Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Family Pet (05/15/08)
TITLE: Wedding Crasher
By Julie Paulsen
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Mom’s second love was golf. She was no runt on the links and for a peewee she packed a wallop. Mom would sneak in two rounds of golf any day she could. Her handicap of four attests to her ability, she was a diminutive powerhouse.
Height, size, strength or position didn’t intimidate mom. Perhaps those qualities gave her a feeling of protection, or maybe she simply loved the cartoon Marmaduke, by Brad Anderson. For whatever reason, her beloved Great Danes were Mom’s third love.
Rex, a beautiful brindle was the first, joining our family shortly after baby brother, Jeff, was born 1962. The fifth child, Jeff was named after no one in the family. Rex however was named after mom’s grandpa, Rexford Chapin Pitcher. Gentle for his size, with cropped ears and handsome appearance, Rex embodied his dignified name. He lived a short six years, which is very common for Danes. We all missed him terribly, but mother most of all.
Arriving home early from school one typical day I walked into the house expecting to begin an evening of homework. A few steps past the door and I heard the thumping and scratching of four clumsy paws on the tiled floor. “Mom, we got a puppy!” I exclaimed with excitement, not worrying where my books landed. Mom was beaming as the little fawn colored girl plopped on her foot. Scooping her up in my arms I immediately fell in love.
“Have you named her yet?” I asked, hoping she hadn’t.
“Nope, any ideas, Donna? Mom questioned.
Instantly I replied, “Yes, Michelle, from my favorite Beatles song!” By evening the family agreed and were already calling her, “Michelle!” A simply perfect name!
Michelle grew quickly into an elegant young lady, large enough to relax by putting her hind end on a chair and front paws on the floor. It didn’t matter if someone was in the chair or not. The two of us loved long walks, often heading for a wet romp in Lake Michigan. At night we shared my full size bed until the battle for space left me sleepless. That’s when she became Jeff’s best friend snuggling with him at night.
Michelle and I shared a quick goodbye as I left for college in ‘69. All goodbye energy was reserved for my sweetheart, James, causing other relationships to fade into nothingness. She became a mother for the first time while I was away, instantly putting us in different stages of life. I never moved home again. Oh, I thought of her at times, but I had moved on…until the night before my wedding.
Everything was ready for the big day. Guests came from out of town and gift bags awaited their arrival. Our nails were done, my honeymoon bag was packed and we had time for a mother-daughter activity. Mom and I spent the afternoon arranging the large harvest dining room table for the viewing of wedding gifts, a local tradition. Dressing for the rehearsal and dinner was unnerving as I wondered just what would go wrong.
The family was finally settled in for the night. Michelle and her newest litter, two-week old puppies were safely tucked away on the porch. Surprisingly we all slept well…all but Michelle.
Her twelve little ones must have driven her to madness, or perhaps she was making her way to give me a final “goodbye”, we will never know. We awoke the next morning to find out that during the night Michelle scratched through the screen window, which divided the dining room and porch. The table holding gifts, placed against that window bore deep, long scratches from her escape. Wedding gifts of china and glass had crashed to the floor, yet, miraculously, not one thing was broken.
That table is now in my home with faint remains of the evidence. This story is retold often as new friends grace our table. Now empty nesters, James is thinking of getting a dog. Would you believe, a Great Dane!
He who watches over you will not slumber. Psalm 121:3 (NIV)
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