The goal is to publish pastor quarterly reports every time a fifth Friday shows up on the calendar. This is what Mauri wrote for the March 30 issue.
Dogs I’ve Known
“Tell something about yourself” was the assignment. And knowing dogs has been important. Midge was the first—a mixed-breed terrier, chosen from a litter in my great-aunt Viola’s frigid barn in northern Kansas. I tucked the squirming puppy into my denim jacket and ran into the farmhouse so very eager to show my great-grandma Aubuchon, probably missing entirely my always-fastidious mother’s dismay. Midge was playful and loving, and always responsive to my fledgling attempts as a dog trainer.
I met Duchess a couple of years later and just a few days after what had to be the first major loss in my young life—Midge had died in front of our house on Bebe Street in Wichita. My parents recognized how important my dog companion had become and wasted no time (and spent hard-earned money) to bring home a black cocker spaniel puppy. She was my friend and playmate and valiant protector—and always a good listener. Duchess was also a faithful friend to my folks long after I had gone on to school and young adulthood.
Perkins was conscripted to be a frat-house dog, but either rules or inconvenience got in the way, and his young owner’s mother was thrilled when we said we’d take him. A poodle-schnauzer mix (that would be schnoodle?), he was far smarter than any dog should be—to the extent that his exploits (read “mischief”) were legendary—some tales are still told. He and cat Abigail were our “children” in the early married years.
Brandy was a “gift” (the desire of my heart—to own an Irish setter) and came to us full grown. She was a deep, beautiful red and long legged, quiet, high strung, obedient, and an inveterate ranger—all at the same time. Champ (a golden Lab) was one of twelve in a litter and came to us during Brandy’s twilight years. It could be he’s best remembered for slobber and also his prowess on the “home court”—the basketball hoop that used to be in the NFC parking lot. And in his heyday, I couldn’t throw a Frisbee so far that he wouldn’t catch it and bring it back every time—dripping.
Mr. Darcy (a well-mannered if a little bit excitable English setter…she) will be three pretty soon and, as all the rest, my devoted friend and companion. You’re welcome to get to know her.
What was God thinking when he created dogs? I’m sure he knew my heart (maybe yours as well) would be drawn to them in some inexplicable way that would be important in both the good and hard times of life.
This morning, Marcile, a friend who has known Mauri for many (many) years, stopped by the office to drop off a few pictures she’d just come across.
Mauri and Margaret-Rose lived in Haviland, Kansas, when this was taken. The dog is Perkins, mentioned in his essay. Let me just say that it’s a good thing he was married to M-R and not me when he owned this dog. Perkins would not have lasted one week in my care. Just another reason M-R is sainted in my estimation.
Early on, Mauri and I traveled to Orlando for some Quaker meetings. We waited in a Chicago airport for a connecting flight, seated facing the window where we could watch our plane arrive. That’s when he started telling me Perkins stories, and wouldn’t you know, we got so distracted that we missed our flight!