Tuesday, June 24, 2014

No Dogs in Heaven!

An old man and his dog were walking down a hot, dusty road lined with an unsteady white fence on both sides. As they walked along, the old man and his dog became very thirsty and tired. Soon, they came to a gate in the fence where, on the other side, they saw a nice grassy, wooded area surrounding a cool clear pool of fresh water. "Just where a thirsty 'huntin' dog and a man would like to rest!" thought the old man. But there was a sign over the gate that read "No Dogs" so they walked on. 
Further on, they came upon a man in flowing white robes standing just inside a strong iron gate across a path that led to a beautiful, sunny meadow with a cool clear stream running through it.
"'Scuse me Sir," said the old man, "My dog and I have been on this road all day. Mind if we come in and sit in the shade for awhile?" "Of course!" The man said. "Come on in and rest. You look thirsty and tired." The old man said, "We sure are!" and started through the gate with his dog. 
The gatekeeper stopped him. "Sorry, you can come in but your dog can't come with you. "You see, this is Heaven, and dogs aren't allowed here. He has to stay out here on the road." 
"What kind of Heaven won't allow dogs?" said the old man. "Well, if he can't come in, then I'll stay out here on the road with him. He's been my faithful companion all his life and I won't desert him now." 
"Suit yourself," said the gatekeeper, "but I have to warn you, the Devil's on this road and he'll try to sweet talk you into his place. He'll promise you anything, but dogs can't go there either. If you won't leave that dog on the road, you'll spend all Eternity on the road with him. Better if you stay here." 
"Well, I'm stayin' with my dog," replied the man and he and the dog walked on. Gradually, the fence became more and more faded and rundown until they finally reached a spot where the boards fell away completely leaving a gap. Another man dressed in old, ragged clothes sat just inside the broken fence under a shady tree.
"'Scuse me Sir," said the old man, "My dog and I have been on this road all day. Mind if we come in and sit in the shade for awhile?" 
"Of course!" The man said. "Come on in and rest. There's some cold water here under the tree. Make yourself comfortable."
The old man paused, "but what about my dog? Can he can come in, too? The man up the road said dogs weren't allowed here, and they had to stay on the road." The other man answered, "Well, you look pretty tired and thirsty. Would you come in here and rest if you had to leave that dog?" 
"No sir!" the old man replied, "A glass of cold water and some shade would be mighty fine right about now but I won't come in if my buddy here can't come, too. I didn't go to Heaven because my dog couldn't come with me, so I sure as how ain't about to go to Hell without him neither." 
The man smiled and said, "Welcome to Heaven, and bring your dog!" The old man exclaimed. 
"You mean this is Heaven? And my dog can come with me? Then why did that fellow down the road say they weren't allowed in Heaven?"
The man replied, "That was the Devil and he gets all the souls who are willing to give up a life-long companion for small comfort because they think it will make their lives a little easier."
The man continued, "They soon find out their mistake, but, then it's too late. The dogs come here, the fickle people stay there. God wouldn't allow dogs to be banned from Heaven.
After all, He created them to be man's companions in life, why would he separate them in death?"

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Everything is Better at Night

"My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But Ah, my foes, and Oh, my friends--
It gives a lovely light."
            ~ Edna St, Vincent Millay
Like a newborn baby, I have my days and nights turned around. Sometimes I stay up until 3, 4, 5 or 6 a.m. before going to bed. It’s not uncommon for me to see the light of a new day before I close my eyes on the old one.
Everyone tells me I should sleep at night because it’s healthier for us to sleep in darkness, but once you establish the pattern, it's very hard to change. When most people are going to bed, my evening is just beginning.
Everything is better at night: the music on the radio, the lack of interruptions via phone and doorbell, the quiet – no noise from traffic, barking dogs or screaming children.
People ask, “What do you do all night?”
Well, sometimes I write – it’s uncanny how much better the imagination is and how much easier words and ideas flow in the darkest hour of the night. It’s also a good time to read. Or meditate. Or just be.

It’s an excellent time to retreat to that private place in your soul where there is only you and God. I think this is more relaxing than eight hours of sleep.

My doctor says, “As long as you get your eight hours, it doesn’t matter when,” but friends and family continue to argue that I should be getting my zzzzzzz’s while it’s dark. I don’t know who’s right, but I do know that I agree with Vincent Van Gogh who said...
"I often think the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day." 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

No Left-Overs!

Having stuffed peppers for dinner this evening brought back a funny memory from the distant past.

When our children were teen-agers, we had stuffed peppers for dinner one Sunday afternoon and there were a couple left. Knowing the kids wouldn’t be home for dinner the next day, I said to Mr. H., “We can have left-overs tomorrow if you don’t mind.” Of course, he didn’t mind. We don’t agree on many things, but stuffed peppers are that one rare thing we both like.

So, the next evening, when it was time to fix dinner, I took the casserole dish out of the fridge that had the peppers in it and put it into the oven to warm while I put together some things to go with them. When everything was ready, the table set and drinks fixed, I took the dish out of the oven, removed the lid and got the surprise of my life!
There were peppers alright... but nothing in them! How could I have guessed that our son would raid the refrigerator after we’d gone to bed and eat the stuffing out of the peppers? And then put the dish back in the fridge!
Mr. H. and I looked at each other for a full 30 seconds before we broke into laughter.
And then ordered pizza.