I had a dream about him last night. It has been nearly three decades since he died, but there he was. Alive. We met in some kind of diner. A breakfast joint. Maybe this was heaven?

He was running late, I was already sitting in a booth, sipping coffee. When he arrived, his first words were: “Did you miss me?”

“No,” I said.

He studied my face to see if I was joking. He could tell I wasn’t.

I couldn’t quit staring at him. My God, it really was my father. He looked good, too. Slender, red hair, tucked-in shirt, slacks. I’d gone so long without seeing him that I’d forgotten what he looked like.

But it only takes a moment to bring it all back. I could even smell his trademarked hair oil. The day after he died I confiscated his pillow and it was covered in this same scent. I slept on that pillow for five years.

“You really didn’t miss me?” he said. There was that easy smile of his. He wasn’t offended.

“No,

I really didn’t miss you.”

He ordered a Coke. And I suddenly remembered that he always drank Coca-Cola. He never was a coffee drinker. Hated the stuff. Just one of the many things I’d forgotten.

Then I started thinking about the differences between us. There were hundreds of them.

For example: he was always well-dressed, whereas I always looked like I crawled from beneath a Chevy. He was a hard worker; I sleep in on weekdays. Everyone called him “handsome”; nobody has ever ascribed that word to me. He was a planner; there is nothing I love more than cancelled plans.

When he was alive, he expected great things from me, but I failed to deliver. From a young age I knew within my kid brain that I would never accomplish the things he hoped for me.

I’m not saying I disappointed him,…

Last night, amidst the biting Michigan cold, a baby was born at 10:03 P.M. And while none of the major news outlets or camera crews had reason to tell you about this average birth, in an average town, in an average hospital, the baby’s family doesn’t feel it was average.

The baby’s name is Kristen. And this was a happy night for her family. Kristen’s dad, for example, took 3,122,391 cellphone pictures of Kristen within the first five minutes of her life. Which is very different from how things were done when I was born shortly after the Civil War. We had delivery-room sketch artists.

I talked to Kristen’s father this morning. He was emotional on the phone. In fact, he was all-out crying about the birth of his first child. He blew his nose loudly and said, “This is the happiest day of my life.”

It’s too bad the newspeople didn’t tell you about it. Maybe they were busy.

Also, it’s a shame nobody told you about Hilary’s dog, Dingo. Last night in Albuquerque, Hilary’s

dog passed away.

A little about Dingo: He was golden colored. He loved eating corn chips, pizza, carrots, Jergens Ultra-Healing Moisture Lotion, and expensive electronics. He was a very special animal.

Dingo watched Hilary graduate high school when he was a puppy. He saw Hilary into college. He was around when she got married. He was also beside her when her first husband walked out on her. Dingo, the Lab-mix with the big smile, was the one who helped carry Hilary into adulthood. He deserved a headline or two.

Hilary knew on Friday that something wasn’t right with Dingo when he started having multiple accidents indoors. It was bad. Pancreatitis. Hilary made the decision no pet owner wants to make. They put Dingo down.

“I just wanted someone to know about the best dog in the world,” wrote Hilary.

So now you do.

Meanwhile,…

I am digging a hole in my backyard. I’m doing this for many reasons. Namely, because it’s a pandemic and I’m stuck at home. Sometimes people who are stuck at home go batty and start digging holes for no explainable reason.

I’m also digging because this hole is going to be a rose garden. I love roses, and I’ve always wanted to try growing them. My Aunt Eulah often used to say, “I’d rather have roses on my table than gold in my pocket.”

One year ago if you had told me I’d be digging a rose garden I would’ve choked on my chili dog. Because before the pandemic I never had time for roses, I was always busy. I was usually on the road, visiting places, meeting new people, or eating cholesterol in distant airports. It was the life of a writer, and it was my life.

But now I’m at home all the time and the most active thing I do is take my dogs for potty walks. Which is a

frustrating task because one of my dogs refuses to pee on a leash. And it’s very important to make her “go,” otherwise this dog’s bladder will reach red-alert status and there will be a nuclear accident on our kitchen floor.

So my life has become uneventful. Finding material for columns has also gotten harder because most things I write about are things I read about. And most of what I read comes in the form of emails, personal letters, and messages. I get a lot of emails.

Used to, the majority of these messages were happy and encouraging. But as the pandemic raged forward the messages got angrier and more negative. Some of the comments became downright cruel. One guy told me I had a face shaped like a “football covered in hair.”

You almost have to admire that kind of verbal creativity.

Of course I also…