From the Editor in Chief: Retrieving Clarity

Friends Old, New, and Soon to Be,

It’s the day following Father’s Day as I write this, just another Monday governed by the to-do lists I transpose from one calendar page to the next. But today also brought the settling of a month’s worth of silt in my stream of consciousness, my thoughts finally accreting sufficiently as to create a pool worth casting into. 

I’ve been thinking of mothers and fathers and what it is to watch a child grow. Counting down the years remaining with our daughter under our roof is a passage marked by lightning-bolt-sudden realizations and wistful sighs. It’s awe-inspiring watching someone you once scooped into your arms as a remedy for most of her ills become interested in matters vastly more complex than princesses and pirates. But it’s also easy to increasingly wonder about my relevance as she becomes ever more aware of all the world holds. As often happens, working with my Labrador Jed clarified muddy waters.

Jed and I train for duck season year-round. I don’t think I could gain any more insight about myself and my frailties if I spent the same amount of time staring at my navel and contemplating my oneness with the universe. Today’s revelation came as we’ve been working on angle retrieves, a big step fraught with mistakes by both of us. Conscious that even a breed congenitally enthusiastic about what their people want can burn out, I decided to have Jed work a single “blind” pile of bumpers set a football field away. It’s a simple drill he knows well, and it builds his confidence for harder scenarios like angles. 

We went early when it was still cool, and Jed was enthusiastic. But the runs were long, his returns more leisurely than normal. I chalked it up to heat and humidity, but on the fourth of six runs, I shouted to him when he was halfway back to me, “Good dog! Here, here, here, Jed!” As I cheered for him, he picked up his pace. 

Watching Jed respond to my encouragement, I flashed to my growing daughter and knew what I wanted to tell you this month. No matter how fast she becomes more of an individual, she still needs her Dad. She needs room to run. She also needs protection, a receptive ear, and someone to cheer for her when things get hard. 

I know that if I close my eyes too long, I will open them to find her waving in the distance. So, I’m here, child. I’m here and I always will be.


Russell Worth Parker 
Editor-in-Chief, Tom Beckbe