Saturday, August 11, 2018

My Pup, Bebe. Help save her?

My dog has cancer and has to go through some expensive treatments.  But, first, a story about her:

UPDATES can be found by clicking here.

In November 2011, my cat, Casper, noticed something moving under the (then) abandoned house next door.  His teeth were chattering and he was 'talking' about what he was seeing (to himself).  I looked expecting a squirrel or another cat, or even a bird; but, instead I was surprised to see 9 little puppies at the door squeaking and looking for their mom (which is the neighborhood 'that' dog).

Nov. 2011 - That's Bebe before she was Bebe by the wood plank.
We used the wood plank to hide the puppies under the house so
they wouldn't get taken by folks who might use them for bait dogs.
My room mate, DaMarco, and I tried a few times to get them, but they'd all run away to the back of the house and into the darkness and we couldn't see them.  Then, one Sunday morning, my bedroom door flung open and DaMarco shouted, "I got 'em!  I got 'em all!"  Stunned, and surprised, I sat up, "You got 'em, what??"  He announced he saved the puppies from under the house.

He washed them, and we took them to a farm for fostering until they could be adopted out; but, there were only 8 pups in the truck.  Rushing home to find one last little girl who didn't get washed but hid behind the toilet.

Bebe.

I watched as all the other puppies were being adopted out, and she was the last one.  When the e-mail came that she was wanted, I looked down at the floor and she looked back, tail wagging crazily, and I wrote back, "I apologize, someone just claimed her."  I just got a puppy.

And her name was given: Princess Bebe Williams!
Got her checked-over by the veterinarian with the full name: Princess Bebe Williams.  And suddenly, I finally found some unconditional love, something I'd never had before in my life.  As the song says, 'For once in my life I have someone who needs me.'  Hiding behind the toilet?  Last to be adopted?  She chose ME!
Well, I lay claim - but, my pal DaMarco is also one of her parents since he DID pull her from under the abandoned house (the hero he is).  And as two best friends can be, we are what I consider the best parents a pup can have.  Love, and be loved.  All three pets are treated with respect and love, and we get that in return.

2012

2013
Let's jump ahead 6 years to present days.

2017

On Tuesday, August 7, 2018, I'm playing with Bebe when I notice something I hadn't noticed before.  There was a swollen bump on her foot.  I posted this photo on Facebook asking questions and was suggested to take her to the vet.

Beside Marco's pinky-finger is the big bump.  :(
On Wednesday, August 8, 2018, she gets her full check-up and shots, and a test on the bump.  It's showing as a Mast Cell Tumor.  We're instructed that the two toes can be removed and that might help; but, to fully get rid of it the leg has to be removed.

3 Best Pals!
On Thursday, August 9, 2018, we go to a different vet office where there is an oncologist that's actually helped other pets of friends, and more tests are run, but a restless night on Thursday leads me to...

Friday, August 10, 2018, at about 6:30pm I get a call from her doctor telling me that the news is not good.  The cancer has spread into the lymph node.  Rather than amputation, the doctor says we can remove the skin between the toes to remove the tumor and remove the lymph node (roughly around $3500).  This will be followed by 8 treatments over 12 weeks of chemotherapy (roughly around $2500).  This will hopefully help, but (as always) no guarantees because everyone's health is different.

(Speaking to chemotherapy for pets - it's a much lighter dosage which means that she won't get the effects of being sick the way they dose humans with it.)

So, here I sit next to by Bebe who, like Mary Poppins, is practically perfect in every way.  Never had to potty train her, she only had accidents if we didn't pay attention to her.  Never had anger issues.  Doesn't bark unless playing or excited (or thinks someone across the street might chance walking in the yard).  And loves to play, loves to be loved, and loves to love.  Yet, I sit here next to her realizing that cancer is eating at her even as I type this.

Next, I'd like to tell the world:  If you get a puppy or kitten, immediately get pet insurance while they're young and healthy.  This will seem like an additional expense that doesn't make sense until you need it at a time like this.

Finally, I plead to my friends and others: help me?  I often donate to so many causes out there, and to a bunch of gofundme and kickstarters, and even post my preferred charities when my birthday rolls around.  Then, as I post about my upcoming birthday and my list of preferred charities, I learn about my dog's condition and got the suggestion:  Let Bebe be your charity for your birthday this year.

There will be a gofundme account set up for donations which I'll post a link to HERE.

August 11, 2018
We're not trying to get something-for-nothing, so DaMarco and I are also trying to fund this surgery by offering the following payable through PayPal (Click Here) and send your donation to "Friends and Family" with a note explaining which item(s) you wish to get for your support, including your phone number and e-mail address:

DaMarco will do pet portraits to help raise funds needed.  You can see his work if you CLICK HERE (scroll down to the pet portraits).
He's doing this at exceptionally reasonable prices (huge mark-down to raise this money needed)!
11x14" $150
16x20" $250
24x30" $350
8x10" Pencil sketch $80
Prices don't include shipping, can be picked up or dropped off in Memphis, and he will just need a good, clear image of your pet to do the work.
$25 - Prints of some of his most famous paintings (Jareth the Goblin King, Little Monsters, etc., under his Oil Painting section of the link above).

DaMarco Arts Painting Party - canvas and paint supplied, $35 per person (within a 50 mile radius of Memphis) (subject to scheduling).


I will bring the "Muley and Friends Show - Live!" to you within a 50 mile radius of Memphis, TN, with a full 23-minute production for you and up to 19 of your friends and family (adults and children) for $600.  This will be similar to the shows we do at conventions and festivals.  (Subject to scheduling.) (Over 20 people, add $10 each.)

$125 - Personalized video greeting from Muley the Mule or one of his pals.

$50 - Original, personalized drawing of Muley the Mule and a personalized letter and autograph from Muley himself!  For the drawing, if you like sports or a particular movie - let me know and Muley will do that in his drawing for you!

$80 - Commission drawing from either of us (he can offer nearly anything, my specialties include my fandoms: Muppets, Peanuts, Wizard of Oz {books}...).



GIFT CERTIFICATE: www.Angelic-Comfort.com
Our good friend Renee has offered two $50 gift certificates good for half-hour tarot readings.



August 11, 2018

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

My Pup, Bebe - Updates

Update 8/15/2018 ###

So, I like to keep updates coming because if you're going to donate to the cause, you should be kept aware of what's going on!

NIGHT BebeFORE SURGERY – 8/14/2018

Through all this, my best pal and roommate, DaMarco, has been a huge help!  After all, he is the hero who saved the pups from under the abandoned house next door, and he’s been through thick and thin, but also along every step of this walk of dog-ownership.  So, we thought about what Bebe would like to do before surgery.
DaMarco operating as the doggy seat belt.
Bebe likes a ride, and so we took her one to see her (and my) extended family, The Wades, and made our way around Mud Island and through Downtown Memphis where there’s a lot to see and bark at!  We went home and played, and laid on the couch together, and played some more.  She got a treat at 10:30 and an ice cube at 11:30 – no food or drink after midnight due to surgery in the morning.


Bebe reacts to some downtown bidness while we're at stop light.
When it was time for bed, she came to my room.  Initially, we started out on opposite ends of the bed; but, eventually ended up with her cuddled-up beside me, using my arm as a pillow and my other arm as a comforter.  I barely slept, thanks to worry, but didn’t wake her as she slept.  I did listen to her – no whimpering or anything, just calm breathing.  There is nothing more special than the trust and unconditional love of the little ones in our lives.

Yes, she makes me do the splits when she sleeps with me.
UPDATE – 8/15/2018 - Surgery Day

Again, I’d love to thank every single person who has helped with Bebe’s surgery.  After diving into the last of my own and into DaMarco's savings accounts (as we should) and coupled with the generous donations ($1,951.24), we were able to provide for her $2,000 surgery deposit, with a few hundred dollars to pay toward her final surgery bill and next week's bandage replacement.  I want to share the receipts with you so you can see where the money is going.

Sharing the document showing estimated costs for the surgery.

Sharing the receipt so you can see where the money is being used.


Prepament for her bandage exchange on 8/23/2018.

August 15, 2018, we took her to the hospital at 7 a.m. where she was checked-in.  By 8 a.m. she was already being taken into surgery.  At 10:30 a.m., her surgeon called and said that after the operation he saw no more disease in her foot and surgery was successful.  Blessed to have NO AMPUTATION!  They did have to fuse the two left toes on her front, left paw, and took out the lymph node of her left front shoulder.  He also said there was some drainage that they are sending, along with the tumor and lymph node, to histopathology.  Her oncologist will be back in town the same time as the histopathology report and will further inform about the chemotherapy treatments. 
Roughly 6 a.m., before the trip to the hospital.
I may or may not have been weeping before this photo.
The histopath report will tell us the grade of the cancer, if it’s all gone, and that the disease is out of her body.

The important thing is: the lymph node needs to be normal.

At 10:30 a.m. the doctor told me that she would need to rest there so they could keep an eye on her to ensure she doesn’t get sick; but, that she could come home today!

We went to get Bebe and DaMarco had stuffed pillows from all over the house in the truck!  The floorboard was lined with pillows so she didn't fall down there, and there were pillows across the middle of the seat so she would be level if she laid on our laps - which she did.  That had to be the most comfortable ride home!


We got her home about 4 p.m. and DaMarco had her bed in the living room which were quickly lined with pillows from the truck.  We got her in and she laid down on her bed, and I laid beside her and we both went to sleep - that was the best 30 minutes of sleep I've had since this news all started over a week ago!  Having my Bebe helped.
Soon after this photo, I laid down on her bed beside her and got
the best 30 minutes of sleep I've had in a long time.
A good question came in about this photo, so I need to update the update!  The shaved area on her tummy is from her 8/9/18 visit to the oncologist and they did an ultrasound on her.  Then, on her neck is the incision to remove the lymph node.  Her foot: the leftmost two toes are now fused together after removing the tumor.  Not seen is her back leg which was shaved for her IV to be inserted.  Poor thing has been through it; but, she's strong as ever.  As my friend Traci said, "Fight it like a girl!"  No fear in this pup!

Also, she is doing well enough that, although hobbling a little, she's walking on her foot which had the surgery.  As I said, other than this cancer she's a strong, healthy doggy which I think will be what helps her heal all the way!

WHAT’S NEXT?

To maintain the "Bebe Money," I'm trying to keep a list of donation amounts and expenditures (I'm a horrible book keeper) just to be sure that she's taken care of, especially with future medical needs.  I feel certain that medication is going to be in her diet for a while.  There is still some promised money to come in which will be a HUGE help. 

We're keeping cautiously optimistic as we await the results of the histopath.  This might lend itself toward chemotherapy which, if it does, we’ll still be begging for help. 

I’m going to become a bit of a recluse while my baby girl heals.  As needed, she may go to work with me. I’ll be patient while she heals until she feels like playing again – for which, I can’t wait!  I’m looking forward to seeing my Bebe jumping like a kangaroo, running like a cheetah, and just being her wonderful, fun little self.  This story isn’t over yet…

WHY I DONATE

So, you’ll recall my list of preferred charities to which I donate.  Some of them are pretty regular, like the orphanage in Uganda and my church, and then I split donations between church food ministries and children’s hospitals, etc.  

The reason I love GoFundMe and KickStarter campaigns is because, while I am unable to donate thousands of dollars to a cause, I can donate my part (however small) to help someone.  After all, $10 donated several times can go a long way if we all work together!

And I’ve seen in Bebe's recent story that I’m not the only one.  So many people with huge hearts – you included, reader! – who have been a part of this scary ride with my Bebe are making big steps for the healing of this pup.  I've mentioned to her the special notes that everyone has written, and I'm sure she can't understand a thing I'm saying - but, I know she feels what I feel reading them, and that helps.

My gratitude is more than words can say, and my heart swells with joy at knowing that you guys helped me help Bebe.  THANK YOU!

Taken a week ago, but Bebe says, "Woof woof arf bark," which
means "thank you very much" in doggish.

8/17/2018.  ###

DaMarco couldn't get off today to stay with Bebe, so she came to work with me.

It's definitely been work getting her TO work! When I carried her in and set her on the floor, I knelt down and split the seam of my pants! I set her up in my office and then rushed home to change.

She's taking it easy now, and I'm certain would rather: 1) be home, 2) be allowed to run around and explore.

6 days until bandage change. 14 until she's free to in around like normal!






Wednesday, July 4, 2018

ROKU TV Screen Saver References/Easter Eggs

Watching the ROKU screen saver, and I begin noticing some things throughout beginning with Ghostbusters Headquarters!  The firehouse has been used in several films.  I wonder what else I can see?  Some of these are easy, some are not.  What do you think?  Anything to add?

Foreground Buildings:

Ghostbusters Firehouse (swaps places with a building with sidewalk cafe, top window a leg?)
Factory?  Is that Oscar the Grouch in front?  What are the shadow creatures?
Diner?
Courthouse from Back to the Future /w Tardis in front.
Barber Shop referencing Barbershop(?), top right window a reference to Hitchcock's "Rear Window?"
Building with Singing in the Rain, but A Christmas Story Leg Lamp in top left window.
The Majestic Theater (also reminds me of The Muppet Theater, Gremlins, ?)
Building that looks like a club?
Mansion?  someone said the Psycho House - it is not.

In The Water:

Pirates of the Caribbean (with Cracken Tentacles)
Jaws
Titanic
Castaway w/ Wilson the Soccer ball.
Submarine: Red October or 20,000 Leagues under the sea?
Escape from Acatraz

In The Distance:

Pacific Rim or Godzilla?
Golden Gate Bridge? (Aurora Lights over the bridge)
Sleepless in Seatle, SpaceNeedle
King Kong
Ferris Wheel from...?
Independence Day blowing up  Big Ben
Mary Poppins
Volcano: Dragon and Volcano "Lord of the Rings" or simply the old film: Volcano?
Wizard of Oz Emerald City
Sky Captain and City of Tomorrow
Spider-man
Robot from Sky Captain?
Daily Planet (Superman)
Avengers' Tower

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Evolution: Pop Culture and Community Summit

I like sharing my experiences, and want to share a story from March 2018:

So, my phone rang and my best pal Martheus Wade was on the phone.  He was telling me about our friend Ladell Beamon, creator and leader of the Heal the Hood Foundation of Memphis, and that he wanted to have a youth summit for the community.  Why?



It appears that the local school system is using the photo and name of a Memphis City Schools graduate whose music is less than inspirational - at least positively inspirational.  His music encourages drug and alcohol use, demeaning words about beating women, and discouraging words to rise up against the police (never good to do that).

See, Ladell has worked for many years to be a positive influence on the youth of Memphis.  He's worked hard to let them know that someone cares.  And with music like that - an individual who is earning tons of money by singing about death and destruction - the youth NEED a positive, moral balance, someone influential to look up to.

Ladell and Martheus have worked together for years telling the story of Evolution to create a new superhero universe by which the kids could learn morals and ethics, thing like respect and caring.  Also through movies, music, and concerts.



Martheus and his wife (my other best friend) Janet (with whom I've enjoyed working on Jetta: Tales of the Toshigawa and Shinobi: Ninja Princess as well as them performing Buford the Dog and Missy Mule to my Muley) were going to be on a panel at the summit and asked would I join them.  Resoundingly, I replied yes!  I love working with them, and I love what Ladell is doing.  Absolutely yes.

But, what is Heal the Hood?  Well, you can find Heal the Hood Foundation of Memphis on Facebook
where you can learn that  "The Heal The Hood Foundation of Memphis’ purpose is to implement and find creative methods to provide educational, cultural, and social economic and community change in the city of Memphis and surrounding areas that are heavily populated by youth crime, violence and other social deviant patterns of behaviors through multi-media science."  No small task by any means.

Finally, I learned that actor/writer/director/comedian/eveyrthingintheworld Robert Townsend would be in attendance, along with filmmaker Chris O'Conner.  Now, I wouldn't just be on panel at Heal the Hood Foundation, but I get be on it with best friends, old friends, and new friends.

The day started with an hour and a half of Martheus Wade teaching comic book art to the kids.



Now, while I had Muley, Missy, and Buford at the panel discussions, I never brought them out.  The discussions were so important that I didn't want to distract from them.  And why?

We were discussing how the kids could be better than expected, and how parents should support them.



In my own discussion, I told them: you're all special.  You're special and have abilities you might not even know about yet.  The world is going to try to put stereotypes on you, and you do NOT have to live the life that folks expect of you - you create your own story, and you live by that story, and you write your own ending.  Parents, you need to support your kids when they do something good and positive.  Back them and support that movement of goodness and creativity.  You never know who they'll inspire.



I hope soon to edit this with the keen, brilliant, inspirational words of my dear friends who were on the panel.  In the meantime, I'd love to share what Robert Townsend shared:

"I'd gone on a trip to climb a mountain, and it was a journey.  We'd reached the foot of the mountain after all the rains had come and the ground was nothing more than thick, wet mud.  We trudged through the mud, knee deep, until we reached the foot of the mountain and camped there.  Early in the morning before sunrise, we woke to climb the first part of the mountain.  We climbed higher and higher until we found our second camp at the base of the most steep part of the mountain.  Before we laid down to sleep, they taught us how to breathe that evening because the next day we would be higher up and find ourselves unable to breathe easily.



"We were awaken in the early hours of the morning to climb the last portion of the mountain, and we began climbing in the darkness.  Up and up, through fog and mist, and only our faith to guide us.  Eventually, we reached the top of the mountain and I stood there and looked out onto the world and all its beauty.

"My story exists to let you know: you might have to go through some deep muck to get where you're going.  But, keep your faith strong and you will eventually find yourself in that beautiful place meant for you."



Inspiration.  Dedication.  It's something we all need.  I hope that, just as my friends have inspired me, that I can inspire them.  I hope the work we did that day will inspire many kids to look past what society expects of them and to be more than that.  Stand up for themselves, stay out of gangs, and not let the negative stereotypes found in music or social groups define them.  That they are inspired to create positive words, art, music...to creatively express themselves for their friends, family, and one another.


After the summit, there was a bit of time for some meet and greets!






Photos by: Betina Butler, Joyce Kyles, Dani Barnett, Zurobia Jackson, La Tonia Blankenship, Miriam Graham, Janet Wade, Kevin Williams


Saturday, February 24, 2018

Meeting Caroll Spinney

Ever have dreams come true?  I have.  A few times.  I had one such dream come true in September 2016 at DragonCon in Atlanta, GA.  The only way I can finally make that dream better is to actually go to a certain studio in Queens, NY, and put my feet on the Street.


A little back-story:
One of my friends e-mailed me from across the country that "Caroll Spinney is going to be in Atlanta at DragonCon.  Are you going?"  Would I?  Well, considering how much of my life has been affected by this man?  I'd better!
andmagazine.com

My earliest remembrance is an old record album with a greeting from Gordon and Susan followed by a voice that would make me grin upon every life-long hearing of it:  "Oh, Gordon!  Susan!!"  The Sesame Street Cast Album was mine, and the star of the whole thing (to me) was Big Bird.  Because of Big Bird, "I Just Adore 4" as a favorite number, yellow is a color I think of as a joyful color, Ornithology was an interest of mine as a kid (at the book fair, I remember buying all books about birds!), and my hero of all my toy "performances" was either Big Bird or Snoopy.

http://muppet.wikia.com
As a matter of fact, Sesame Street was my first introduction to The Muppets, and so while I do love (and collect) Kermit the Frog, Big Bird was at the top of that Muppet heap for me.  I never considered him a leader, but he was the Muppet's star character in my eyes.  Even during the Elmo-coup of the Street (as some of us called it), Big Bird was always, and is, the star of Sesame Street.  He's been able to make me laugh, cry, and it's not just a thing from childhood, but even today.

And how?

We have to credit the person that is Big Bird's inner most soul: Caroll Spinney.  This is a genius who, despite a failing show at a Puppeteers of America convention, Jim Henson saw more in him.  He was hired to come perform on a new show Jim worked on with Joan Ganz Cooney.  Here, using all his previous years' experience of puppetry in other shows, he was able to bring to life the iconic bird and the greenest Grouch, Oscar, ever to appear on TV or movies.  Indeed, Jim saw more in Spinney who just kept giving more and more and more of himself to the rest of the world.


I was already interested in cartooning as a kid thanks to Peanuts; but, upon learning that Jim Henson had a graphic design background and that Caroll Spinney had drawn cartoons all his life I was more determined than ever to create from pencil and pen and paper.  There was more joy to bring to the world and I felt compelled from these inspiring greats to be one of those many people to bring that happiness to others.

This 6 year old, 8'2" tall yellow bird brings me joy.  I've created a good collection of items over the years, from my own childhood and even today.  I have a great collection of items that, as I look at them, remind me of more joyful years, of happier times, and stories that taught me about life when there wasn't anyone else there to do it.  Caroll Spinney still doesn't realize it, but he's probably one of my best childhood friends!


Dragon Con 2016
So, that he would be 6 hours away at a convention where I can finally go meet him?  You bet!  With only a few days to go, friends stepped forward to tend my pets (I'm grateful to Angela and Brad for this), another friend offered to let me stay at her family's house in Atlanta (thankful to Lori), and no entry without a ticket, offered to me by one of my dear friends Steve Troop, also a guest that year!  Everything quickly fell into place meaning I was going to have a chance to meet one of my heroes!



I made the 6 hour trip from Memphis, TN, to Atlanta, GA, and found my way late to the apartment where I'd be staying.  I woke the next morning, we loaded up and went to the subway system, arrived at the convention hall, and I began making my way around, mainly through the puppetry track of the convention.

During that convention, I had the opportunity to meet other great folks from Sesame Street: Leslie Carrara-Rudolph, Tyler Bunch, and the ever lovely Pam Arcerio!  They led great panels and discussions, and favorable workshops.  One of my favorite moments during a workshop was when Leslie the Fairy took Muley and performed him in front of the crowd!



Then, my friend, Lori, called and said, "Get downstairs now.  He's here!"

The Meeting
HE'S HERE!  Those words rang through my head as I feverishly hastened my way to his location, directions she was dictating to me on my phone.  My attention was focused, I swore I wouldn't fan-boy out (and I didn't, yet).  There he was.  She was talking to me while I stood in line and said, "I'll see you at the end of the line, but remember: don't cry yet."

Yes.  I'm a man.  I'm not afraid to admit I cry - I'm that steadfast in my masculinity.

I finally got nearby, and his handler asked me which photo I would like to have signed, if I had anything else I'd like signed.  I asked if he could draw a Big Bird sketch, but the handler said it would be too costly (dang!).  I got to him, greeted, said, "You've always been a huge inspiration for both cartooning and puppetry, and I'm extremely grateful for your work and career."


"Thank you," he said.  "I'm going to sign this as 'Hey, Kevin' because that's how Big Bird would greet you.  By saying 'hey.'"

I gushed.

"Interesting story," he continued, "When I was in the Air Force, I illustrated a comic strip titled Harvey and did other comic work.  The editor called me into a meeting one day and told me that since I was working for the publication, I couldn't sign my artwork any longer so I stopped.  Eventually, one of the generals saw a cartoon I drew and loved it.  He sent down for the original, and got it but it didn't have my signature on it.  So, he checked around and finally found out I did the art and called on me to come to his office.  I showed up and he asked me 'Why didn't you sign this?' and I told him that I was told not to.  He called my superior in and told him, 'From this day forth you must have signatures on all artwork published.'  Then, in front of the editor, he had me sign my artwork."


He then noticed some other items I had in my hands for signatures.  His wife, Debbie, reached for the items.  One item I had was the book "The Wisdom of Big Bird" which he signed (I learned later he drew a little Big Bird sketch in them).  I was a big supporter of the "I Am Big Bird" documentary, and had the cover for that and told him I was a backer.  He was thankful to hear that and said that he was still "surprised that people care" about his story!  I told him that I interviewed the producers of that documentary, and he was interested in that.


Of course, I had some other books, but the one that caught his eye was his written and illustrated "How To Be A Grouch" book that I've had and kept in pristine shape since I was a kid.  "Wow," he said, "This looks brand new!"  Debbie agreed.  I told him it was one of my favorite books as a kid and that I would sometimes try to draw from it.  He said, "The publishers asked me if I would do a book, and I said yes.  So, I wrote this story and drew the images.  Finally, I was finished and I sent it all down to the publisher; but, I never heard anything.  Not for a long time, so I called them.  The editor looked all over, but called me and said 'I'm sorry, we've lost your book.'  All my original illustrations and the text - all gone.  So, eventually, that editor either quit his job or lost it, and the next guy came in and was cleaning out the desk drawers and there, deep in a drawer and to the back, was my envelope with my original drawings and the text in it.  Finally, "How To Be A Grouch" was published.  This looks very nice!"  He attempted to hand it back to me, but I pushed it back, "No, please, sign it."  "But, that'll mess it up!"  I said, "Oh, no sir, this is for me.  You wrote it, and you drew it, your signature will make it much better!"  He signed it to me from himself, Big Bird, and Oscar, just as he'd signed all the other books and more.

"May I have a photo with you?"  I asked, and he and Debbie agreed.  I walked around the table, posed with Muley, and the photo was taken.  "Who is this?"  He asked, looking at Muley.  I said, "He's Muley."  Muley replied, "I'm a mule."  Caroll said, "And very likeable."  "You, too," said Muley.  I think Caroll chuckled.

I had a moment more and I asked, "Next time you're at the Street, can you do me a favor and tell Big Bird that Kevin from Memphis, TN, says hi?"

"Oh, sure, I suppose I could," Caroll said.

Debbie spoke up, "Or, maybe Big Bird could say hi to Kevin now."

"I guess he could," Caroll said.  "Oh, I mean - "

"Hey, Kevin!" said Big Bird.

AFTERWORD
Muley and my signed collectibles back in the bag, I thanked both Caroll and Debbie and walked toward the exit curtain.  There stood my pal, Lori, "Well?"

"Big Bird said 'Hey' to me," I said with a quivering lip.

Lori smiled, "You can fan-boy now." 
Yeah, I did.