Tag Archive | Megabyte

To Hug Or Not To Hug

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Floey being hugged by one of her best friends.

“Floey, did you see that story on the news last week? The one that said dogs don’t like to be hugged?”

“Yeah. I saw it, Mom.”

“Well, what did you think about the story? Do dogs like to be hugged, or not?”

“Mom, it’s not exactly a yes or no question. I love to cuddle. You know that.”

“I sure do, Floey. You’re the cuddliest dog I’ve ever known. Often when I’m sitting on the couch, you hop up right next to me and snuggle. I love to put my arms around you and give you a little squeeze, and you nuzzle me or try to squirm even closer to me. I love it that you’re such an affectionate dog.”

“I usually like to be close and snuggly with you and Mim. And when you and Mim are close together, I like to get in the middle to get hugs from both sides. That’s heaven. My whole world seems to be brimming with love during those times.”

“Oh, that’s good to hear. I thought maybe you were jealous.”

“Oh, no, Mom. Just feeling the love. But you know, sometimes I like to be all by myself. At those times, I’d prefer for you not to hug me. And I never want a complete stranger to hug me. I want to be free to move quickly if I feel I need to move. So, like I said, there’s not a yes or no answer to the question of to hug or not to hug.”

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Mim and Megabyte walking Mim’s mom about 20 years ago.

“I understand, Floey.”

“I know some of my dog friends don’t like anyone to hug them.”

“You know, Floey, your oldest step-sister, Megabyte, our first dog, was a very sweet,loving dog, but she didn’t like to be hugged at all. She loved to be petted, and she loved to play together, especially to catch tennis balls, but she didn’t like hugging. I guess it made her feel too confined and vulnerable.”

“I think that’s it, Mom. Some dogs just like to feel completely free to move at the tiniest glimpse of a potential threat. It doesn’t mean they’re not loving. It may mean they want to be totally free to protect their family.”

“Well, I’m awfully glad you’re a cuddler, Floey.”

“Hey, Mom, while we’re talking, there’s something I’ve been wanting to talk to you about. It’s about Mim.”

“Okay. What’s up?”

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Mim and Floey sitting together on the couch.

“I really love her as my second mom. You know that, don’t you?”

“Of course, I do.”

“Well, I don’t like to criticize, but I think she’s being awfully nasty to the Finch family that’s trying to move back into our yard. Mr. House Finch perches on the deck railing off and on throughout the day and sings to his heart’s content. Ann just loves watching and listening to him when she’s sitting in her easy chair next to the patio doors. And, Mrs. House Finch flies back and forth to and from the deck with little sticks and grasses to build her nest. Mean old Mim keeps opening and closing the awning to chase the Finches away. Then she goes out on the deck to pull down the nest that’s in progress and she sweeps all the nest building materials off the deck. That’s so mean! Mrs. Finch needs to get her nest built so that she can lay eggs. Doesn’t Mim understand that?”

“Oh, she understands that, Floey. And she really wants the Finches to stay in the neighborhood. It’s just that Mrs. Finch insists on building her nest under the metal cover of the retractable awning that goes out over the deck. Every time we push the button on the remote control to roll out the awning, the nest will be disturbed. If there are eggs in it, they will probably get broken. Or, if Mr. or Mrs. Finch is sitting in the nest, they might get hurt. Although the metal awning cover may seem like a good homesite to Mrs. Finch, it really isn’t. Mim is just trying to discourage her from building her nest there. Maybe she could build it under the deck flooring. Or in one of the trees next to the pond. Or even under the roof of the condo. Just not under the awning cover.”

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“Now I understand. I couldn’t believe how hard-hearted Mim was being. I felt so sorry for Mrs. Finch. What can we do to help Mrs. Finch understand?”

“The only thing Mim and I can think of is to move the awning in and out whenever we see her up there. But she still keeps trying. I hope she gives up soon and finds another homesite.”

“Maybe I could start barking whenever I see her flying up there with a beak full of grass and twigs. That might scare her away.”

“It might, Floey, but it might scare Mr. and Mrs. Finch away entirely. We don’t want that. The Finches are nice neighbors. They sing such a happy song when they’re sitting on the deck railing.”

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“Yeah. You’re right. Sometimes I wish all of God’s creatures spoke the same language. Wouldn’t that be great, Mom? Then we could communicate better with each other, avoid misunderstandings, and get along with each other better.”

“That sounds good, but think about it, Floey. Think of all the people in the world who speak the same language. Like Mr. Trump. Senator Cruz. Governor Kasich. Secretary Clinton. Senator Sanders. Do they really understand each other? Do they really get along with each other? Yet they speak the same language.”

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“I see your point, Mom. But it’s not hopeless, is it? You and I have learned how to communicate with each other. Like earlier today, when we were talking about hugs. You know what I like, and I know what you like. We want to make each other happy. We respect each other’s preferences, and we treat each other with kindness. Hey. Maybe that’s the secret for all of us getting along with each other. Kindness – your special word for this year.”

“You may be right, Floey. So, ‘mean, old Mim’ is really being kind to the Finches by removing their nest every time Mrs. Finch starts to build it in the awning. Mim doesn’t want her to waste her time building a nest where it won’t be safe. Mrs. Finch needs to get busy building her nest in a safe place so that she can start laying eggs. We’re telling her that the only way we know how.”

“Yeah. Maybe we can show even more kindness to the Finches by working with our other neighbors to be sure the bird feeders are kept full. Then the Finches will know they’ve chosen a friendly neighborhood for their family.”

“Good idea, Floey.”

“Hey, this is fun, Mom. How many ways do you think we can come up with to be kind to the Finches?”

“Let’s not stop with the Finches, Floey. Let’s think of all the way ways we can be kind to all our neighbors!”

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All God’s creatures understand kindness.

Frustrated?

Frustrated bodyHave you ever had one of those really frustrating days? Nothing is going your way. The clock radio was full of static when it woke you up in the morning. You were out of milk for breakfast.  The traffic was heavy and slow, and someone just cut you off. You can feel the frustration growing in you and you need a release.

Prayer BookOne morning last week I came across a prayer for that kind of day. I haven’t said much about the prayer book that’s part of my daily devotional reading for this year, My Personal Daily Prayer Book by Christine A. Dallman and Margaret Anne Huffman (©2003 Publications International, Ltd., Lincolnwood, IL). Each day’s page begins with a Bible verse and then provides a prayer. Sometimes the prayer is a quotation. Sometimes it’s written by the authors of this prayer book. Usually the prayer is very informal, very personal.

Here is the page from May 12, last Tuesday:

They refused to obey… they stiffened their necks…. But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and you did not forsake them.  [Nehemiah 9:17]

The people around me are driving me nuts, God. Traffic was backed up on the tollway, the checkout counters were flooded with carts and strange characters, and the sidewalks were crowded and crunched. My mood overtook my manners today, and I stubbornly refused to say “after you,” “excuse me,” and “please” until I heard a three-year-old in the parking lot say politely to her mother, “Thank you.” With an apology on my lips, help me climb out of this rut of irritation and shame and make amends. Help me learn from my mistakes and do better for the rest of this day.  

frustrationThe next day, May 13, the authors were still talking about having a bad day. The Bible passage was:

Though the fig tree does not blossom, and no fruit is on the vines; though the produce of the olive fails and the fields yield no food; though the flock is cut off from the fold and there is no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the God of my salvation. [Habakuk 3:17-18]

The prayer was:

Murphy’s law sometimes seems to characterize my life, God, but I don’t want to have a defeatist attitude. You allow difficulties to come my way to refine my character. Help me see setbacks as challenges and not as curses. Help me approach problems as opportunities to learn and grow and not as insurmountable walls. Teach me to have a tenacity of faith that can find a reason to be happy, even in adversity. Amen.

Frustration signSome days an extra comment or quotation follows the prayer. On May 13, a short poem (almost a limerick, except the first line doesn’t rhyme) ended the page:

‘Tis easy enough to be pleasant,
When life flows along like a song;
     But the man worth while
     is the one who will smile
When everything goes dead wrong.
    [Ella Wheeler Cox, “Worth While”]

I smiled when I read that. The inevitable experience of having a bad day on occasion doesn’t mean I can’t smile and make the best of the situation. Despite everything that seems to be happening around me, I know God still loves me, and that should help lighten my mood.

Fortunately, I’ve been having lots of good days lately, and very few bad days. However, I’m going to try hard to remember the pattern of the prayers (and the near-limerick) from May 12 and 13, and to pray a similar prayer the next time my day starts with static on the clock radio, no milk for my cereal, and way too many rude people crossing my path.

Nothing ever frustrated Megabyte more than the monstrous vacuum cleaner!

Nothing ever frustrated Megabyte, our first dog, more than the vacuum cleaner monster!

More on that Reflection in the Mirror – and in the Photo

Floey sitting w patio door reflectionIn last week’s blog post I wrote about Floey’s reaction to seeing her reflection, and I changed the words of a familiar old song to “How Mean is that Doggie in the Mirror?” Then, personalizing it, I rewrote the simple lyrics again with the words “How Kind is that Person in the Mirror?” This week Floey and I have some more thoughts about reflections that we see of ourselves…

This time of year is significant for our family, and I was talking with Floey about that on Saturday. “Hey, Floey, do you know what today is?”

Floey-Marian faces selfie 2“I sure do, Mom! It’s the second day of my one-year birthday celebration. You do know I have a 2-day birthday, don’t you?”

“Well, I guess you might say that,” I replied. “Your adoption record says you were born on January 23, 2014, but your first vet record has a hand-written birthdate that is either January 24 or January 29 – I can’t tell for sure. So I guess we could celebrate your birthday throughout January 23 and 24, if you’d like.”

“Yup. That’s what I want to do – every year – a 2-day celebration!” she said with her tail wagging.

“OK, that’s what we’ll do,” I told her. Then I added, “You chose a really special time of year to be born, Floey, at least for our family.”

“Really? What else is special – besides my birthday?”

“We celebrate the nine days from January 24 to February 1 every year. On February 1, 1973 I met Mim in a small group Bible study, and she invited me to share her apartment with her until I could find a place of my own. I never moved out. On February 1 of this year we will have lived together 42 years.”

“Wow! That’s 294 dog years!” Floey exclaimed. “But what happened on January 24 that gives you reason to celebrate all those days between January 24 and February 1?”

“On January 24, 1989 – 26 years ago – Mim and I had a Blessing Ceremony. It was our time to publicly declare our love for each other and to promise to love and care for each other for the rest of our lives. Our Lutheran pastor performed the ceremony. Our attorney was there with our wills and power of attorney documents to be signed and witnessed for us to convey to each other as many ‘spousal rights’ as we could.”

“Does that mean that you’re really married? That we’re really a family forever?”

Floey-Marian working at desk 2“Of course it does, Floey. But for legal purposes we had a legal wedding in Minnesota a year and a half ago. That’s another date we celebrate – September 15.”

“I’m sure glad I joined this family! We celebrate a lot!”

“We sure do, and the nine-day stretch of January 24 through February 1 is the special time we’re celebrating right now.”

“Hey, we can make it a ten-day celebration, by having it begin with my birthday!”

“I guess we can, Floey. But now, maybe you can help me pick out some pictures to use. I want to create an anniversary card for Mim. I’ve got lots of old photos to choose from.”

Ch-1 MM front of Xmas treeFloey stared at an old photo. “Is that really you, Mom? It can’t be. Those two young women look really happy, but they don’t look very wise. And they are long-haired people. Were you and Mim ever long-haired?”

“Yes, Floey. We were both long-haired people when we were in our twenties. Can’t you see any resemblance to us at all in this picture?”

“I don’t know, Mom.”

MM 1988 church picture cropped“Well, how about this picture. It was taken about 15 years later for the church directory. We knew we had found the right church when the pastor said that of course we could have our picture taken together as a family for the church directory. That’s the pastor who married us with a blessing ceremony a couple years later. Here’s a picture from the ceremony.”

BC-1 MM Steve“I guess I can see you in that picture. Old pictures give funny reflections of who you are, don’t they. They aren’t quite like mirrors. Or maybe we can say they are mirrors that reflect our history.”

“You’re right, Floey. That’s a good way to say it.”

I flipped through some more pictures in the photo album. Floey jumped up and said, “Is that you and Mim holding that blond puppy?”

Ch-1 MM Megabyte on couch“Yes. That’s Megabyte. About a year after our blessing ceremony we adopted our first dog. We were ready for our family to grow. A year later we adopted our second dog, Maia. She’s in this next picture along with Megabyte and Mim’s mom who lived with us for five years.”

M-M-Selma-Meg-Maia cropped“I’m glad you have these family pictures so I can see my older sisters and see all the love that has been shared in my family.”

“I’m glad you can see the love in these family pictures. That’s what I really hope these reflections of our family life over the years show. The next picture is only a couple years old – so you should easily recognize us. It’s a family portrait with Abbey, our last dog before you came to us. Do you think we still look as happy as we did on our first picture? And have we started to look wise yet?”

PID 445601 Back Cover Family Portrait“Oh, Mom, I can see love and happiness in all of these pictures. I think there might be some wisdom starting to show too – in the gray hair and the extra weight (probably gained by sitting around pondering life’s mysteries). But you don’t have any family pictures with me in them yet. When can we get our picture taken together?”

Mim-Floey-Marian 01-06-15“That will happen soon. Remember I took that selfie a couple weeks ago. Pretty soon we’ll start taking more pictures. We want our photo history to reflect as much of the love and joy in our lives as possible.

“I guess I need to write another verse for our doggie song.”

How loving is that family in the photo?
The one with the moms and the dogs.
How loving is that family in the photo?
I hope they’re still keeping photo logs.

“That’s kind of a strange lyric, Mom. Can’t you do better than that?”

“Well, Floey, what words can you think of that rhyme with ‘dogs’?”

“I see what you mean. I’ll stick with ‘woof, woof’ – that always rhymes.”

Floey adoption photo

HELP WANTED: Canine Companion and Caregiver

We took a vote – Mim and me and our three 93-year-olds. We want to get another dog as soon as we can. We don’t want to wait till spring, which was our original plan.

Every time Anna comes home from one of her outside activities, she says, “I miss Abbey so much.” When we asked her if she would like us to get another dog, her face broke into a huge smile. “Really?” she asked.

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Abbey wishing Anna Happy Birthday a couple years ago.

Carolyn told us, “You know I love dogs. As soon as we can get one is fine with me.” Martha concurred, “I like having a dog around.”

We all miss Abbey. She was a wonderful companion and caregiver – a truly amazing manifestation of God’s love. Now that she is no longer with us, except in our still vivid memories, we all want to find another dog to live with us and be our loving companion.

Abbey enjoying hours of non-stop petting from Edith.

 

I’ve started spreading the word and searching the Internet to find our next canine companion and caregiver. Here’s what we’re looking (and praying) for:

HELP WANTED: Canine Companion and Caregiver

Incredible life-long position for the right candidate. Applicant must be committed to the belief that dogs were created to be special instruments of God’s love to all species on earth.

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Marie scratching Megabyte’s ear.

Job Description. Applicant will become a devoted family member of the Country Comforts Assisted Living Family. Family members include Mim and Marian, a few people who are elderly and may be somewhat frail, several other human caregivers, and extended family members of all the above. Must interact in a friendly manner with everyone, including guests. Specific tasks will include, but not be limited to, the following:

  • Sit still for hours beside an elderly resident while she pets you.
  • Warmly greet each resident whenever she enters the room you’re in.
  • Occasionally hop onto the bed of a hospice resident to cuddle if she can no longer get up.
  • Take the other caregivers on long walks daily to keep them in good physical condition.
  • Do the pre-wash on dishes before they are loaded into the dishwasher.
  • Clean up any food that falls on the floor.
  • Warmly greet all guests at the door.
Patti-Abbey in bed

Abbey comforting Patti just a couple days before she passed away.

Required Skills and Personal Traits. On-the-job training will be provided for specific duties, but general skills that are required of this position include:

  • A calm demeanor. Some enthusiasm, exhibited by a frequently wagging tail, is desired, but hyperactive jumping and running is unacceptable.
  • A soft voice. Loud, frequent barking is unacceptable. An occasional loud bark to alert us to matters of concern is desirable.
  • Ideal candidate will be between 1 and 4 years of age and will weigh between 20 and 50 pounds. Mixed breeds are preferred, but not required.
Maia and Selma in wheelchair

Maia cleaning off Selma’s clothing protector after a good meal.

Compensation. Food, shelter, health care, and unlimited love and companionship forever.

To Apply. Respond to this blog post, or send a personal email to MarianKorth@gmail.com.

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Megabyte and Mim walking Selma (Mim’s mother).

 

The Dogs in My Life

Family dogs out for a ride in my brother's car

Family dogs out for a ride in my brother’s car.

God so loved the world that she gave us dogs.

The first dog in my life was Teddy. He was a big brown and white collie mix that lived in the barn. He only came into the house occasionally to warm up, when it was really cold outside. My dad had trained him to be a faithful working dog. When it was time for the cows to come back to the barn for evening milking, my dad would yell as loud as he could, “Come, boss,” hoping that the cows would hear him and come home to the barn. Teddy would take that as his cue to run to the pasture or down the lane to the woods to get them. He would find them, gather them together by running around them and barking, and would herd them to the barn.

I couldn't find any of my own pictures of Teddy, but this what I remember him looking like.

I couldn’t find any of my own pictures of Teddy, but this what I remember him looking like.

I was a little afraid of Teddy. I liked to pet him and say, “Nice, Teddy,” but I never dared to give him a really big hug or play with him. He was a very big dog, and I was a very little girl. He died of old age when I was about 5.

Tippy

Tippy

Our next dog was Tippy, a mostly black collie mix puppy with white tips on his paws and tail. My dad had hopes of training him to be another cow dog, but my brother Danny and I had other ideas. We trained him to be a playmate. Although he still had to sleep in the barn, Tippy was at our side whenever Danny and I were outside. Unfortunately, after a couple years he was killed by a car speeding down our country road.

Rinny - c1955

Rinny

The next dog in our lives was Rinny, named after RinTinTin, the german shepherd on TV. Rinny didn’t look like RinTinTin – Rinny was another black and white collie mix. My dad still had hopes of training another cow dog, but Danny and I adopted him as our next playmate, and Rinny never paid much attention to my dad.

While Rinny was still in our lives, a stray german shepherd mix wandered onto the farm and decided to stay a while. I named him Bullet, after my other TV dog hero. Bullet became my dog and Rinny was Danny’s. While we were negotiating that deal, our mom told us about when she sold her dog Mollie for $2 to her brother Helmer. From a practical standpoint, Mollie was still the family dog, and Mom was $2 richer.

Bullet with me and my newest Kitten Useless.

Bullet with me and my kitten Useless.

After a couple years, Rinny suffered the same fate as Tippy. Left alone, Bullet must have been bored when Danny and I were away at school all day, and he wandered off to find another home that needed his love.

Danny and Mollie 2

Danny and Mollie

Our succession of dogs continued with our own Mollie, a brown collie mix, and Tammy, our first little dog, probably a beagle-terrier mix. By that time my dad was resigned to the fact that any dogs coming into our household would become playmates, not working dogs. That meant it was no longer necessary to get a dog with herding instincts.

Tammy

Tammy

As an adult, I lived without a dog in my life until I reached my early 40s. Mim had not grown up with dogs, so she didn’t know how much love they could bring into your life. I finally convinced her I needed a dog when she got a job working nights for the Night Ministry – I didn’t want to be home alone at night in Chicago without a dog. We made a visit to the Anti-Cruelty Society in downtown Chicago, and walked out with a 10-week old blonde collie-golden retriever mix puppy. I named her Megabyte. (I was a computer consultant at the time.) Megabyte was the perfect dog to turn Mim into a dog lover. I knew she was converted when she told me about the homeless man who told her one night that DOG was GOD, just spelled backwards.

Megabyte as puppy

Megabyte

Meg was a very affectionate and social dog. She loved to go for walks in the park and loved to play with all the dogs in the neighborhood. We even arranged play dates with Charlee, the puppy down the block who was about the same age. When Mim and I decided to move to Cambridge, we were concerned that Meg might be lonely without all her canine friends, so we made another trip to the Anti-Cruelty Society to adopt a sister for her. We were drawn to a 3-month-old black border collie-spaniel mix. Mim named her Maia. From day one, Maia tried to be the boss, but the two dogs quickly worked out their own rules for sharing the leadership role.

Megabyte and Maia with Marian in Chicago

Megabyte and Maia with Marian in Chicago

Both Meg and Maia lived well into their teens (their 90s in dog years).

Then came Abbey. You already know a lot about Abbey and all the love she has shared with us and the people who have lived with us. She’s been the perfect caregiver, with plenty of love, gentleness, kindness, and wisdom to share with everyone who has lived in our home.

Abbey head-on colorYesterday, Abbey went to meet all the rest of the dogs in our family – Teddy, Tippy, Rinny, Bullet, Mollie, Tammy, Megabyte, and Maia – plus many of her cousin dogs and people friends. For the last couple years Abbey has had a slow-growing mass in her brain that has been affecting her ability to walk. It finally got too much for her, and God invited her to come home to heaven. She had fulfilled her purpose on earth very well – teaching all of us more about God’s love than we ever could have imagined without knowing her.

Marian Korth Family Portrait - bronze 2

God loved us so much that she gave us Abbey for 8 years
to teach us more about God’s love.

De-Adult Me, Please

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Remake me as an awe-fascinated primitive,
de-adult me so as to wonder like a child …
[from Edward Hays, A BOOK OF WONDERS, p. 336]

The picture above is my great niece, Katie. I snapped the picture at our family Christmas celebration in 2001. Katie is in high school now. I hope she keeps her sense of awe and wonder forever.

snow on bushesIt snowed last week for the first time this season. And for the first time in my life, I wasn’t delighted by it. Well, maybe for a split second I noticed the beauty of the fluffy white blanket on the bushes outside my bedroom window. But that tiny moment of delight was quickly replaced with feelings of, “Oh no, not already!”

For the last forty years or so I’ve been adult enough to not appreciate snow – at least not publicly. But privately, I’ve always thought snow is beautiful – whether it’s coming to earth in giant snowflakes or it’s silently covering everything outside with a pure white blanket of sparkly fluff. The first snowfall of the season has always given me childlike delight.

Always. Until this year. What happened? Do I need a new coat? A new pair of boots? New tires on my car? Or, do I need to bring out my Christmas music to get me in the mood?

I really don’t know what’s wrong this year. Have I finally become an adult completely? If so, I think I want to pray to become “de-adulted” as Edward Hays suggests.

After all, JOY is my special word for 2014. If I’ve become too much of an adult to experience JOY at the season’s first snowfall, I really need some serious “de-adulting.”

Megabyte was the first dog Mim and I adopted. She always loved to play in the snow. For Meg, every day was filled with many, many moments of joy.

 

Abbey’s Dream

Abbey Profile 2Abbey came running to see me this morning. “Hey Mom, I’ve gotta tell ya about the dream I had last night. You won’t believe everyone who was in it!”

“Really, Abbey. Who was there? Tell me all about it,” I replied.

“The dogs who used to live with you – Megabyte and Maia were in the dream. Aunt Marilyn’s cats were in it, too! I can hardly believe it, Mom. Grandma and Grandpa were also there. The dream was so vivid. Now I know what everyone looks like, even though I haven’t seen anyone face to face – yet. The whole dream took place in heaven…”

Megabyte (left) and Maia

Megabyte (left) and Maia exploring CamRock Park about 12 years ago.

The dream began with Megabyte trotting home to her dog mansion on the banks of the little creek in Dogwood Estates. (Yes, Mom. There are lots of smaller settlements throughout the “Holy City.”) Maia was lying on the front step, just waking up from a nap. She looked up at Meg and asked, “Where have you been, Meggie?”

“I’ve been visiting with Grandma and Grandpa over at their house in Peaceful Prairie. Did I ever have an interesting afternoon! Too bad you didn’t come with me. I decided to go over there to ask Grandpa to throw some tennis balls for me to catch. I didn’t ask you to come along with me because I know you’d rather play herding games than catch a tennis ball.”

“That’s right. But if you had an interesting afternoon, you must have done more than catch tennis balls. What happened?”

“Yup. Grandma had some visitors. Cats! You remember Spiffy and Kimberly Katt, don’t you? They were Aunt Marilyn’s cats when she lived in Wheaton and Chicago.”

“Of course, I remember Spiff and Kimberly. We get together to play stalking games sometimes, but we haven’t seen them in several months. What were they doing at Grandma and Grandpa’s house?” Maia asked.

cat talking“They were bringing a new cat, Millie, to meet Grandma. Millie lived with Aunt Marilyn for the last 17 years, and she just arrived in heaven a couple weeks ago. Spiff and Kimberly were taking her around to meet some of their favorite people. Grandma made them all some catnip tea. They were having a good time! When Grandma saw me coming, she dished up some ice cream for me. We all sat around and visited for a long time.”

“What did you talk about?”

“That’s what was so interesting. The cats took turns telling us what they each had taught Aunt Marilyn. They were actually bragging about the wisdom they each had shared with her. To hear them talk, you’d think cats were the smartest creatures God ever created. But I’ll admit, they did teach Aunt Marilyn a lot.”

“We taught our moms a lot, too. But what did the cats teach Aunt Marilyn?

“Well Spiff talked first, as the eldest. He had only five years to teach Aunt Marilyn because he died young of feline leukemia. He taught her how important it is to go on adventures, to stalk for prey, even if it’s imaginary.”

Maia smiled. “I like Spiff. He’s always ready to go on an adventure. We need to hike over to Cattail Land more often to play together.”

“I agree, Maia. I especially like to play with Kimberly Katt. In our conversation at Grandma’s, Kimberly said she taught Aunt Marilyn to play catch, to take time to play, to not be too busy to enjoy life.”

“Yeah. Kimberly is right about that. I’ll never understand why it’s so hard for people to learn that. They always think they have to be so busy.”

cat talking and smiling“From this afternoon’s conversation, I think Millie taught Aunt Marilyn more than the other two cats put together. Maybe it’s because she lived with her the longest. Or, maybe it was just that Grandma encouraged Millie to talk the most because she was new to heaven, and Grandma wanted to make her feel at home.”

“Yup. Grandma would do that – want to make her feel really welcome,” Maia interjected.

“Millie described herself as an engineer. Her favorite game was to watch Aunt Marilyn pull a string under or through something. Millie would calculate where it would end up, and that’s where she would pounce. However, on the rare occasion that she miscalculated a jump, the lesson she taught Aunt Marilyn was that it’s okay to make a mistake, but then it’s important to get right back up and try again. Millie talked about other lessons she taught Aunt Marilyn, too, but I finished my ice cream and wanted to go play catch with Grandpa, so we went outside to play ball while the cats kept on talking inside with Grandma.”

Meg w tennis balls

Megabyte resting after retrieving two of her favorite tennis balls.

“Well it sounds like you had a good afternoon. I had a good nap. I think I’ll go down to the front gate for a while to see if St. Peter needs any help keeping the new arrivals in line. See you later, Meggie.”

“Bye, Maia.”

Abbey was quiet for a minute when she finished telling me her dream. Then she looked up at me and said, “You know what, Mom. I think when we get to heaven, we’ll get new healthier bodies, but we’ll still be the same inside. Megabyte is still a golden retriever at heart. You can tell by how much she loves to catch tennis balls. And Maia is still a border collie who lives to herd anything. She loves her job helping St. Peter at heaven’s entrance gate.”

“I’m sure you’re right, Abbey. Hey, thanks for sharing your dream with me. You’re teaching me a lot of things, too. God had a really good idea about placing cats and dogs in human households to teach people about what’s important in life. I’m not sure we would have ever figured it out on our own.”

“You’re welcome, Mom. I’m glad God brought us together, too. And just think, some day we’ll all get together in heaven, just like the song says.”

Sing the wondrous love of Jesus,
Sing His mercy and His grace;
In the mansions bright and blessed
He’ll prepare for us a place.

When we all get to heaven,
What a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
We’ll sing and shout the victory!

[When We All Get to Heaven by Eliza E. Hewitt, published 1898]

sunset-with-dog-picture