Opie Hunley takin’ care of business.

Merry Christmas from Focus Publisher Steve Hunley

As we enter perhaps the most special time of the year, I have been thinking about the many blessings in my life. I have a wonderful family – – – a beautiful wife, children and grandchildren, as well as the best brothers and sisters anyone could ask for. I’ve been blessed with wonderful friends, successful businesses and I am very grateful for all the blessing in my life.

Friends have repeatedly asked me to tell the story about a little friend my wife Kim calls “the love of [my] life”.

A few years ago, I took up with a little Jack Russell terrier named Odie, named after the dog in the “Garfield” cartoons. While he didn’t belong to me, I found myself charmed by Odie and grew to eagerly anticipate his daily visits to my home. Odie and I became friends, very good friends in fact, and when he was hit by a car and killed, I was just devastated. I grieved for him for quite a long time.

Those who know me well realize I take a lot of pleasure in attending auctions. One never knows what one might find and I fully subscribe to the old saying, “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure”.

I was attending an auction on a cold and rainy night when I noticed a lonely little Jack Russell terrier. I did a double take, marveling at his resemblance to my late little friend Odie. The auctioneer commented that somebody had put out the little dog I was looking at and encouraged me to take him home as he had no owner and nobody seemed to want him.

He didn’t have to ask me twice!

I snatched up the little fellow and bundled him up and put him in my car. I was mighty excited and called my wife Kim, who turned out not to be nearly so excited.

“Where are you?” I wondered.

Kim said she was in Walmart and I could not believe my good fortune. Kim couldn’t have been in a better place at the time.

I exclaimed, “Honey, we’re going to need bowls, dog shampoo, dog food…”

Kim interrupted me to screech, “Steve Hunley, you’re NOT bringing a dog home!”

“But, Kim,” I explained, “he’s an Odie dog. We’re going to need dog shampoo, bowls, dog food…”

“We don’t need a dog,” Kim insisted.

“We’re going to need bowls, food, dog shampoo,” I patiently repeated.

Despite her initial resistance, Kim did come home with all the necessities for the lonely little dog I had found shivering at the auction. I named him “Opie”.

I noticed it wasn’t long before Kim would be lying in bed and I’d hear her crooning to Opie, who would then run and get into bed with her. Kim might refer to Opie as the love of my life, but it wasn’t long before she loved him just about as much as me.

Opie and I would enjoy ourselves by dozing together in the den. Opie and I have matching recliners and sometimes Opie enjoys lying on his recliner, but just as often as not, he enjoys lying in my lap with me in our recliner.

Opie, not unlike many terriers and dogs, likes to go places and loves to ride. Some of my friends have laughed at me because there are days when I will take Opie on a long drive and we’ll stop for lunch. I will get my own lunch as well as Opie’s. Friends have laughed themselves silly as they watch me feed Opie Vienna sausage from a fork. I don’t know what they’re laughing about, as Opie has better table manners than most of them do! Opie, just like the rest of us, has his own favorite restaurants, which include McDonalds, Sonic, and a few others.

Opie has his very own car seat to protect him when we’re out on the road. Evidently my concern for Opie’s safety has also provided a lot of amusement for my friends, especially my friend Bob Barker who has just about laughed himself to death when he’s watched us all arrive and Kim is sitting in the backseat. I don’t see what’s so funny myself.

I well remember my friends teasing Jack Huddleston about having left the multi-pattern of nose prints on the passenger window. Jack didn’t seem to care for that, although I think I could have exonerated him by pointing out his nose is bigger than Opie’s!

Opie oftentimes attends meetings at The Focus and my friend Ray Hill has referred to Opie as the Chairman of the editorial board. Well, he does have uncommonly good sense.

Needless to say, Opie has added immeasurably to the happiness in our household. My grieving for dear little Odie was salved by God opening the door for me to find Opie. When I ran off with that shivering, wet little fellow and took him home, a hole in my heart was filled.

Some of you may have heard that old saying about the eyes being the mirror to one’s soul and I think that’s true, because I can look into those little brown eyes and see such love.

During this Christmas, I hope all the readers of The Knoxville Focus have a host of loving eyes to look into and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and the happiest of New Years from me, Kim and Opie Hunley.