Friday Firesmith – Ten Years Ago

Ten years ago, I sat down and wrote an essay about the legalization of marijuana. It became my very first Friday Firesmith post on Bits & Pieces.

2011 was a much simpler time and space for me, as there were no plagues, no one ever talked about politics, and Bert, Sam, and Lucas, The Three, were all still alive and well. Of course, very few people knew me, or my dogs, or much about me, ten years ago.

I remember my tenth birthday, in 1970. My friend Mark and I were walking in a field discussing what it meant to be ten. Mark was only nine, and we talked about reaching a double digit number, about what it meant to remember things that had happened five years, or six years ago, and it was the first time I had a serious discussion about the past.

The way social media operates has changed a lot in the last ten years. People are more divided, more aggressive with what they believe, and less tolerant of listening to what other people have to say. Jon and I agreed never to post anything political again just to keep the screaming down.

Topics that people loved were dogs, guns, how people got their nicknames, and things like that.

Back in 2011, Taylor Swift released her third album, “Speak Now” and she had not yet taken over the world. The Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl. It was also the year the St Louis Cardinals won the World Series. Navy Seals killed Osama Bin Laden, and Amy Winehouse, one of the greatest voices of our time, killed herself. 2011 was also the year a tsunami hit Japan, and we watched on video as a wall of water killed a lot of people.

We saw out last Space Shuttle flight in 2011.

Since 2011, Bert, Sam, Lucas, and Tyger Linn have died. Lilith, who arrived in 2012, Wrex, 2017, Budlore and Jessica, both 2018, are still with me.

Mom moved in with me nearly three years ago and I’ve been retired for two years.

All in all, I can proudly say I haven’t missed a deadline or taken a day off from Friday Firesmith in ten years. That’s over five hundred Fridays.

I’ve met Jon, and a few other people in person, that was years ago, and I had a guy from this site try to pick up a girlfriend I had just broken up with. He and I went back a piece of time, and I was gravely disappointed in that sort of behavior.

How many of you have had kids since 2011? Gotten new pets? Married or divorced? Life events? How many people from B&P have you met? Anyone here meet someone and got hitched?

What was your favorite Friday Firesmith story?

It’s been one hell of a ride, these last ten years. Thank you, all of you, for putting up with me, and thanks Jon, for not firing me… yet.

Take Care,


Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

23 thoughts on “Friday Firesmith – Ten Years Ago”

  1. Hi Mike I love reading your Friday posts every week. Since 2011 I got 2 rescue dogs, Bella 2012 and Boo 2014. I met my first love again after 30 years and 2 1/2 years later its like the same as it was then.

    @Jon please don’t fire Mike yet as he still has plenty of stories to tell

  2. I don’t think I ever saw the ‘legalization of marijuana’ article; seems like a great idea to me.

    Our entire drug war is a dismal failure that causes far worse problems than the drugs they are supposed to be fighting. It is intentionally racist policy and destroys countless lives needlessly.

    We need to stop treating drug use as a criminal problem and start treating it as a health problem; we need to stop spending >$60 billion dollars a year on drug enforcement activities/incarceration; militarizing our police force and conducting roadside theft by armed government thugs (aka “asset forfeiture”) and focus those resources on drug/addiction treatment and education.

    our drug policy only makes the problems worse for everyone involved. – a conviction for simple possession or use of a drug destroys future employment opportunities for life; leaving the ‘felon’ that previously did nothing worthy of that label with few opportunities to lift themselves out of that hole.

    Also the vilification of marijuana is insane; we have a huge problem with people addicted to opioids that could have easily been prescribed cannibinoids instead which are far less addictive and have fewer side effects. On what planet should opium be prescribed routinely while marijuana is verboten?

    it is our drug policy that fuels the massive profit margins for those drugs and prevents the sellers from having legitimate banking access that fuels the massive violence we see in our streets; it funds criminal organizations and leaves anyone involved with little/no access to the courts for remedy if their products are not safe, or they are cheated in a transaction;

    the drug war is an entirely predictable failure that anyone with half a brain could have predicted after witnessing the dismal failure of prohibition.

    we need to end this madness.

    • keith: You hit that nail directly on the head with this: “It is intentionally racist”. The only way to end the madness is to vote every Single. Old. White. Guy. Racist. Politician out of office. Problem is, all of those dudes are busy changing voting laws country wide to ensure that they stay in office.

  3. I sat here reading today’s FF with my jaw dropped shaking my head. No, that’s not right, it can’t be that long ago, whatta ya mean 10 years that just happened a few months ago! No wonder the years are fleeting in a blur.
    Thanks Mike (& Jon), for the Friday Firesmiths to remind us what’s important.

  4. I don’t have a life, haven’t done any of the things you asked, but thanks for reminding me of Kenny Rogers’s song “The Last Ten Years”. Here to the next ten!

  5. The last ten years:
    Finally married my partner of 14 years. Thank you James Obergefell.
    We bought a house.
    Lost my brother to the scourge of our family, heart disease.
    Rode the Durango & Silverton Railroad which was near the top of my bucket list.
    Continued to love our two cats.
    Recently bought as close as I could afford to my dream car because I’m not getting any younger.
    The years went fast.

  6. In the last ten years I have lost two dogs Fancy first, then Trouble only three months later. They were both about 14. I think Trouble was lost without her buddy, she had never known life without her. I got Chaos in 2013. She’s still with me, although there’s a bit of grey in her muzzle now, she was a rescue so I’m not sure of her actual age. That’s her in my Gravatar pic.
    I bought a house, and became a grandmother twice over.
    My grandsons are beautiful, I suspect they are both Autistic, the first one has a diagnosis, he is non-verbal, but smart as a whip. He looks like my son and has his brains. He’s bright and beautiful.
    The second one has not been diagnosed yet, but the signs are there. He’s looking more like my son every day as he grows out of his baby stage. He’s stubborn and likes to do things his way (my son again), he too is a beautiful child. He hasn’t really spoken either.
    I also got a promotion at work and now run the clinic where I work. That has been a bit of a challenge during a pandemic, but hey, I’ve always liked a challenge.

    It sure doesn’t seem as if ten years have gone by since you first showed up on Fridays, Mike. I have enjoyed every article. I may not always comment, but I always read.

  7. In 2011, my last kid graduated High School. Then I did what more parents need to do – put a FOR SALE sign on the front lawn and move with no forwarding address. 🙂

    I did eventually move, (2000 miles away) after they all got settled with their own lives.

    Of course I live in one major city and work in another major city. Yes 2000 miles apart. Don’t ask.

    I’ve picked up my hobbies that were placed on the back burner for many years. Writing, flying and motorcycling.

    People often wonder if you would live your life differently if given a do over. Yeah I’m sure there are things that I would do differently. Yet for the most part, I am happy with the life I chose or was given to me. It wasn’t always easy and it wasn’t always fair yet the lessons and outcomes I would not change

    My children are adults and even though we don’t see each other as often as before. We have more in common now then I ever imagined.

    My bit of advice for anyone:

    If your tomorrow never comes, what will you do today?

  8. Happy anniversary, Mike.

    For me, I went from celebrating my 16th anniversary to celebrating my 26th anniversary. Yes, to the same woman.

    My kid aged 10 years and is now 20.

    We–well, my wife and son as I am not a dog person–have adopted two dogs from Mexico. There is a small town with many American and Canadian ex-pats and snow birds; several that we know there are trying to cut down on the number of street dogs by getting them fixed and adopted; or raise their puppies and get them adopted out. Over the last 15 years, the number of street dogs has gone down considerably. And yes, when we travel down there, we typically do the 3- to 4-day drive with the dogs (the two adopted and a Boston Terrier that’s been around about 11 years).

    And in case anyone cares, we have two cats, too–they are Birmans.

    • Tim, I remember being ten, and I remember being twenty, both birthdays. At ten, I was a kid walking in a field. At twenty I was drunk and giving away beer on my birthday. Pretty weird change. Ten years ago, none of the dogs I have now were alive, and all the dogs I had are now dead. I salute your work in rescue, we need more people like you.

  9. Chris, I never would have guessed I would still be writing here in ten years, hell, I had no idea it had gotten away from me so quick. I’ve never had an obsession with a car, but I would like to ride the train.

  10. Been following B&P since the 1st year. I don’t often comment, but I most like the stories of your days working for the Postal Service. I’d love to have a paper copy of a compilation of all your stories, if such a thing were to exist. Even a pdf download would be good. It might generate some support for Jonco and yourself? Just sayin’. Keep up the good work. Your posts are a much-needed dose of nostalgia in these trying times!

  11. Mike,

    Sorry to jump in so late. I’m sure I read your first piece and 99.9% of the ones since. I’m amazed you’ve had so many dogs in 10 years.

    I have only one. Actually he, Maui, is my daughter’s dog, but since her recent separation he’s been a cohabitant of my home and property, as are she and her two children. Maui is a purebred black German Shepherd, purchased by my former son-in-law.

    I struggle sometimes to find positive things to say about Maui. He’s kind of a dunce. He isn’t into playing, at least with humans. He won’t fetch a ball, a stick or a frisbee, or even try. He does chase butterflies. He’s not great with kids. He is a pretty decent guard dog, always suspicious of new people.

    When stuck with a need to describe him, call him a likable jerk. If he were a human, jerk is the word people would use to describe him. Just to give you one example, the other day I was out in the yard and Maui came galloping past me from behind. He had plenty of room to get past me yet he chose to give me a 70 lb. hip check to the knee, almost knocking me down.

    I fear that when she finds a new home, my daughter will choose to leave Maui behind. If that happens, I hope I can learn to live with him, the holes he digs in my flower beds, his lack of discipline, and the way he tries to steal anything in your hand.

    Yet I would probably miss him if she took him with her.

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