The Today Show, the Tour....and Dr. John
Sunday, May 06, 2007
Man, last week was a blur.
It began on Monday when Jenny, Gracie the Lab and I drove into New York to get in place for an appearance on The Today Show on NBC the next morning. The appearance went fine, and Gracie behaved like a little lady, just sitting quietly by my side with no Marleyesque moments such as knocking over cameras, chewing through microphone cables or barking over Al Roker.
The only potentially humiliating moment came just a few minutes before I was to go on live before who-knows-how-many-gazillion-people. I had a few tasty dog treats in my hand just in case I needed to bribe Gracie. She has a nose like, well, a dog, and as I sat, all wired up, chatting with Amy Robach, the interviewer, Gracie was snuffling her nose into my closed fist, trying to get at a treat. I just ignored her and wouldn't give up a treat. When I looked down, I nearly fell off my stool. Gracie's salivary glands apparently had gone into overdrive at the smell of the treats, and both of my thighs were soaked with dog drool. Good Lord, it looked like I had peed my pants! Oh no.... I patted my pants frantically for the next two minutes and by the time we went on the air, they were dry enough that it was not noticeable. At least I hope it wasn't. That'll teach me to keep snacks away from Miss Drooly.
If you want to view the clip to see for yourself, Jenn C on my message boards was kind enough to post a link to the video on MSNBC.
The Today Show appearance was the official launch of my book tour for my two children's books, which came out that same day, "Bad Dog, Marley!" and "Marley: A Dog Like No Other." From the NBC studios in Rockerfeller Center, Jenny and Gracie headed home, and I headed on the road to make appearances at schools and bookstores in New Jersey, Connecticut and suburban Chicago.
From there I traveled to my home state of Michigan, where on Saturday I gave the commencement address to the 1,200 graduates and their families at my alma mater, Central Michigan University. No good deed goes unrewarded, and CMU President Mike Rao bestowed upon me (I think that's the way they describe it) an honorary doctorate of letters degree. I'm telling all my friends they have to call me Dr. John now, but seriously, it meant a lot to me. Go Chippewas!
No trip to your alma mater is complete without dragging your old best friend from the dorm along with you. So on the way, I picked up my pal of 28 years, Pete Kelly, a police officer in the metro Detroit area. I met Pete my freshman year at CMU. He was in room 116 of Emmons Hall, and I was across the hall in room 115. We've stayed friends ever since, and it just seemed right that my first visit back to campus in more than two decades should be with him.
Pete and I ate at the Embers, a beloved institution in Mount Pleasant for the past 49 years that will close next month. We hit all our old drinking holes, where the patrons looked WAY younger than I remember them being back in 1979. We drove out to The Judge's Bench, a barebones tavern at a farming-community crossroads outside town where we had the not-quite-famous (but still decadently delicious) Bench Burger. We hiked along the Chippewa River until we came to Swinging Bridge, where we and our dorm co-conspirators had staged many an illegal kegger. The bridge suspends over the river on heavy steel cables, and we used to get a couple dozen boozed-up kids on it and rock in unison. In this way, we could really get it swaying. I'm pleased to say no one was ever killed, or even hurt, doing this, but less pleased to report that when Pete and I got out there and did our best to get the big bridge rocking, we had no luck at all. The oomph of yesteryear just wasn't there. Or maybe we simply had not consumed enough sway-inducing suds.
Now I'm sitting in the airport in Cleveland, waiting for a connecting flight home to Pennysylvania and my family, whom I have not seen for a week. It will be good to be home, if only for a day. On Tuesday, I speak in Exton, Pa., then head off on the next leg of my tour. You can check out times and locations by clicking the "upcoming events" link on the marleyandme.com home page.
Time to run. And thanks to everyone who has been turning out for my events; it's been great to see you and say hello in person. Woof!
posted by John Grogan at 3:13 PM