Author Topic: Author Unknown  (Read 7962 times)

Offline Smokebender

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Author Unknown
« on: March 13, 2010, 07:18:17 PM »
                                       Old Man and the Dog
                    "Watch out! You nearly broad sided that car!" My
                    father yelled at me.
                    "Can't you do anything right?"
                    Those words hurt worse than blows. I turned my head
                    toward the elderly man in the seat beside me, daring
                    me to challenge him. A lump rose in my throat as I
                    averted my eyes. I wasn't prepared for another battle.
                    "I saw the car, Dad . Please don't yell at me when
                    I'm driving.."
                    My voice was measured and steady, sounding far
                    calmer than I really felt.
                    Dad glared at me, then turned away and settled back.
                    At home I left Dad in front of the television and
                    went outside to collect my thoughts.... dark, heavy
                    clouds hung in the air with a promise of rain. The
                    rumble of distant thunder seemed to echo my inner
                    turmoil. What could I do about him?
                    Dad had been a lumberjack in Washington and Oregon .
                    He had enjoyed being outdoors and had reveled in
                    pitting his strength against the forces of nature.
                    He had entered grueling lumberjack competitions, and
                    had placed often.
                    The shelves in his house were filled with trophies
                    that attested to his prowess.
                    The years marched on relentlessly. The first time he
                    couldn't lift a heavy log, he joked about it; but
                    later that same day I saw him outside alone,
                    straining to lift it. He became irritable whenever
                    anyone teased him about his advancing age, or when
                    he couldn't do something he had done as a younger man.
                    Four days after his sixty-seventh birthday, he had a
                    heart attack. An ambulance sped him to the hospital
                    while a paramedic administered CPR to keep blood and
                    oxygen flowing.
                    At the hospital, Dad was rushed into an operating
                    room. He was lucky; he survived. But something
                    inside Dad died. His zest for life was gone. He
                    obstinately refused to follow doctor's orders.
                    Suggestions and offers of help were turned aside
                    with sarcasm and insults.
                    The number of visitors thinned, then finally stopped
                    altogether. Dad was left
                    My husband, Dick, and I asked Dad to come live with
                    us on our small farm. We hoped the fresh air and
                    rustic atmosphere would help him adjust.
                    Within a week after he moved in, I regretted the
                    invitation. It seemed nothing was satisfactory. He
                    criticized everything I did. I became frustrated and
                    moody. Soon I was taking my pent-up anger out on
                    Dick. We began to bicker and argue.
                    Alarmed, Dick sought out our pastor and explained
                    the situation. The clergyman set up weekly
                    counseling appointments for us. At the close of each
                    session he prayed, asking God to soothe Dad 's
                    troubled mind.
                    But the months wore on and God was silent. Something
                    had to be done and it was up to me to do it.
                    The next day I sat down with the phone book and
                    methodically called each of the mental health
                    clinics listed in the Yellow Pages. I explained my
                    problem to each of the sympathetic voices that
                    answered in vain.
                    Just when I was giving up hope, one of the voices
                    suddenly exclaimed, "I just read something that
                    might help you! Let me go get the article.."
                    I listened as she read. The article described a
                    remarkable study done at a nursing home. All of the
                    patients were under treatment for chronic
                    depression. Yet their attitudes had improved
                    dramatically when they were given responsibility for
                    a dog.
                    I drove to the animal shelter that afternoon. After
                    I filled out a questionnaire, a uniformed officer
                    led me to the kennels. The odor of disinfectant
                    stung my nostrils as I moved down the row of pens.
                    Each contained five to seven dogs. Long-haired dogs,
                    curly-haired dogs, black dogs, spotted dogs all
                    jumped up, trying to reach me. I studied each one
                    but rejected one after the other for various reasons
                    too big, too small, too much hair.

                    As I neared the last pen a dog in the shadows of the
                    far corner struggled to his feet, walked to the
                    front of the run and sat down. It was a pointer, one
                    of the dog world's aristocrats. But this was a
                    caricature of the breed.
                    Years had etched his face and muzzle with shades of
                    gray. His hip bones jutted out in lopsided
                    triangles. But it was his eyes that caught and held
                    my attention. Calm and clear, they beheld me
                    I pointed to the dog. "Can you tell me about him?"
                    The officer looked, then shook his head in
                    puzzlement. "He's a funny one. Appeared out of
                    nowhere and sat in front of the gate. We brought him
                    in, figuring someone would be right down to claim
                    him. That was two weeks ago and we've heard nothing.
                    His time is up tomorrow."
                    He gestured helplessly.
                    As the words sank in I turned to the man in horror.
                    "You mean you're going to kill him?"
                    "Ma'am," he said gently, "that's our policy. We
                    don't have room for every unclaimed dog."
                    I looked at the pointer again. The calm brown eyes
                    awaited my decision. "I'll take
                    him," I said.
                    I drove home with the dog on the front seat beside
                    me. When I reached the house I honked the horn
                    twice. I was helping my prize out of the car when
                    Dad shuffled onto the front porch... "Ta-da! Look
                    what I got for you, Dad!" I said excitedly.
                    Dad looked, then wrinkled his face in disgust. "If I
                    had wanted a dog I would have gotten one. And I
                    would have picked out a better specimen than that
                    bag of bones. Keep it! I don't want it" Dad waved
                    his arm scornfully and turned back toward the house.
                    Anger rose inside me. It squeezed together my throat
                    muscles and pounded into my temples. "You'd better
                    get used to him, Dad . He's staying!"
                    Dad ignored me. "Did you hear me, Dad ?" I screamed.
                    At those words Dad whirled angrily, his hands
                    clenched at his sides, his eyes narrowed and blazing
                    with hate. We stood glaring at each other like
                    duelists, when suddenly the pointer pulled free from
                    my grasp. He wobbled toward my dad and sat down in
                    front of him. Then slowly, carefully, he raised his paw.
                    Dad 's lower jaw trembled as he stared at the
                    uplifted paw. Confusion replaced the anger in his
                    eyes. The pointer waited patiently. Then Dad was on
                    his knees hugging the animal.
                    It was the beginning of a warm and intimate
                    friendship. Dad named the pointer Cheyenne.
                    Together he and Cheyenne explored the community.
                    They spent long hours
                    walking down dusty lanes. They spent reflective
                    moments on the banks of streams, angling for tasty
                    trout. They even started to attend Sunday services
                    together, Dad sitting in a pew and Cheyenne lying
                    quietly at is feet.
                    Dad and Cheyenne were inseparable throughout the
                    next three years.. Dad 's bitterness faded, and he
                    and Cheyenne made many friends. Then late one night
                    I was startled to feel Cheyenne 's cold nose
                    burrowing through our bed covers. He had never
                    before come into our bedroom at night.

                    I woke Dick, put on my robe and ran into my father's
                    room. Dad lay in his bed, his face serene. But his
                    spirit had left quietly sometime during the night.
                    Two days later my shock and grief deepened when I
                    discovered Cheyenne lying dead beside Dad 's bed. I
                    wrapped his still form in the rag rug he had slept
                    on.  As Dick and I buried him near a favorite
                    fishing hole, I silently thanked the dog for the
                    help he had given me in restoring Dad 's peace of mind.
                    The morning of Dad 's funeral dawned overcast and
                    dreary. This day looks like the way I feel, I
                    thought, as I walked down the aisle to the pews
                    reserved for family. I was surprised to see the many
                    friends Dad and Cheyenne had made filling the
                    church. The pastor began his eulogy. It was a
                    tribute to both Dad and the dog who had changed his

                    And then the pastor turned to Hebrews 13:2. "Do not
                    neglect to show hospitality
                    to strangers, for by this some have entertained
                    angels without knowing it."
                    "I've often thanked God for sending that angel," he
                    For me, the past dropped into place, completing a
                    puzzle that I had not seen
                    before:  the sympathetic voice that had just read
                    the right article...
                    Cheyenne 's unexpected appearance at the animal
                    shelter. . ..his calm acceptance and complete
                    devotion to my father. . and the proximity of 
                    their deaths. And suddenly I understood. I knew that
                    God had answered my
                    prayers after all.
                    Life is too short for drama or petty things, so
                    laugh hard, love truly and forgive quickly. Live
                    While You Are Alive. Forgive now those who made you
                    cry. You might not get a second time.
               God answers our prayers in His time........not ours.






The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves!
We are the ones we've been waiting for.
A Hopi elder speaks.  Just click it now! Then get back here right away or I'm tellin Mom.

Offline misfitguy

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Re: Author Unknown
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2010, 02:18:59 PM »

Oh, boy.  That touched me.  Oh how it touched me.  Not only my love for animals but that fact I have had angels walk out of a crowd, and aid me.  I have even noticed that they had a confused look about them, as if they too wondered why they were offering what they just had to me.  And, I have found myself in that same role, aiding someone and later wondering what had caused me to go down that road and stop at that particular time, when I normally would simply drive by.  Thank you.

Go to  Why not?

Military justice is to justice what military music is to music.

~Groucho Marx

"The world is one country and mankind is its citizens..."  Baha'u'llah

Offline Smokebender

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Re: Author Unknown
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2010, 03:00:46 PM »
Just what I was hoping for MisFitGuy. So, thank you too.
The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves!
We are the ones we've been waiting for.
A Hopi elder speaks.  Just click it now! Then get back here right away or I'm tellin Mom.