Not long ago – and wonderfully clear in memory – Bix, the Mississippi mudhound, was a rock star.
I take partial credit, in that writing about him in the Mighty Daily Journal expanded his legend.
“If not my gut,” Bix said.
Brenda Robinson was principal at Thomas Street Elementary School, where my daughter got her first official dose of book-learning.
Robinson read my column and knew about Bix’s antics. She also saw him when my wife and Bix walked Olivia to school.
At the end of the school year, Robinson wanted to treat her students, so she invited the Mississippi mudhound to give the performance of his life.
Bix still loves ball, but now there’s a price to pay whenever he plays it. On the following day, he’s just about good for nothing.
But in those flexible, springy days six or seven years ago …
You’ll seldom see the enthusiasm my daughter’s classmates witnessed, as they each threw the ball and watched Bix charge after and return the spittle-coated thing with his tail waging, tongue lolling and lungs panting.
“I could go forever back then,” Bix said.
What I admire about Bix …
“You mean, ‘One of the many things I admire about Bix,’” he prompted.
One of the many things I admire about Bix is his reaction to failure. He doesn’t get upset by a dropped ball. He simply goes after it until he gets it. I hope those kids learned from Bix’s energetic example.
He teaches a different lesson now. If he drops the ball, he checks if I’ll get it before he puts in the effort. That’s working smarter, not harder.
I don’t begrudge him, and I sometimes get the ball for him, even though I’m often just about good for nothing, depending on atmospheric conditions.
I actually wasn’t there for Bix’s big rock star moment, and I’m kind of glad because I can conjure up my own images of what happened with help from descriptions provided by my wife and daughter, as well as Robinson.
My memories of those events are vivid and bright. I can’t make out the faces of individual children, but I feel the spirit of that glorious day. Like any aging rock star, Bix still has fans.
He gets a shout-out every now and then, when he makes regular walks to sniff things out and leave his mark.
And I always pass along the comments from Mighty Daily Journal readers, but he doesn’t react much to what he hears.
Maybe the attention embarrasses him, or he’s developed a mistrust of the media.
I hope it’s not the latter. The media allow us to put Healthy Weight Beneful in his bowl.
By the way, my wife says a plastic ball-throwing device was used, so kids’ hands weren’t made grimy at Thomas Street, though this knowledge kills some of my memories of the day.
M. Scott Morris is a Daily Journal feature writer. Contact him at (662) 678-1589 or firstname.lastname@example.org.