Tag Archives: Here We Go Joe

Memories from the Red Couch

Carl didn’t realize when he plopped his body up on the red vinyl surface and made himself comfortable that he was adding to the memories that had already existed from sitting on the bold red couch. IMG_3759

This particular piece of furniture had been bought as a pair and first made its way into our lives when my father in law, Joe, had purchased it over a decade ago. When I first saw the pair positioned in his living area, I was a little taken back by the color.  But as time went by, I began to feel a fondness for the bold red couch.

Many kinds of memories have been created from the red couch. When Joe had been diagnosed with lung cancer and my husband and I were catapulted back into his life, many a night was spent sitting on the red couch watching an array of shows like Mash or Columbo.  But when the time came when Joe had to be moved against his wishes, I had to have one of the hardest conversations I have ever had while sitting on the red vinyl couch.

Once all of Joe’s valued possessions were selected to be moved, this piece of furniture made its way to the small sitting area that was then his new residence. Many days Joe sat on the couch as he watched his television or waved to the new neighbors that walked past his open doorway. New friends and old ones came to visit and sat on the red couch until one Friday afternoon when Joe took his last breath.

So now the couch has made its way to our garage where happier memories are being formed. Instead of memories laced with sadness, the piece of furniture is a place where people sit to watch sports on TV or grandchildren playing on scooters and bicycles. My husband even pulled it out onto the carport the day of the eclipse and called Carl to join him as they both peered into the sky. IMG_2160

Carl has now found a place on one of the cushions to place his body when everyone finds their way into the garage. Instead of sitting on the cold floor, he jumps up and finds his place that everyone assumes has always been his.

No one knows what will ever come of the red couch. Hopefully, many more memories will be created that will extend for years to come. Time will only tell. But until the couch is taken to the dump or handed down to someone else, it will serve as a reminder of the past and point us to the future.

To learn more about my father in law, Joe, please read my book, Here We Go Joe.


The Power of a Voice

Carl has been screeching for some reason for the last couple of minutes. It may be that he wants my attention or that he wants to be fed.  But for whatever reason, his familiar voice can be clearly heard by everyone in proximity of our home.

Everyone who lives close to us, knows this voice.  Whenever he pitches up, I am sure they say, “That has to be Carl.”


We all have a distinct voice if you think about it. Each of us have a different sound that comes out when we speak. Some of us can be identified as soon as we open our mouths, while others may not be as easily recognized.

Joe, my deceased father-in-law, has one of those distinct voices that could be clearly identified, even after two years of his departure from this earth.  So when my sister-in-law placed her phone up to my ear and let me hear a message from the past, I knew without a doubt that it was him.

Joe and Ellie 7-3

It was after listening to him ramble about the need for toothpaste and how if he didn’t get it,  he would have to retreat to soap, that I began to laugh at the memories of his final days. I was surprised at the inward feelings that arose from hearing his familiar voice. Emotions spurred by the events that took place between he and I.  Some fond and some downright draining.

I was startled by the uprising of sentiment from hearing his voice. Startled that after so many months that my heart still hurt for this man that was such an important part of my life.

But if I was emotionally stirred when hearing my father-in-law’s voice, I can’t imagine how the disciples must have felt when they heard the voice of Jesus, days after he had died on the cross.

The voice that they had heard on the mountainside as He preached the words to the multitudes.  The voice that they knew when He reached out to the lepers and spoke the words, “ I am willing, be clean.” Matthew 8:3.

His disciples must have also been moved  when He looked deep into their eyes and pulled off a piece of bread from the loaf and stated, “Take, eat, this is my body.” Matthew 26:26.

But as moving as all of these times were,  it must have been when they heard his voice after the resurrection that consumed them with emotion.  A heart throbbing emotion that would take them to their knees and place a motivation in their hearts to follow Him into eternity.

It is this voice that I want to hear one day.  The voice the disciples heard so many years ago. The voice that Paul heard on the road to Damascus. But most important to us, the voice that will say when we see Him in heaven, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Carl’s screeching voice has penetrated through my thoughts and has brought me back to the here and now. And as painstaking as it is to hear, I can’t help but smile and thank God for this little dog’s voice along with the  voices of the past, present and future.