I’ve always thought that I was blessed with an exceptional childhood and I am very grateful for that. My parents had high expectations and disappointing them was something I tried to avoid. Judging by the number of times I was spanked, however, it was obvious that I didn’t try hard enough! My mouth had a mind of its own and I blame it for most of the problems I had at home and in school.
If I could have changed anything about my childhood, it would have been to have a dog. I can understand the difficulties of owning a pet when your family moves frequently but even after we settled in West Virginia, a dog wasn’t possible. Quite frankly, I don’t think we could have afforded to take care of it.
When my kids were young, they had an assortment of pets but at that point in my life, pets were just one more thing for an exhausted mama to take care of. I didn’t learn about a dog’s capacity for love until my oldest three kids were out and about on their own. I won’t go into all the details here but, when I adopted Jasper, there was no question about who rescued who. That dog brought some much needed love and affection into my life and I will always be thankful he found me.
One of the funniest things I remember about Jasper (and there were many laughs with that old boy) happened while I was making Thanksgiving dinner. I had boiled the giblets to make a rich broth for the gravy and stuffing and, after picking the meat off, I threw the turkey neck into the garbage can. I left the room and when I returned to the kitchen, the garbage can was on its side and the dog and the turkey neck were nowhere to be seen. Jasper had never gotten into the garbage before but I guess that turkey neck smelled too good to pass up. I found him quickly enough but there was no sign of the neck. I was sure he’d eaten it and I was a little worried that the bones would make him sick. He seemed happy, and playful, so during the hectic dinner gathering that followed, the turkey neck never crossed my mind again.
Late that night, when I went to bed, I pulled back the blankets, and I squealed as my hand brushed against something that didn’t belong in my bed. Jasper, with all the love he had in him, had gifted me with that old, cold, greasy turkey neck, which he’d buried under my pillow! It was a show of love that was definitely a few steps beyond normal! I wish you all the same kind of unconditional love in your life. Happy Thanksgiving!