It was a gloriously transcendent spring morning. I know that sounds like I’m overstating the matter, but trust me I’m not. For some time it had been overcast, cool, and dreary but the sudden appearance of blue sky and warm sun seemed to have instantly turned everything into a shade of green that would have been the envy of Eden. We’ve all witnessed this before, one day the landscape is full of dark, dull earth tones and the next day it is not only green—but it appears so bright you could swear there was something luminescent in the new grass and baby leaves. That’s the kind of morning it was and it was full of wonder.
There were three of us—four counting the dog, but I’ll get back to him in a moment. The older man is in his late seventies, I’m in my mid-fifties, and there was the boy—all sixteen years of him. It was a mutual need—the older man needed someone to cut his grass and the boy needed the money. I was the bridge between the two.
In the previous year the older man had been through more than you would wish upon an enemy. He had throat cancer which necessitated radical surgery. This was followed by thirty-three radiation treatments—the medical equivalent of a scorched earth policy. When it was all over, he had a tube in his stomach and a fire in his throat that wouldn’t go away. But the real pain came when he lost his wife of fifty-three years—the woman who had nursed him through his illness. They said this lovely lady died from a cardiac failure, but I can tell you there was absolutely nothing wrong with her heart.
So he needed this bright sunny morning. He needed to show the boy the ropes on his two mowers (one of them a zero turn that looked more like fun than work). He needed the healing that comes from being involved with others and there’s nothing better than a young person to fit that bill. But the boy needed him as well. He and his younger brother are being raised by an aunt because their biological parents didn’t want them. He needed to be around some men and learn things like how to drive a zero turn mower.
And now to the dog. When the older man started looking for a dog to keep him company, he had his eye on some special breed that was going to be flown in from Alaska until an insightful friend pointed out that an Alaskan dog and east Alabama summers probably weren’t going to be too good of a mix. So he went down to the animal shelter and came back with the dog. I can’t remember what kind he was but he was extremely well trained—someone had taken some time with him. And then for reasons we’ll never know, he ended up at the shelter. Now my friend had him and he was as they say today, a rescue dog.
He fit right in I thought because there was a rescue older man teaching a rescue teenager on what started out as merely a glorious day but had now become—a glorious rescue day.