Walking. With MJF.

Monday morning, 5 a.m. The night before, wind gusts up to 60 mph, heavy rain, and a tornado set down a few miles away. Trees down. Thousands without power in Fairfield County. The Kanigan house?  Silent. The lights burn, the furnace hums, Susan and Eric sleep. All is well.

I walk.

Cove Island Park.  There’s no evidence of havoc on the beach. It is swept clean. No drift wood. No trash. No humans. The sand is firm underfoot. I leave faint shoe marks. I don’t look back.

I never look back. 

It’s likely why the title of his book, No Time Like the Future, caught my attention. Michael J. Fox‘s new memoir, is pumping through my earbuds.

29 years old: Parkinson’s.

58 years old: Spinal cord surgery (unrelated to Parkinson’s) followed by long term rehab.

“I got grim,” he said in an interview in 2019. No shit.

I’m Canadian, like MJF, without the famous part.  He was born 5 months earlier, and yet handed a deck of cards that I’m not sure I could ever play.

He’s written 3 other memoirs titled “Lucky Man“, “Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist” and “A Funny Thing Happens on the Way to the Future.” You get the picture. It’s almost as if he was built to take the blows.

He’s narrating this new book.

Shame, that’s what I feel, as I have to slow down the narration speed on Audible to catch each word. Most with Parkinson’s speak slowly, but not MJF. He speaks rapidly, with certain words trailing off at the end of certain sentences. Actor. Married, 30 years. Father. Prolific fundraiser for Parkinson’s. Writer. Narrator of his own books. Super Man.

I walk, and I listen.

MJF and his 110 pound “Great Dane-ish” dog Gus, go for morning walks in Central Park. For his 54th birthday present, his wife bought him a bench in Central Park which was inscribed “Dedicated to Mike Fox and Gus, True New Yorkers.

MJF continues: “Optimism has always been the norm for me. But perhaps with age, or through the rigors of this experience, I now find it easier to drift into melancholy; to lose my enthusiasm for the task at hand. On this day, I’m relieved that my walk in the park […] provides an antidote.”

This hits me as I make my way down the beach.

That’s what I feel.

And I drift back, looking back. Man, who doesn’t look back, looks back, and is swamped with the memory.

This same beach in 2013. We walked.  Zeke bounding ahead of me and then sauntering back. Gulls scurrying away. His paws kicking up sand and leaving their impression, millions of waves since then leaving no trace of him, or that we were here.

But I remember.

Oh, I remember.

Notes: Video: Zeke @ Dec 28, 2013. Related Posts: Zeke


  1. Oh, my heart. Zeke is amazing. Great memories. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beauty. In every word. Every step. Every image.
    And every memory. And Zeke.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Such a beautiful post, David. Thanks for sharing your walk with us and a little of MJF and Zeke.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve read his two other books and will be getting this one, too. He is such an inspiration and I love it when he said: “I’m out of the lemonade business.” He’s allowed a cranky moment just like the rest of us.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Have always admired MJF and his steadfast refusal to lapse into self-pity or recrimination. Just keep marching forward, making the best of things. Not at all certain I could exhibit the same strength in those circumstances. And this clip of Zeke is lovely. He was a beautiful boy, pal, and a wonderful companion. Oh how I wish you would open your heart and home to another. Lola is lying here snoring as I type this…no sweeter sound exists…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. MJF is remarkable. It’s okay to look back – those memories keep us in touch with our feelings and what has impacted us – just don’t turn around. We can only go forward in life. What a lovely boy Zeke was 🙏

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Vera Kanigan says:

    Great inspirational post about a great man, MJF! Thanks, Dave!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. a heart never forgets

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Too many words – and too many memories. My dad had Parkinson’s and Levy body dementia just to put a fine point on the challenges he faced. Not head on, like MJF, but with trepidation and uncertainty. And yet, my memories of him, my true North Star, reflect none of that hesitation and fear. Boundless humor, unfailing curiosity and on more than one occasion the smartest guy in the room. I love that MJF and Gus brought you back to you and Zeke – proving of course that you do look back, sometimes in spite of yourself.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. We never forget our four-legged friends.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Don’t you dare feel sorry for yourself. You had a beautiful dog and you don’t have Parkinson’s. And yet, we want all the good things forever and the bad things never. Maybe we’re asking too much, but we continue to strive for the best we can get out of this life. That’s what MJF is doing, and I know that’s what you’re doing. It’s just that we are each dealt a different hand and we need to make the best of it, each in our own way.

    Liked by 4 people

  12. It’s the loving kind, but tears did fall. Zeke, Michael, your writing, all of it. Blessings to you, David!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Optimism is over-rated.

    Yes, it’s charming and heartwarming and sells books — and I admire it and try to be optimistic as well.

    But one of the qualities I most value in Canadians (as I am as well) is our generally gloomier outlook. Americans place a lot of value on being POSITIVE all the time — which allows very little room to be sad, to grieve, to be scared, to let other people know you’re actually worn out.

    He is not “cranky” but living with a very difficult disease with as much grace as he can still muster. If he now has less of it, I appreciate his candor.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Thank you for sharing MJF and Zeke…too many tears of love to articulate.
    What do we love? Moving ahead into life. Thank you for bringing that home!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Just a walking, no one can say this. A walking in thoughts, in memories… and there are many bridges that conneting us too… in our thoughts or in our memories… You are expressing so beautifully dear Dave, your writing, as if you are here and talking… I love to read you. Of course I remember too Zeke, lovely adorable friend… they have never been forgotten. Thank you, you are a friend walking with me too in this blogging world. Love, nia

    Liked by 1 person

  16. So Dave, you will have your birthday in NOvember and you’ll be one yr short of the big six O….. happy birthday, anyway.
    And here a treat you might or might not have read:

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I only could watch the short but heart-warming and life-affirming video of Zeke on the computer. He was a super-duper-beauty and those soulful eyes went and looked right into my deepest soul. Dave we both, you and I, desperately need our dog – God help us, we’ve got to have one!

    Liked by 1 person

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