My Old True Love
I am at the lake house, now, alone. I picked up a book that I read a few weeks ago and am reading it all over again. Sometimes a book you have fallen in love with is like an old friend: faithful, predictable, and warm. The name of the book is My Old True Love by Sheila Kay Adams. I would be hard pressed to tell you of any book that has taken my heart like this one. I don’t read shallow books, and have already read the most challenging books of the Russian, Dostoevsky. But, not since reading Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry have I been captured so.
Whilst sitting out on my porch, reading, my mind drifted to the dream I had a couple of weeks ago. I was able to fly (hasn’t everyone had that dream?) I was able to fly low and high. I could see things on Earth in the same way that a balloon ride would enable one to do. I heard no noise and it was a mysterious experience until I realized I was dead. I did not take the news with horror, only awareness. I settled back to the ground and saw a black man a couple of blocks away. It was nighttime and he stood under a street lamp. I had that cautious feeling, and at the same time, I realized that I could just jump up and fly away. He could not get me. So I did. On my travels, I noted a figure, small and fluffy running towards me. I was not afraid, but waited with curiosity. As it came running closer, I recognized my beloved Lassie. God kept his word, I thought, as Lassie jumped into my arms. He rolled around with me as I was both laughing and crying. “It’s been a long time, Girl,” I said. It had been a long time. When I was but a child in the late 40’s we had a dog of questionable breed. But it was most like a Collie. Dogs were not kept in the house back then. Lord, my dad would have had a heart attack. Anyway, there was never a dog I could have loved more.
Lassie got distemper (shots weren’t even given then, I don’t think) and I remember she was shut up in the garage after she began acting strangely. I was forbidden to go in the garage even though I cried and begged. My parents told us kids that she was now a danger to us. I could not believe that my precious dog could be called a danger. Her cries and pleas came through the garage walls to me like an agony that I could not bear.
I don’t know which of my parents called (probably my father) but a man was called. He went into the garage with a gun. I don’t remember a shot but my older brother says there was one. All of us kids were standing in the backyard. What I remember was the sound of her being slammed against the wall of the inside of the garage wall over and over and of her pitiful whelping. Then there was silence. When the man came out he had Lassie in a burlap bag. There was blood soaking through the bag, and it trailed blood to the bumper of his vehicle. I watched in horror as he tied Lassie to the bumper with twine or rope and drove away from our house.
I made a vow to myself, right then and there on that summer’s day that I would never ever love any dog but Lassie. And when I got to Heaven I would ask God to let me see Lassie again.
Many years have passed, and I have remained faithful to the promise to never love another dog. My grandchildren have been here at the lakehouse for the last two weeks. They brought their dog along (yes, I agreed). Probably not a day went by that they did not want me to kiss their dog, Buddy. “Just kiss her, Grandma.” They wanted me to acknowledge how cute she was, and how lovable she was, on and on they went, each day. And each day, I knew that I could not. I could only love Lassie. I think their full-blooded Boxer is a nice dog. Lassie was a mutt. They are frustrated that I don’t love Buddy. What they cannot understand is that I made a promise over 60 years ago that I would not ever love another dog. Lassie has never been forgotten and the dream I had where she came running to me was the purest joy I have known between my dog and me, since she was murdered. (Yes, I know that murder does not apply to a dog, but she was my friend, and she was murdered.) I wondered about the dream when I woke up. I wondered what the out-of-body experience was all about. It is the first time in all the years since they took her bloodied body away that I have dreamed of her. It made me wonder: Am I close to death? It is just a thought. Things like that occur to me. What I would like to think is that it is God’s promise that came to me in a dream. I will see Lassie again.
Someday, maybe my grandchildren will understand why I can’t love, kiss, and fuss over Buddy.
My heart belongs to Lassie.
Blessings to my Waynedale friends,
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