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A dog’s tale of Christmas spirit

As is my custom, I like to present my readers with a canine crafted Christmas story this time of year. This is a new one.

The Geezer and I wish you all a very "Merry Christmas"

The Geezer and I wish you all a very “Merry Christmas”

I watched the dog from my apartment window. The first time I noticed him was when I was eating lunch one Saturday. It was a blustery December day, cold, dreary … the type day best served by fireplaces, sofas with blankets, hot chocolate, and football games on the TV … not being outdoors. My apartment building adjoins the park where I saw him; that park’s lively April through October, but is as still as a mortuary in the cold Midwestern winter.

The dog was by himself, his actions rather strange for he chose to sit by an isolated park bench away from the access sidewalks that criss-cross the facility. Immobile as a statue, he faced into the wind and waited. I might have forgotten about him if it hadn’t been for the fact he was a Golden Retriever, one of my favorite canine breeds. It was for this reason I noticed the same animal, sitting precisely in the same location, after I returned from church the next day.

I’m a project engineer and elected to take a break in job assignments. Christmas was coming and with it another anniversary. My wife died, an untimely victim of a drunk driver the preceding Christmas day. Our ten years together was hardly enough and there were no children to help fill a Grande Canyon sized void in my life. Pity from relatives and friends, though well-meaning, added to my anguish. Their efforts to force me to indulge in an active social life revolted me. I was home, alone, on Monday and when lunch time arrived, I looked to see if the dog had returned to the park. He sat there, waiting for someone or something, patiently.

It was a bright, sunny day, with clear skies and cool temperatures. Between eating a sandwich, sipping coffee, and reading a novel, I kept tabs on the beast. The dog sat there, gazing intensely at the park entrance. The clock in my kitchen chimed two, I glanced at the dog in time to see him walking, alone, to the park’s front gate. I watched him cross the street and disappear into a maze of apartment buildings and homes. I decided I’d see if he’d return the next day. He did.

At eleven the next morning I saw him stroll through the park entrance, trot straight to the same bench, face the gate, sit on his haunches, and wait. Promptly at two, he left. Fascinated, I waited for the animal to change his behavior. He did not vary from his routine. Rain, wind, bitter cold … nothing made a difference. The only change I could see was his body thinning and a slightly perceivable slow-down in his gait.

A few days before Christmas two inches of snow covered the ground. I fancied I could see the animal shake. The poor dog looked as empty-hearted and forlorn as I felt. Before I gave it much thought, a pack of hamburger was in the microwave defrosting.

When I entered the park and stepped the hundred yards that separated us, the dog never looked at me. His eyes were focused on some unseen being in the world outside the park entrance. Goldens are known for their friendly disposition, but this one never acknowledged my existence, even when I sat on the bench next to him. His body was emaciated, his eyes slightly sunk into his skull.

“Hi boy.” The dog ignored me. “Who are you waiting for?” The retrievers eyes remained fixed on the gate. “You hungry?” I removed the hamburger from a cloth cooler and held it on my lap. The dogs nose twitched and its tongue circled its mouth. It did not move or take its eyes away from their vigil. I unwrapped the waxed paper from around the meat and placed it in front of the dog. It whimpered, but remained immobile. “Go ahead, boy.” He whimpered louder. “Go on,” I coaxed. The dog’s hunger won for a few seconds. He dropped his head over the meat and in a couple of gulps the hamburger disappeared. The dog returned to its watch. No amount of petting or verbal persuasion could distract it from its purpose.

“That dog belong to you?” A policeman stared down at the two of us. His expression was friendly, but sad.

“No, officer. I’ve been watching it from my window.” I pointed to my apartment. “I felt sorry for him.”

“It’s a stray. Some people reported it hanging around their home a couple days ago. I been keeping an eye on it. It doesn’t have a home. Sleeps where it can find a warm spot. One thing it does do, it always comes here during lunch time. I was hoping it was yours. Now I’ll have to call animal control and get it put down.”

“You don’t have to do that, do you?”

“Afraid so … unless someone adopts it.”

I heard myself say, “I will.”

‘Royal’ came home with me from the pound on Christmas Eve. It was obvious the dog had been well trained and cared for before his abandonment. He reacted to his new home with an attitude of grateful acceptance. As I had expected, there was a defined reservation in his demeanor. I new I was number two and probably always would be. We woke on Christmas morning … me grateful that something had entered my life to return some focus to it … he grateful for his improved chance of survival. I told him, “Well Royal, we got each other for Christmas.”

We spent the morning introducing ourselves to each other until eleven. It was then Royal barked for the first time. He changed from being calm and sedate to agitated. He went to the apartment door and scratched it and the floor beneath it. “Have to go out?” I asked. He barked and kept looking back and forth at the door and me. I had the leash on him and as we left the apartment there was no doubt where he was headed.

He led me to the park bench, and we sat there and waited, for what I had no idea. It was sunless, very cold, the wind was vicious, snow flew by horizontally and I settled deeper into my coat, wrapping my scarf over my face. Royal whimpered then began barking. When I uncovered my face he was staring at me … I thought.

From the bench next to me a soft feminine voice said, “I’m so happy that Clancy found a new home.” The voice came from a pretty young lady. Her long silver coat covered her in a manner that was surreal. Her brown hair spilled from a knitted cap, she had brown eyes, and smiling lips.

“You know who the dog belongs to?” I asked. She rose, nodded, said “yes,” and knelt in front of Royal wrapping her arms around the animal. It whimpered softly. The girl said, “Clancy belonged to Sally James. Sally had leukemia. The last weeks she lived she came to this park and sat here with Clancy.” The girl stroked the dog and scratched behind its ears. She put her head next to the dog’s ear and whispered to it. “I lost track of him after Sally died.” She patted the Golden on its head a few times and stood up. She smiled at the dog then at me.

I hoped for a negative answer. “If you’d like to take the dog, since he knows you …”

“Oh, no. I can’t have him with me. No dogs allowed kind of place. He is yours now. Besides, you two were made for each other.”

Royal, or Clancy, rested his head on my knee. His eyes were fixed on mine. It was as though a bond had passed from the dog, through the girl, to me. Looking deep into his eyes, I asked, “Ready to go home, boy?” He whimpered a positive response.

“Jessica approves.” It was the girl’s voice, but my wife’s name. My head jerked up to look at her … to ask her. No one was there. The dog and I were alone. His head and eyes were on me and are hearts were one. The weather hadn’t changed, but my life had suddenly turned warm. I spoke to the wind that howled around me, “Thank you Sally. Thank you Jess.” I will never be sure, but I believe I heard two women’s voices faintly, sweetly answer in the wind, “Merry Christmas.”

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Fall has fell! … The Geezer’s on the road again.

I hear Willie singing, "On the road again"

I hear Willie singing, “On the road again”

 

Fall is in the air! It’s only 92 degrees today and the humidity is 78%. Well, that’s better than its been. It means the holidays are coming and, best of all, the election will be over! It’s also traveling season for us as the Geezer starts his appearance schedule after his hip replacement.

Dogfucius has some bits of wisdom for the upcoming season.

Advice to does. A horny deer and a horny dear both must be approached with great caution unless one wishes to be horned. Approach a horny deer from downwind for best success when hunting. Approach a horny dear from upwind for nostril relief. (Hunting these is not necessary.)

Do not discuss going to Grandma’s house for Thanksgiving with any of your turkey friends.

Buy stock in insane asylums. The election will be over soon and overcrowding will be a problem.

I suggest humans with white chimneys post the following sign on Christmas Eve: “Santa, this is not our outhouse.”

Men, do not argue with your spouse about who will be the back half of your Halloween costume if you’re going dressed as a horse. You are what you are.

Speaking of horse rumps – My human, the lovable old Geezer, will be signing books at the On Point Book Fair tomorrow. If you’re in the Tampa, Florida area, he’ll be at the Westshore Plaza 10AM until (ugh) 9PM. Look for the sign with DL Havlin printed on it and the Geezer wearing his black Stetson.

 

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Merry Christmas …… Now for some LAUGHS …..

I'm a raindeer - Did I fool anyone?

I’m a reindeer – Did I fool anyone? …… Maybe rain dear?

Well, the Geezer has done it again. He’s posted his laughter inducing classic, “Claus and the Consultant.” This thoroughly enjoyable read is posted on (linked for your convenience)  www.dlhavlin.wordpress.com   If the season is getting hectic, and you need to renew your positive attitude with some humor, DON’T MISS READING IT! And, PLEASE, share it with your friends. Everyone can use an attitude adjustment at the end of this year.

 

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A Christmas story … for your pups … and you.

Woof! Woof!  Each year I like to tell a Christmas Story. This year it has a message … a positive one! Please share with your pups, family and friends.

A Christmas Story in the park.

The Geezer and I wish you all a very "Merry Christmas"

The Geezer and I wish you all a very “Merry Christmas”

Hi. I’m Sandy the Golden Retriever. I want to tell you a story.

            Each day my human takes me to the park. We meet some interesting people there … and we get to watch what they do. That’s how we got to know Sam, and the Wilson kids.

Sam is an old fellow who spends most every afternoon sitting in the park. He comes there to feed the birds. The old man doesn’t seem to have anything else to do. Sam is short, plump, and bald. I like to think his hair slipped ten inches because he has a long white beard and a mustache. He always has a big bag or two with him. The bags are loaded with goodies for his bird friends. All the birds in the park and the surrounding neighborhood know Sam and flock to him when they see him walking toward his favorite long bench. It is right across Main Street from Miller’s Department Store.

The Wilson kids like to hang around the same area. Billy is five. He loves to play “fetch” with me and his sister, who is a very wise ten, is one of the greatest dog petting people in the world. Trina knows just how to scratch behind my ears. Both the Wilsons love to feed the birds. I don’t chase the pigeons, starlings, and sparrows because Sam, the Wilson children, my human and me are all friends. We spend a lot of time sitting together and talking.

It gets cold where we live … very cold in December. The Wilsons don’t seem to mind the cold. They don’t wear heavy coats like most folks. Both Sam and my human have suggested they should dress warmer, but Trina and Billy never want to talk about it.

The leaves had all fallen, some patches of snow were scattered on the ground, and Christmas decorations filled Miller’s Department store. It was the day before Christmas. We were all seated on the bench feeding the birds from Sam’s huge bag of day-old bread. Little patches of white fog marked each breathe we took. The birds ate so much they could hardly fly. Sam said, “I think we need to stop feeding our buddies. I’m afraid some of them might pop.”

“Do we have to?” Billy was disappointed. I think he’d like to see a bird pop.

“Billy, Sam is right. Besides we can go look at what’s in Miller’s windows before they take everything out after Christmas.” Trina grabbed her brother’s hand and tried to pull him from the bench.

Billy resisted. “Awwww, I don’t want to. It makes me sad.”

My human asked, “Sad? Why does it make you sad?”

Trina answered, “Because he knows we’ll never get those things. Mama can’t afford it.”

“What does he want?” Sam asked.

“The train set with the yellow engine.” Trina tugged on Billy’s hand, half pulling him off the bench.

“You seem anxious to go look. What do you want from the window?” Sam smiled. “It must be important.”

“A cell phone. I don’t care which one. I want to call my friends and have them call me. I get left—” Trina didn’t finish her sentence.

Sam rubbed his beard for a few seconds. “Have you tried to ask Santa?”

“I would, but Mama doesn’t have time to take us. She’s too busy working this time of year.” Billy looked enthusiastic. Trina just smirked.

“You don’t have to see him in person. Just ask, he’ll hear,” Sam said.

“I don’t think so,” Billy said, “I’ve tried that before and it doesn’t work.”

“Will you walk me across the street?” Trina asked her brother.

Billy snorted, shrugged, and got off the bench. He walked to the street. Trina started to walk with him, but ran back for a second and whispered, “Don’t get his hopes up. He’ll never get it.” She raced back to catch Billy before he crossed the street.

My human shook his head. “What size coats do you think they wear, Sam?”

“The boy wears a size 4 the girl a 9. I’d buy them a size or two larger.”

My human nodded. “I hope they get something for Christmas that they want.”

Sam remained silent for several seconds before saying, “I want them to get something more important than a train set or a cell phone.”

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            Christmas afternoon my human and I were walking in the park when Billy and Trina ran up to us. Both wore new coats that were a little large. Their smiles were wide, but not as wide as the one on my human’s face. I figured out what the two of us had left outside the Wilson’s door. I barked to let them know, but my human just said, “Shsssh.”

We walked to the bench and our Friend Sam was already there. He looked tired, but happy. Two huge bags rested at his feet. “Merry Christmas,” he said as we approached. We answered, “Merry Christmas.”

“The bakery had an extra-large supply of bread to throw away and I intend to see the birds have a great Christmas, too.” Sam patted one of the bags.

Billy plopped down on the bench next to Sam and yelled, “Hooray.” My human and Trina sat on Sam’s other side.

Sam said, “Those are big Christmas smiles.”

“Yep, look at our coats,” Billy said.

“They’re so nice and warm,” Trina added.

“Well that’s good,” Sam got a serious look on his face. “I thought you’d be disappointed.”

“Why?” Trina asked.

Because Santa made a mistake and delivered some of your presents to my house.” Sam opened the second bag lying at his feet. He handed a large gaily wrapped package to Billy and small one to Trina. The wrapping paper tore easily and soon Billy was admiring his new train set … with a yellow engine. Trina held her I-phone in her hand with a grip so tight her fingers turned white. Tears entered her eyes and my humans. And, I admit, mine. Trina looked at Sam and said, “Thank you.”

“Oh, don’t thank me. These really came from Santa. Look,” Sam slid his fingers over the cell and a message appeared. He handed the phone to Trina and she read the e-mail.

“From: S. Claus … To: Billy and Trina Wilson …

I hope you enjoy the wrapped presents. I have two more gifts for you that are far more important. One is hope. The other is belief. As long as you keep these two things in your hearts and minds, anything is possible in your lives.”

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Merry Christmas from Sandy & Author DL Havlin 
sandy-blog-1-042www.SandySays1.WordPress.com qrcode.32492489 Web Site (2)
www.DLHavlin.com

Thank goodness it’s over ….. Or is it?

I'm to pooped to pop. All this black whatever shopping is getting exhausting.

I’m too pooped to pop. All this black whatever shopping is getting exhausting.

Shopping is exhausting. My human’s wife is one of those who looks forward to the insanity know as “Black Friday.” In the past she’d get up early, spend the day after Thanksgiving battling competitive shoppers for the specials, get home, put up her feet, and thank the barons of commerce for the crumbs. AND … She’d be thankful that her ordeal by department store was done for another year.

No longer.

Have you seen the ads on TV? There is no day, occasion, incident, or excuse to flimsy to put the word “black” in front of and use as a ploy to try to extract a few more coins from the beleaguered consumer. Even car dealers are going black – some for the whole month. We now have Black Thanksgiving Eve, Blacker Thanksgiving Morning, Kind-a-black Saturday, Black I-net Monday, and Dark-Gray-Turning-Black-Sunday. The magnetic strips are being worn off credit cards, wallets are being worn out, and both shoppers and shop-keepers patience is worn away.

I guess I should be thankful. At least it reduces the number of political ads on TV.

 

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This and that ……….

The Geezer at the Copperfish

The Geezer at the Copperfish

Thank You! Thank You!

A couple of you reminded the Geezer, when he spoke at the Copperfish last night, that I needed my turn at the computer. He’s promised to be more considerate and let me have my paws on the keyboard more frequently.

The Geezer had a most successful trek to the Copperfish. He met lots of folks, both fans and prospective new ones, I’m sure he wowed them with his bullshit, had a great gab session, and (oh, yes) sold and signed a bunch of books.

Another thank you is in order. That’s to the 20,000 plus visitors who have read my blog. Woof, woof. I reached the milestone a few days ago. It’s humbling to this dog and I’ll do my best to continue to make your visits here worth your time.

T’is the season, or at least, it’s close to it. The Geezer will be posting one (or more) of his Christmas Stories on his blog and I’ll be doing the same on this one. Look for them to start right after Thanksgiving.

Finally:    Woof-Arf   Grrr-Arf-Woof.     Translated into Humanese that’s ………………………. HAPPY THANKSGIVING.

 

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A Gift of laughter from Sandy and the Geezer —-

Merry Christmas!

The Geezer and I wish you all a very "Merry Christmas"

The Geezer and I wish you all a very “Merry Christmas”

The Geezer and I have a present for you and your friends. It’s a package of laughs in the form of a blog post named “Claus and the Consultant.” Learn what happens when Santa seeks help from an efficiency expert. Visit my human’s blog to read it  —-  http://www.dlhavlin.wordpress.com  —- and enjoy. (There’s a link on this page)  Spread the joy to friends and associates.

 

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