Tuesday Bernie Hamilton died. He was eighty years old. We all know him as Captain Dobey.

I wrote this snippet today in memory of him. "Thank you Bernie for 'being' our Captain Dobey."

HAPPY NEW YEAR

New Year's Eve 1979.

"Can I really stay up till midnight, daddy?" Rosie Dobey's eyes twinkled at the thought of going to bed this late.

Her father looked at her and smiled, "Yes baby, you can. This is a special night you know that."

She embraced his ample waist. "I love you daddy."

"I love you too honey." Her father said, threading his fingers through her curly hair.

She looked up at him, "Can I have Champagne too?"

"Don't push your luck, little lady."

She grinned at him and kissed his wrist, "You're the best daddy anyone can have."

He felt his eyes tearing up when he looked down at his little girl, "And you're the best daughter any father could have."

Edith Dobey found her husband and daughter in a tight embrace in the hall and smiled. She stood watching them for a minute and then cleared her throat to let them know she was there.

Rosie let go of her father and hurried to her mother. With her arms around her mother's waist she said, "I love you too mommy."

"I know Rosie and I love you just as much."

Cal came down the stairs and stopped halfway and looked at the scene, "Are we getting soapy?"

Dobey smiled at his son, "I think it's a perfect day for getting soapy, don't you think?"

"Maybe," Cal answered, "but I don't think our guests are going to like it."

"What are your guests not going to like?"

Rosie freed herself from her mother's arms. "Uncle Dave, Uncle Hutch!" she flung herself into Hutch's arms and hugged him, then she looked at Starsky, "Uncle Dave, I'm so glad you're here."

"Hey pumpkin, come here and give me a hug. I've missed your hugs for far too long."

She looked at Hutch who grinned, "It's all right Rosie. Go and give him a hug, he won't break."

"Are you sure?"

"Um…yes I'm sure."

She looked at her father who nodded, "As long as you are careful with him, honey. I don't want him on the sick list any longer than absolutely necessary."

Starsky gave him a grateful smile. "Thanks Cap." Then he took Rosie from Hutch's arms and hugged her, a little less tight than his partner had done, but the feeling of having the little girl in his arms almost made him high from happiness.

Cal had come down the stairs and shook Hutch's hand, "Glad you could make it tonight. It's so much more fun when you are here on New Year's Eve."

"Let's go to the living room," Edith suggested, "and I'll get the snacks from the kitchen."

Starsky put Rosie back on her own two feet, "Can't carry you to the living room yet pumpkin, but I promise that as soon as I can I'll carry you all day where ever you wanna go."

Rosie laughed and hopped happily in front of the others.

At midnight they all stood up and raised their glasses. Dobey was the first to give a toast, "To all of us and especially to Dave, who is here with us against all odds."

A chorus of voices answered his toast, "To us!"

"You know," Dobey said after they'd drunk on the New Year, "life is short and precious but sometimes we need a reminder of that. This year has shown us that we can't take anything for granted. It can be over in a second so please, let's take care of each other."

Rosie looked at her father with sleepy eyes, "I want you to be at least eighty years old, daddy."

Her father took her in his arms to bring her to bed and whispered, "I promise you Rosie, I will stay with you till I'm at least eighty years old."