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Me and Bobby McGee

Bali Update Editor Jack Daniels Remembers his Much Loved Editorial Assistant Bobby McGee

(7/30/2012) The Bali Update - the weekly newsletter of Balidiscovery.com, is produced at the end of each week, consuming the weekend after spending the preceding week helping to run a busy destination management company. Translating press reports from the Indonesian press while compiling the 20-25 stories sent out with each Monday’s edition is how I spend my weekend days and late nights.

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This has been the rhythm of life for the past 14 years, producing a newsletter sent to some 29,000 subscribers and regularly quoted as a reliable source for Bali news by growing list of leading media around the globe.

These weekends spent writing the Bali Update are largely solitary affairs, consuming hours on end of personally editing, translating and finally posting articles onto the www.balidiscovery.com website.

With the current edition of Bali Update this job has suddenly become an even more monastic enterprise due to the sudden death of a companion of many years, Bobby McGee. Steadfastly content to sit quietly, keeping me company, week after week,  while I toiled away at the keyboard, Bobby McGee was my 13-year-old Labrador. Bobby collapsed and died on Saturday morning, July 27, 2012, while I was gathering the news for Edition #830 of the Bali Update.

In his life span that covered much of the entire history of the Update, Bobby began his apprenticeship over a decade ago as a puppy, distracting the editorial process as I fretted over which pair of shoes he was chewing into oblivion.

Fortunately, puppyhood soon passed into a more sedate canine adolescence and middle age, revealing the unconditional adoring companionship known to anyone who is “owned” by a Labrador. Never complaining about missed walks or playful romps in the yard, Bobby, seemd to looked forward to my enforced weekend servitude as an opportunity to spend long stretches with me. Curled up next to my chair, with one paw extended and touching my foot or listening earnestly while I read him an early draft of an article, Bobby became a trusted editorial assistant.

My friend Bobby indulged me to the limit. He was an enthusiastic audience of one for my solo air guitar recitals – an essential part of my remedy for writer’s block.

But, best of all, Bobby never criticized my writing. At the same time, he displayed both an uncanny and  "un-canine" interest in print. As I went through a each week’s load of newspapers, discarding them one by one on the floor, Bobby insisted on planting himself on top, and sometimes under, the growing stack of daily papers where he promptly fall asleep.

Bobby will be missed. His daily swims in the pool and annoying tracks of water and footprints that marked his exit from the pool are gone. Absent also will be a his preoccupation with carrying a broom or wastebasket as he followed the gardner round the yard. Sorely rued, too, will be his habit of falling asleep with his head resting on my thigh as I sit typing at my desk. These are a few of the endearing antics “Booby-Boo” brought to all those who lived or visited at my house in Bali.

But most all, I will miss Bob’s unqualified admiration and the simple joy in the here and now so evident whenever he shared my company. Feeling good was good enough for me; good enough for Bobby and me.

Bobbie served as an inspiration in both my life and my work; causing me to pray each day that I might strive to become the kind of person my dog thought I was.

This happy relationship ended on Saturday when I buried Bobby under the hundred-year-old Katapang Tree where we marked the spot with his beloved broom and well-chewed wastebasket.

Those who have cherished a pet will understand the profound sense of loss that follows Bobby’s passing. Those less privileged and yet to experience such fellowship will probably question why I bother to include a mention of a dog's passing in the Bali Update.

Bobby McGee is gone. Our favorite song “Me and Bobby McGee” won’t be heard again on the CD player; the memories too painful to endure.

And, now, the job of preparing next week’s Bali Update now rests solely with “me.”

Bobby’s gone on to other writing assignments.