By Kevin Schoen 12/22/2017
A Stick And A Hop – It’s what Bella does every day. It is a demonstration that she is thankful and giddy about life. She finds a stick on our morning walk and throws it and then hops or pounces on it. Her joy is palpable. Each day she either finds a new stick and this goes on for a while, or she finds the same stick, in which case, the stick moves closer to home, as she carries it part of the way each day. I think she actually has a plan to get them all home at some point so she doesn’t have to share them with other dogs.
For those who don’t know Bella, allow me to introduce you – Bella is a 71 pound, half labrador retriever and half brindle greyhound dog that found her way into my life after being abused for the first eleven months of her life. She lived with a couple who left her in a kennel in an empty apartment with only water for six days. I was going to take her home until I could find her a good home. She barged into my life with a smile and a big wet kiss; what could I do? It’s been five and a half months. She has her own leather recliner now. She follows me everywhere, even the bathroom. The bathroom is pretty small so she waits for me in the tub just so she doesn’t crowd me – now that’s thoughtful! Daily she offers to be a food tester to protect me from poisoning! What’s not to love?
I was talking to one of my kids the other day when she reminded me of a christmas long ago where there was no money for gifts. It pains me to hear and share this story but it is humility that sets men apart from boys, so I shall move on toward manhood some more today. I listened as she talked. I told her that that was a difficult memory for me. She said it was the only Christmas that she really remembers well, and that it is a very fond memory for her. Poverty can be so humiliating.
One day I went to my youngest daughters house. My grand daughter Gabriela, who was 4 at the time, gave me a bunch of drawings she had made. I was pretty tickled about her thoughtfulness. I was talking on the phone later with her Mom, my daughter, when I told her that Gabby had given me from her all, and that meant everything to me. She gave me from the best she had to give, her time and talent. It is about gratitude. I am grateful for each member of my family; my children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters and all of my in-laws, nieces and nephews, grand or otherwise, and Bella!
A new tv, computer, smart phone, games, toys, clothes, cars, houses, etc. are all wonderful gifts, don’t get me wrong. What I am saying is all of this pales when compared to time spent with those we love. While I get frustrated to see a couple sitting in a restaurant, both on their smart phones, not saying a word to each other, I am reminded of the value and preciousness of connections with those we love. It reminds me that we only get to keep our memories.
So now you have the answer to the question, what on earth is he doing with his mostly political flavored blog by writing an article entitled “A Stick And A Hop?” I’m wishing you a very simple and very grateful Merry Christmas. Put your phone down, shut off your computer and go play stick with your dog, or tell someone you care about them. Spend time. God blesses givers so go give someone some of your time. All of our problems will wait until we come back. God Bless You All, and Merry Christmas from Bella and I!