Dougie Daju

“The Daju people are a group of seven distinct ethnicities speaking related languages living on both sides of the Chad-Sudan border and in the Nuba Mountains.”

So says Wikipedia.

I did not know this when I was six years old. Christmas that year was magical. I named him, “Orangie” but couldn’t quite pronounce it…so, I said “Daju”. Simple, easy.

This past summer, I found some old 8mm films from my grandfather’s estate. As fate would have it, one small reel flickered frames of me opening the very package when Orangie arrived. Oh, the joy in my eyes that Christmas morning! In color, nonetheless!

Above is my cherished Daju today. My pal throughout everything from toddler, youth, and teen, to life as a reflecting adult.

He’s worn out. Hole in his throat, fur tattered and battered, face rubbed raw, and seams a bit loose. Not sure why I tied the yarn or stitched the patch, though? 🤷🏻‍♂️

I used to say – as I came down the stairs – “Dougie, Daju, dump dump down” (as recalled later by my dear mother) She loved that. I’d love to have her laugh at me one more time. Even at my age, I’d say it again…. for her.

And I guess that’s the meaning of Orangie, Daju, or Life.

Never stop smiling. Tell jokes. Laugh. Have fun.

He never stops smiling. From day one – so many years ago – that smile has not stopped. It is what drew me to him from the start. It was the joy I saw at six years old. Not a surprise at all that it was a present from my mom.

I can be tattered, worn, and battered. So can you.

Keep smiling. Keep the joy. Somehow keep your Daju around.

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