Wonder, the Dog…

My Father has always been a quiet, gentle, soft-spoken man. In the past, whenever I would visit my Mom and Dad at their home, it usually ended up that Daddy mostly “listened” as the rest of the family did the talking. As my Mother’s Alzheimer’s progressed, and she eventually had to enter a nursing home, it meant that our family had to make yet another change in our “dynamics.” Instead of my Mother and I “running our mouths” a mile a minute, it was now my sweet Father and I in front of the TV watching so many westerns, that I actually felt bow-legged at times. I kept having an irresistible urge to say, “Howdy, Partner!” to everyone I met…

I thought, you know, you’re wasting precious time with your father, just watching TV. Why not try to draw him out and actually talk? So, I began the plan for “conversation” during  my next visit. Much to my delight and surprise, he began telling me stories from the past…stories that I had never heard before. I discovered that he asked Mother to marry him by writing the words, “Will you marry me?” on the inside of the windshield of his car one night. He was a “romantic” young man, and I never knew that. One of our discussions has led to my story and challenge for this week…

Daddy and I were sitting in the living room, watching another western, when he turned to me and said, “you know, I used to have the prettiest little dog when I was a boy.” (This was the first time I had ever heard that Daddy had a pet as a child, and being an “over the top” animal lover myself, he had my undivided attention.) He said, “it just came up one day, and never left my side…a little collie…followed me wherever I went.” He said that they tried to find out if the dog belonged to any neighbors, but no one claimed him, so my Dad got to keep him. He continued with his story, and said, “oh, how I loved that little dog.” I wanted to know more, and asked, “what did you name the dog?” He said, “Wonder.” Now, I was expecting to hear “Spot,” “Rover,” or anything else, but “Wonder?????” I then asked the obvious question, “Where on earth did you come up with the name, Wonder?” He looked at me as if that was the most ridiculous question he had ever heard, and said, “Well, we always wondered where he came from….” I was laughing so hard, that he got to laughing with me; and the more we laughed, the more tickled we got. It was a pretty wonderful time, and a great memory for me to hold in my heart.

Families are losing their histories because younger family members don’t really talk to their older relatives – grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, etc. As a result, no one hears, or takes the time to listen to, these wonderful stories. If you have ever watched the face of an older individual telling their story, it is as if they are actually reliving the event – their faces are full of wonder, and at times seem like a video that you are able to watch yourself, firsthand. So here is my challenge for this week: Start talking to your older family members! Ask them to reminisce. There are guides and books everywhere on the Internet to assist you with “topical suggestions” for conversations, if you can’t come up with your own. If you no longer have older relatives, there are THOUSANDS of precious elders living in nursing homes, assisted living centers, even in your own neighborhood, who would love to tell a story and have someone listen. I am going to see if I can learn more stories like “Wonder, the dog.” Won’t you join me? Just for this week…

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7 thoughts on “Wonder, the Dog…

  1. tom churchill says:

    What a truly wonderful heartfelt story

  2. Jo Beth Crout says:

    My sisters, Cat and Gay and brother, Warren Jr. use to live in the country. We had all kinds of animals, cows, horses, dogs, chickens, and even ducks. My two sisters and I each had a calf for a pet. The calves names were Daisy, Sammy, and Suzie. I remember one day that one of the calves got sick. My grandpa said if the calf did not get up; it might not make it. Since my daddy was a pastor, he taught us how important that prayer is to a person. I remember that night I began praying for that calf that was sick. I prayed and asked God to heal this calf. The next morning the calf was up running around and kicking up. The calf made it through the night. My prayer had been answered. I have thoroughly enjoyed your story about Wonder, the dog. You are right. We need to take care of our elders and love them. I have found out through my years of life experiences, old people are wise. I have grown to love my elders more every day. This same daddy that Cat mentioned in her article is mine too. Thanks Cat!!

  3. Sandy Dole says:

    A “wonder”ful story! How important it is to realize and understand that “listening” to our elders is a wonderful, meaningful activity. Never could understand why some people who are doing their “one to ones”
    spend the time talking when they could be listening and learning,

  4. Beverly Bross says:

    Love this story, Cat! I can almost hear your laughter along with your Dad. I too love to hear my Dad’s stories of growing up out in the country and exploring the woods with his brothers and sisters. All of us could use a bit more “wonder” in our lives!

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