Paws for a Smile

My son sent me the above picture last week. It made me smile, so I thought it might also give you a welcome reprieve from all the heavy seriousness of our national and international problems. A smile relaxes your face. You can feel yourself getting younger! It is healthy and it is free. God’s creatures large and small are really good at bringing out a smile even when we’re feeling dismal.

Will was at Blue Ridge Animal Clinic in Montgomery troubleshooting dental equipment. As a sales rep for Covetrus Veterinary Supply, Will calls on veterinarians in central and southern Alabama. He was deep into solving a problem when this cat casually climbed up on his shoulder as if to help him find a solution. One of the techs snapped the picture. Miss Kitty, the tech told Will, owns that particular area in the clinic and anyone who lights there is subject to her climbing all over them. This hairless Siamese with her long tail, dressed in a tu-tu, is at home in her surroundings and expects everyone else to be also. Will took time to play with her and said her hairless skin really felt odd.

Calf on the Loose

This week’s news from the Cairo Animal Hospital includes the escape of a 150-pound calf. Apparently dead set on avoiding his impending surgery, the calf suddenly rebelled and squeezed through an incredibly narrow opening to run with the speed of an antelope across Highway 84, over to Tired Creek Country Club, through parking lots and well kept yards. Numerous people called in to report seeing him before he was finally caught several days later. Can you imagine glancing out your kitchen window and seeing a cow eating your lilies?

Sam and the Turtle

This tale is about our Irish setter named Sam. Unlike the Irish setter Blake who later took his place in our household, Sam was quite reliable, knew his boundaries, and was an excellent companion for me on my three-mile walks. He did investigate a lot of territory along the way, probably running six miles for my three. He liked to swim across every pond and he liked to give turtles a scenic ride. The first time he picked up a box turtle in a neighbor’s yard I tried to take it from him but he was very possessive and loped on ahead of me. I thought he would lay the turtle down somewhere but he carried it the whole way. The amazing thing was that he deposited that turtle in exactly the same place he had found him. That was only the first turtle who received a free Sam trip!

Persimmons and Possums

This time of year I think about wild persimmons and possums. Ripe persimmons are a beautiful orangey peach color, or maybe the color of a flamingo. When they drop from high limbs they plunk into the grass and look like tiny pumpkins with black fringed hats. Ripe persimmons (don’t by any circumstances pluck one from the tree before it’s ripe!) are squishy, full of seeds, sweet and wonderful. Possums like them too.

Fall was a good time to catch a possum to fatten under an overturned tub for what some thought made a delicious dinner. My brothers went to the meadow one night hunting for a possum. We heard the dogs barking and knew they had one treed but the wait was long. We all got sleepy and went to bed before the boys returned.

Next morning Mamma was mystified by an empty burlap sack with an odd hole hanging on the milk pail hook above the flour bin. When the boys came down for breakfast they were eager to check on their possum. But there was no possum, much to their dismay. Their dismay hardly compared to Mamma’s consternation. We looked everywhere for that possum to no avail. Mamma herself found him a couple of days later when a hissing growl arrested her hand as she reached into the dark interior of a potato barrel.

Recently when I picked up the kids from school, Charli was anything but her usual merry self. She said though her sniffles that she had had a very bad day. I asked what had made it so bad and she said that a friend had thoroughly annoyed her and that her teacher had “yelled at us all day.” I suggested that maybe she could turn a bad day into a good day. Her reply: “I can’t change my friend or my teacher.” To which I said, “You can change you.” Then as I heard more sniffles from the back, I said, “Let’s go home and see if we can turn this bad day into a good day.”

I had no idea what we might do until I remembered seeing so many butterflies in our yard hovering over lantana and impatiens, flitting everywhere. “You could probably catch a butterfly,” I said, knowing that, even with our butterfly nets, it’s quite tricky to do that.

As we drove into our driveway there, right in front of us, was a beautiful monarch. Charli, inspired, quickly grabbed a net and immediately caught, not the monarch, but another black and blue beauty. We put it in a fruit jar with holes in the lid and admired it, even taking its picture. We identified it as a spicebush swallowtail. When Charli let it fly all her dismal feelings went with it. I was so thankful the Lord sent that swallowtail our way!

I hope we brought a smile to your face with these snippets about a cat, a calf, a dog and turtle, a possum, and a butterfly. I always contend that God must surely have a sense of humor because He made such amazing creatures. And He gave us a sense of humor too to buoy us over the turbulent waves.

Genesis 1:21, 24, 25: And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth…and every winged fowl after his kind…cattle and creeping thing, and beast of the earth…and God saw that it was good.

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