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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Resolutions (12/29/03)

TITLE: Black Eyed Peas and Resolutions
By Martha Currington


Oh no! I exclaimed loudly while searching through my kitchen grocery cabinet. ďWhatís wrong?Ē my husband, Tom, called out from the living room.

I forgot to buy dry black eyed peas to cook for dinner today! Iíve always eat them on New Yearís Day for good luck in the new year. Now what will I do?

No comment from the living room. Oh well, guess heís engrossed in the Rose Bowl football game! Think Iíll make homemade vegetable and beef soup, and bake cornbread. I can just throw some purple hull peas from the freezer into the pot. Hope that suffices! It suddenly dawns on me ď I havenít written my new yearís resolutions either! What will the South think of me? ď

Yet it didnít really matter. As I washed and prepared the meat and vegetables I thought about what probably caused me to forget to buy the peas; then it seemed unimportant that I wouldnít eat black eyed peas today. You see, my best friend was ill , taking a turn for the worse the day after Thanksgiving; my best friend being my 14 year old white Maltese named Franco. He had developed severe, age related, health problems. The vet had given him til Christmas,2002, but with new medications being given, Franco made a rebound. I was so happy. Later the vet said he might make it to this Christmas. I gave Franco lots of love and attention, spending quality time with him. Then came the setback after Thanksgiving. I knew I had to be there for him; he had always been there for me.

This friendship began over ten years ago. I was still in the grieving process from my first husbandís sudden and unexpected death, heart failure at the age of forty-seven. He died in bed beside me as we slept. It was almost more than I could bear. I had lots of friends and loved ones around, but during the quiet, lonely times I needed more. I read the Bible and prayed as usual, well actually more. But I needed something physical and alive, to touch, love and care for, and to love me back. Thus, Franco came into my life via the local animal shelter. We needed each other.
The recovery process began. I let him sleep on the bed beside my feet. If I was lying awake worrying, he seemed to sense this. He would come up beside me and I would pet him. He diverted my attention from my concerns. Then he would lay back down by my feet and I was able to drop off to sleep. Thus the close bonding began. How I thanked God for my comforting little friend!

In time, I got married again. Franco then had the roam of a big, out in the country, unfenced yard. A dogís life at itís best!

My ailing mother loved Franco too. She called him ďFrankieĒ. After she suffered a major stroke which left her right side paralyzed, she became bedridden. I was her primary caregiver. Franco lay by her bed during the day. She knew that he was always there. Sometimes Iíd lift him up so she could pet him. Her eyes lit up and sparkled as he nestled close to her side where she could touch him lovingly. When she passed away, he grieved too. We exchanged mutual comfort.

Now that Franco was in his last days, I had to be there for him. And I was. I didnít go anywhere unless necessary. I gave him medication, held him, and did my best to keep him comfortable. I even sang to him so he could hear soothing sounds. In the early hours of Friday, December 5, 2003 we reluctantly had to let one another go. Tom buried him in a shady spot in the outer edge of our back yard. Every once in awhile I glance through the kitchen window while Iím cooking supper, smile, and think about my little friend.

I was later than usual buying Christmas gifts and addressing cards this year. It took awhile for me to muster the spirit of the holiday and get into the shopping frenzy. But I, half heartedly, made it in time.

But making New Yearís preparations was a different story, eating dry black eyed peas and making my new yearís resolutions, well, maybe next year!

Proverbs 18:24...there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. (KJV)

Member Comments
Member Date
L.M. Lee01/07/04
great story, you could send it to petwarmers.com