Think your Tough huh? Lets see!

Discussion in 'General Conversation' started by don3778, Jan 20, 2008.

  1. don3778

    don3778 New Member

    Messages:
    400
    State:
    Walkervill
    The Old Man and the Dog

    by Catherine Moore



    "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 alone.

    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 hipbones jutted out in lopsided triangles. But it
    was his eyes that caught and held my attention. Calm and clear, they
    beheld me unwaveringly.

    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 his 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
    life. And then the pastor turned to Hebrews 13:2. "Be not forgetful to
    entertain strangers."


    "I've often thanked God for sending that angel," he said.

    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 & petty things, so laugh hard,
    love truly and forgive quickly.

    Live While You Are Alive.
    Tell the people you love that you love them, at every
    opportunity.
    Forgive now those who made you cry. You might not get a
    second time.

    Lost time can never be found.




    Now How Tough Are You?

    don3778
     
  2. Wil

    Wil New Member

    Messages:
    1,746
    State:
    Minden Nebraska
    thank you for that brother, i appreciate it
     

  3. Ol Man

    Ol Man New Member

    Messages:
    3,170
    State:
    Illinois
    O.K., maybe I ain't so tough... Thanks Don...
    __________
    Celibacy is not an inherited characteristic.
     
  4. catfishjohn

    catfishjohn New Member

    Messages:
    10,217
    State:
    Greenup Co. KY
    Thanks for the great post Don!
     
  5. 223reload

    223reload New Member

    Messages:
    10,798
    State:
    Oklahoma
    Dangit,Don ,Ya had me snifflin after the third paragraph.:cry::0a31:
    That was appreciated.
     
  6. lawnman61

    lawnman61 New Member

    Messages:
    1,694
    State:
    Fort Worth, Tex
    My father always thought that I needed to be as strong as him, he spent 22 years in the USMC and he is brain washed Marine so I always had to be as tuff as a Marine. If I got in a fight and lost my dad beat my ass and wanted me to be tougher and stronger than the other guy. It was very hard growing up that way. He had 2 trips to Nam and came home both times.

    Thanks for that wonderful post brother. :big_smile:
     
  7. yadkinrivercats

    yadkinrivercats Member

    Messages:
    330
    State:
    mocksville,n.c.
    That will make ya think. Thanks for the post
     
  8. dookiechrist

    dookiechrist New Member

    Messages:
    94
    State:
    utah
    good stuff, thank you much.........my dogs have a habbit of suppressing my demons...and i'm not entirely sure what really is tough anymore....?
     
  9. ladyfish50

    ladyfish50 New Member

    Messages:
    4,182
    State:
    Louisiana
    Really beautiful story. Thanks, Don.
     
  10. MRR

    MRR New Member

    Messages:
    4,947
    State:
    Louisiana,Mo.
    Not ashamed to admit I'm not tuff.Great story. Thanks for sharing it.
     
  11. Catcaller

    Catcaller New Member

    Messages:
    1,511
    State:
    SoutheastKansas
    That was no dog. That was an angel sent to someone in need of one.