Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Memorial Day Tribute

Over the Memorial Day weekend I didn't post anything on Facebook or my blog.  I had received an email from my friend Mardell.  The subject was:  Wonderful Dog Story. This story really touched my heart and I have been thinking about it ever since.  One because it was Memorial Day weekend and two, because I work around our Veterans every day and know some of the challenges they have after returning home from overseas and wartime situations.  There really isn't a day that goes by I don't think about and appreciate those "Heroes" who gave their lives for all of us here in America that has allowed us to keep our freedom.  This story is about a dog and his owner to which I wrote this poem about.  For those who read the story (because I know some of Mardell's email contacts are the same as mine), I hope it had touched them the way it touched me.  It is kind of lengthy, but I hope you get out of the poem what I got from the story.

A Memorial Day Tribute to Paul Mallory, A U.S. Soldier
By:  Janette Spencer Sprankle
May 2012

Today I read a wonderful story
In an email from a friend,
I couldn’t help but share it too
A special message it did send.

It was about a US Soldier
One who fought a fight of war,
I cannot help but shed a tear
It made my heart fly high and soar.

You see this special soldier
Had a friend he left behind,
In a shelter he was kept
For someone to love him and be kind.

The soldier’s friend was a big black Lab
The best friend the soldier had,
It was just the two of them for years
And to leave his dog made the Soldier sad.

Six months before the dog was left
Paul received a call for Iraq,
He knew he may not return back home
In the war he came under attack.

They advertised the dog’s name as “Reggie”
This dog didn’t respond much to it at all,
He was sad and lonely and laid in his kennel
With him was a message from his owner Paul.

A stranger that came to “Reggie’s” town
He’d only been there a while, but alone,
Although the folks were very friendly
The stranger needed a companion in his home.

He went to the shelter where “Reggie” was
After calls from other folks,
They said the stranger was the best of many
This is what we decided, and it’s you who we will coach.

With all of “Reggie’s” belongings
There was a pad he used as his bed,
A bag of toys. mostly tennis balls and his dishes
And a sealed letter, the new owner finally read.

Paul wrote, my dog seemed to always have
Two balls in his mouth at a time,
He always tried to have three in there
But he hadn’t managed it as yet,… but that was fine.

The next thing the new owner read
Was that “Reggie” wasn’t the dogs real name,
The new owner was the first to know this
“Tank” is the dog’s name that he claimed.

Once the stranger read all about this
He said “Tank’s” name several times
"Tank" perked up his ears and wagged his tail
And knew he had a new owner he could call ‘mine’.

"So whatdaya’ say we play some ball?"
His ears perked up again and he now had a plan,
"Yeah? Ball? You like that? Ball?"
And off to the other room “Tank” ran.

It’s amazing what the story revealed next
I could not help but cry,
For when “Tank” came back in the room again
Three balls in his mouth, and his tail flying high.

So Paul Mallory, rest in peace my friend
Your dog “Tank” loved you first when you took him home,
And now with his new owner who’s thankful to you
For without your letter, “Tank’s” name he would never have known.

‘Thank you Paul Mallory and all of our Veterans who fought for our freedom that cost you your lives,….we HONOR you! To all of our other Veterans that are still away from home and to those that have returned but who have also paid dearly for their service to our country, ....  I write this note with much Respect and Love – Janette

At the end of this story it read:
A veteran is someone who, at one point, wrote a blank check made payable to 'The United States of America' for an amount of 'up to and including their life.'

"The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him."
(G. K. Chesterton)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A BEAUTIFUL STORY - by a taxi driver in NYC

A Facebook friend shared this story that was,......

Shared by:  Kahayne Henry

A NYC Taxi driver wrote:

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked.. 'Just a minute', answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90's stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940's movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.  There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard abox filled with photos and glassware.

'Would you carry my bag out to the car?' she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness. 'It's nothing', I told her.. 'I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.'

'Oh, you're such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, 'Could you drive through downtown?'

'It's not the shortest way,' I answered quickly..

'Oh, I don't mind,' she said. 'I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice.

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. 'I don't have any family left,' she continued in a soft voice..'The doctor says I don't have very long.' I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

'What route would you like me to take?' I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, 'I'm tired.Let's go now'.

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move.  They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

'How much do I owe you?' She asked, reaching into her purse.  'Nothing,' I said.  'You have to make a living,' she answered.
'There are other passengers,' I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug.She held onto me tightly.  You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,' she said. 'Thank you.'

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.. Behind me, a door shut.It was the sound of the closing of a life..

I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day,I could hardly talk.What if that woman had gotten an angry driver,or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life.  We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.  But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

I don't know about you, but this gives me faith there is still hope for human kindness in this world!