This past weekend Chef Lady and I had to say goodbye to our faithful foodie companion of the last 12 years… our beloved golden retriever, Jackson Finn. What a grand, sweet old soul he was. He loved us almost as much as he loved ice cream, and that’s really all that we could have asked of him. Jackson was a foodie in his own right, just not with quite the same standards as ours.
Jackson loved to cook and could be found in the kitchen with me each and every time I prepared a meal for our little family. He was adept at cleaning the floor which came in quite handy, as I am a very messy cook. He saw us through three different restaurants over the years, and lived his life on a restaurateur’s schedule, patiently waiting for his dinner at ten or eleven o’clock every night. He understood when we were too tired to walk him between the lunch and dinner shift, and lived for Sundays, when we could all sleep in and stay home together all day.
Jackson was an omnivore. Lettuce, (even iceberg!) radishes, jalapenos, celery, garlic, onions… there was nothing he wouldn’t gobble down if it hit the floor. While Chef Lady, whose standards are higher than all of ours put together, would rid the cabinets and fridge of what she deemed to be less-than-fresh crackers, breads, fruits, meats and cheeses, Jackson would watch mournfully as each item hit the trash can, his expression seeming to say, “I totally would have eaten that…”
Jackson was also an opportunist of the highest degree. We once came home from a very long day and night in the height of the Christmas season to find what had been a bountiful platter of at least five dozen assorted Christmas cookies reduced to crumbs, slobber and tin foil. Another holiday (Easter perhaps?) we were running errands with Jackson in the car and had purchased three one-pound boxes of toffee and turtles from our local candy kitchen for gifts. One quick stop to pick up a bouquet of flowers was all the time he needed to devour all three pounds. Panicked, we called the vet… was three pounds of chocolate a lethal dose for a puppy??? The vet couldn’t be sure; we should watch him closely. Not only was he fine, but also begging for dinner by the time we got home.
Back in the days when we ran an inn, Jackson was sometimes allowed to come to work with us. He was in his glory; the mayor of the place. He loved to swim in the pool and greeted every guest as if they were long lost grade school pals. His tenure at the inn was cut short, however, after the day when his love of muffins got the better of him and he ran into the forbidden territory of the dining room, snatched a guest’s entire breakfast off the table (hard-boiled egg, shell and all) and gobbled it down in the foyer.
But the glee on his face, the pure, unmitigated joy he found in eating made it hard to punish him. I sometimes see the same look on the faces of our guests at The Restaurant the first time they taste Chef Lady’s Wasabi Pea Encrusted Salmon.
Rest in peace, fellow foodie. You shared our love of food, people and fun, and joyfully welcomed us home every night, even if we were too tired to pet you. You will be missed but never forgotten.