemo, and radiation, she would live about two to three months.  I made the painful decision to let it be and make sure she had the most enjoyable two to three months on top of the wonderful almost 11 years we had already shared together.”

Spring turned into summer and Miss ABBA celebrated her 11th birthday.  Summer turned into fall and fall into winter and Miss ABBA was still around for our wedding, our reception, and her first snow of the winter of 2011-2012.

On the morning of January 28, 2012, Miss ABBA and I went on a walk and she enjoyed the 0.9″ of snow that had fallen overnight by making snow angels.

The next day, I noticed that her back leg had swollen several times its normal size and I called the doctor Monday.  After a visit, he confirmed that the lymph nodes were being attacked and that she probably would lose the fight this time.

Four days later (and ten months after being given two to three months to live without ever getting outwardly sick), Miss ABBA became disoriented on a walk.  As the day progressed, she became lethargic and slept the rest of the day and I knew the end was near.  While Ray was at work and Gretel was at school, I laid on the bed with her caressing my beautiful golden.  Lying there, I had to hold back the tears because I didn’t want her to be concerned with me and I knew that she would have looked up to see what was wrong.

I grabbed a notebook and just let these words spill onto the page without thinking about what I was writing:

ABBA letter 001

Here’s the translation if you can’t read my tear-stained letter or my handwriting!

ABBA: My Best Friend

The fog hangs in the air shrouding the light, not only in the sky, but in your eyes

You look lost and just want to sleep with me close by your side

I listen to you breathe and each breath sounds deeper

Is it the end or just a peaceful sleep

As I caress your neck and shoulder blades,

You snore even louder as I try harder to hold back the tears

I don’t want you to hear me cry,

I want you to let go and not fight for me

You’ve been there for me all your life

And I want to be there for you now, my love.

 ABBA SleepingABBA Afternoon Sunshine

After napping on the bed, she spent part of the afternoon on the sun porch allowing the golden rays of sunshine to warm her sleeping body.  That evening, I bought her one of her favorites, a McDonald’s double cheeseburger and she ate it like there was no tomorrow.  And, for her, there was only a few hours of tomorrow left!

ABBA Last Hamburger

After dinner, she went on a walk and was energetic and even carried my glove home.  I began to think that I was wrong for thinking the end was near.  However, her restlessness that night and not being able to walk the next morning confirmed that we had to make the decision not to let our baby girl suffer.

I told Gretel before she went to school to talk to Miss ABBA because she might not be there when she came home in the afternoon.  Once Gretel was at school, it was time for that fateful R-I-D-E.  I always had to spell the word “ride” because ABBA would get so excited to go anywhere in the car.  That morning, she had to be carried.

February 3 2012 Daddy A & ABBA

And, I held onto my baby when she went to sleep in my arms and she walked over the “Rainbow Bridge”.  Miss ABBA lived every day to the fullest and she would never have to worry about anything else on Earth.

One year later, I think of her many times every day.  Except for tearing up while writing this, I smile when I think of her now.  I miss her, but I’ve made peace with her absence.  Her urn still rests on my night stand by the bed.  I’m still not ready to put her in the curio cabinet with the urn of my chow chow, Keshia, that died in 1998.

Miss ABBA, you’re in our hearts and in our memories forever.  And, we even had a double cheeseburger last night for a snack and I’ll have one every February 2nd in your memory. 🙂

Here is a video tribute I made for Miss ABBA.


Anthony, Ray, & Gretel


May 22, 2000-February 3, 2012

New Year and Happy Thoughts

Happy New Year!

If you had a great 2012, I hope 2013 is even better for you.  If 2012 was just okay, I hope 2013 is wonderful.  And, if 2012 left a lot to be desired, here’s to a better year ahead.

While I lost Miss ABBA in early 2012 and my career late in the year, I had many things in the past year to be thankful for and I’m ready for new adventures in 2013.

Sydney 2013

Sydney, Australia was one of the first places in the world to ring in the new year in style.  We watched the ball drop with Ryan Seacrest and Jenny McCarthy and Ray made us a nice spread before the East Coast celebration.


I’m going to try to keep the new year simple.  One of the biggest flaws I have in life is not living for today and always planning ahead.

In 2013, I have no cruises or vacations planned, except for Lady Gaga in Las Vegas in three weeks.  Since I planned this in 2012, it doesn’t count.



Professionally, I have nothing to report.  But, then again, I didn’t expect to since I had planned on taking November and December off all along.   So, at this time, I’m not concerned about it.  I know something good will come my way in the next couple of months.

Since I was told on Halloween that my contract would not be renewed, my commitment to WQAD (as a product) diminished to zero.  While I wish my friends there, even the ones I haven’t heard from since I was let go, the very best in 2013, I would be lying if I said I didn’t want the station’s ratings to drop.

While I haven’t watched the station since my dismissal, several of my friends have brought to my attention that they’ve had a couple of women filling in on the weather.  I gather they’re both freelance weathercasters.  When I was let go, I was told it was for financial reasons and the loss of the local Fox newscast to KWQC, the Quad Cities’ most watched and dominant news station.

I took that explanation as the truth, but people are speculating that there is more to the story.  Who knows, they could be right and there might be more to the story.  For now, I’ll take management’s word on my dismissal with a grain of salt because I really don’t want to lose any sleep over it.  However, if they hire a fourth weathercaster then it would be pretty clear that their reason for letting me go was a lie.

So, friends, don’t let it bother you either unless there’s something new to report.


As you know from this blog and my posts on Facebook, I love to write.  It’s not all serious and political with an agenda.  I do it as an avenue to express myself and try to ignite change in America and the world one person at a time.  You don’t always have to agree with me.  When you don’t, let me know — politely.  I’ll continue writing my blog in 2013.  Actually, the one-year anniversary is coming up next Monday!

Back in the mid-1990s, I began writing my autobiography.  However, as my television career took off, I stopped writing it a couple of years later.  I did a good job covering a portion of four decades.  So, why would I start writing a story of my life?  While I never bought into that whole “celebrity” thing while working as a news and weather person, I do think that everyone’s life is worthy of being remembered.  I started it for me and for my closest friends and family members.  It’s a testament of my life and what events, large or small, shaped me into the man I am today.  Some of them are common knowledge and some are private.

I need to start writing it again.  Since I stopped in 1997, so many amazing things have happened in my life that I have to talk about — Miss ABBA, Ray, and Gretel.

Also, in college, I wrote a one-hour “screenplay”, with me in mind in the lead role since I had acted on stage in several theatrical productions at Murray State University.  The biggest play I did was a three-night performance of “The Curious Savage” by John Patrick.  I played Jeffrey, a young military pilot shot down in the war and is traumatized and thinks he has a scar on his face, which he constantly hides from others.  Oh, he’s a patient at the Cloisters, a sanatorium.  (It was dramatic, but not as crazy as “American Horror Story:  Asylum”!)

The Curious Savage

While that  1980s “screenplay” will never see the light of day, since I moved back to Chicago in 2002, I’ve been wanting to write and submit a short story about Lake Michigan called “Ice”.  I think this is the year that needs to be approached again.

I don’t need a fortune cookie to look toward the future.  I’m excited about it.


As you recall, last spring and summer, Ray and I started taking healthy eating and exercise seriously and the results were amazing.  He lost about 30 pounds and I lost 25.  Other than losing the excess weight we had gained since meeting almost four years ago, he wanted to look better for his 30th high school reunion and I wanted to fit into the shirt I bought for my October Madonna birthday concert in Las Vegas.  Seriously? 🙂

Ray Young


Well, since those two events, we’ve been very naughty.  We’ve indulged in countless buffets, we eat junk whenever we want, we haven’t been faithful to the treadmill, and we lie to  So, it should come as no surprise that when we got on the scale this morning, we’ve both gained back 20 pounds.  In all honestly, it was fun to lose it and it was fun eating and gaining most of it back.  It also gives us the motivation to get back on track.  After all, Gaga is just weeks away!

After our New Year’s feast today (Ray and Tammy are cooking while Gretel and I go see “Rise of The Guardians” with a large popcorn), we’ll be shedding the weight in the weeks to come.



My friends, I wish you the very best in 2013.  I know that several of us have faced harsh financial setbacks and have lost loved ones (including pets — I consider them people, too) in the past year.

I’m not being mean when I say this, but it’s part of life and I want to quote the song and message that got me through the dark days after my mother’s death in November 1990 and Miss ABBA’s passing last February, “For My Broken Heart” by Reba McEntire:

“Last night I prayed the Lord my soul to keep/Then I cried myself to sleep/So sure life wouldn’t go on without you/But oh this sun is blinding me/As it wakes me from the dark/I guess the world didn’t stop/For my broken heart.”

My friends and loved ones, let’s try to smile more in 2013, let’s reach out to each other more, and let’s focus on the good and not let the bad dominate our lives.

“May hope and faith conquer fear and hate” in this new year and in the years to come.


P.S.  It might be working.  I haven’t said a cuss word or kidded or told a fib in almost 10 hours.  Granted, I was asleep much of that time.  But, it’s a start….