Twenty years ago, John Squad enlisted in the United States Army.
Eight years ago, Sergeant Squad’s unit was sent on a top-secret mission that went worse than bad, further than south, more crooked than sideways. The extraction force never came and Squad’s men were gunned down to the last, on the run through a Central American jungle. All except Squad.
When Squad came to, the voices of his men lived on, inside his head.
“Never leave a man behind,” they say.
That’s a mixed bag of advice.
You can make many useful judgements about a book based on its cover, but some of these will not be fully or even largely accurate. Further, many books contain much that it is difficult if not impossible to learn from their covers. This also applies to most things whose appearance is not equal to their content.
Rest in Peace, Abby
We rescued Abby from a city shelter in Gardena, California, in February 2001. A volunteer had taken her picture, written about her sweet temperament, and posted the information on a website maintained by a rescue group.
The vet told us that she was about a year old, so we decided that her birthday was Valentine’s Day. She didn’t come with a name so Stacey picked out Abby, because it means “joy.”
Abby liked to eat peanut butter and tuna fish the very most, followed closely by everything else, with the exception of vegetables, which were delicately spit back out when their true nature was discovered.
Abby knew the cheerful sound that our first Tivo made when a show was over. At night, this was the cue for her bedtime walk, so she came running at the noise.
Abby was usually the second Tidball to wake up; she’d come to find me at my desk and put her paw on my leg to let me know that, “Hello! It’s time to eat!”
We lived lots of places with Abby, but I think that her favorite must have been our hilltop house on Vista Superba street in Los Angeles, where she had free run of a deck and back yard with an incredible view that I still miss, too. She loved to lay in the sun on the deck there and sleep, panting hard in the heat.
Abby’s been with Stacey and I almost as long as we’ve been married, and Edward and Adam have never known a Tidball family without her in it.
It turns out that there’s a part of my attention that used to keep thoughtless track of where the dog was. That confused part of my mind is making the house feel strange and empty now, without Abby in it.
Rest in peace, good girl. We’ll plant a tree for you, and remember you forever.
Rest in Peace,