Fri. Sep 25th, 2020

BY VICKEY STAMPS

Tim and Mattie had struggled along since their marriage ten years ago, but together
they had managed to save, and finally had been able to buy a used home near the edge
of their quiet dependable little town.  Timothy had come along almost five years ago
and Mattie had become a stay at home mom.  She was content in her role as was
Tim, Senior. 
 
Now she sat across from the old woman, Martha, that lived next door.  They’d become
good friends over the years, and sat laughing now over Timmy’s newest adventures. 
He was in kindergarten now, and they wondered together at where the years had gone. 
Mattie reached across to scratch behind the ears of Tippy-Toes, the senior-citizen
dog of Martha’s.  He was already seventy years old in human years, and ten years
junior to Martha.  Martha still got tears in her eyes, as she would forget she had
told the story of Tippy-Toes and how she’d come to have the old dog.  Now she told
again of how lonely she’d been when her husband Jed had passed on.  One day he’d
been fine and the next gone of a heart attack. 

They had two kids but both lived too far away to visit often.  They’d come and helped
as much as they could, and suggested she come and stay with them, but she’d refused. 
This had been her and Jed’s place and she wasn’t budging from it till she just had too.
Still the days had been lonely and so she’d gone to the animal shelter.  Perhaps there
would be a little dog there to share her days. 
 
There were lots of choices, from large, to small, and all kinds to pick from. 
She’d had a hard time making up her mind, when the old dog in the last cage had
caught her eye.  They told her he had been there for some time and was slated to
be ‘put to sleep’ within the next week.  He hadn’t even been given a name.  He wasn’t
much to look at, this old lap dog with his graying snout.  His fur was long and he
seemed to have an abundance of it on his right side for some reason. He looked a
bit like a ship that had been caught in great wave…Sort of‘listing’ to the right
and might tip over if hit by a strong breeze.  He lay to the back of his cage but
rose now, as if sensing an interest in Martha as she had stood there. 
 
His soulful little eyes had looked up at her in question, as if to say ‘Will you take
me home?”  She had done so, and never for one moment regretted it.  He had filled
gap in her life and she loved everything about the ‘mutt’ she’d named Tippy-Toes. 
She still laughed at his ‘listing to the side’ and quiet mannerisms of behavior.
 
Tippy-Toes had taken a liking to Timmy, and when they visited together, he would
quiver in excitement at being in his company.  Sometimes they’d just sit quietly
together, sharing one of Martha homemade oatmeal raisin cookies, and watch
cartoons as Martha and his Mom would visit.  They were good times.
 
The day came when Mattie had to make a dreaded call to Martha’s children. 
Martha’s memory was failing fast and it was becoming a danger to her to live alone.
It made her cry when the phone was hung up.  Martha’s kids promising to come
very soon.  Mattie went over at least twice a day to check on her old friend. 
Martha was eight-five now.  She knew something was wrong and had made Mattie
promise that she would take care of Tippy-Toes for the rest of his life, if she
got to the point where she couldn’t look after him.  It wouldbe an honor Mattie
had told her, holding her close as the tears flowed from both their eyes.
 
The kids had come, and Martha’s home had been put up for sale.  Tippy-Toes seemed
to mourn for her, but Timmy would pick him up and love him into a comforting stage
and life went on.  Other than school and its activities, Timmy and Tippy-Toes were inseparable.  Once Timmy had come down real sick, and had been ordered to bed
for a week.  Tippy-Toes had refused to leave his side, except for the necessary and occasional trips ‘outside’, then he’d drag his aging body upstairs to Timmy’s room, to
be picked up and entertained by Timmy.
 
Now Tippy-Toes could hardly stand, never mind follow Timmy around.  The gray on
his nose had long since extended itself onto much of the rest of his fur.  His eyes
were glazed over, and he often bumped into the furniture around him.  He hadn’t
eaten in three days.  They’d taken him to the vet.  There was little to be done, the
vet had said.  He’d offered to put the old dog to sleep, but they’d chosen to take him
home and say their goodbyes.  They’d shut down the television, wrapped Tippy-Toes
gently in one of Timmy’s old blankets and in turn they had each held him and said
their goodbye’s.  They laid him gently in his old heavily padded bed and made him comfortable.  The next morning they found he’d fled their world.  He would be so
missed.
 
Several months had passed.  Timmy had begun asking about another dog.  “Nothing
special” he’d said.  He wanted to have a little dog like ‘Tippy-Toes’.  Tim and Mattie
talked it over.  Timmy’s birthday was next week.  Maybe they could find another
dog and make it their gift to him.  Love lived in their home and surely it could
support a little dog.
 
The birthday boy had opened his gifts, and had his cake and ice-cream.  It was
almost time for his friends to go home.  Tim, Sr., came in with a small cardboard
box in his arms, and placed it on the floor, beside Timmy.  A whining sound came
from within it.  Timmy jumped down off his chair, quickly opening the flaps of
the box, to find a tiny dog so full of fur he could hardly see the 4 small legs and
wagging tail that came with it.  It was turning in excited circles upon a crumpled
up old shirt beneath it, jumping up and  down, then against the sides of the box. 
 
Timmy hugged the puppy to him.  “Happy Birthday Timmy. What will you call it?”
Mattie had asked, as Tim, Sr. had watched from over her shoulder, a big smile on
his face.  ‘Little Bit’ Mom.  I’ll call him Little Bit.  I think he will be a little bit
like Tippy-Toes.  Perhaps the fur would grow thicker on Little Bit’s right side
and he might look as if he were listing to the right. 
 
Time would tell.  Right now, it was a sure, and certain thing, that…
LIFE WAS GOOD

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