“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” (Prov. 17:22)
That night, Dad was awakened by a loud mooing that was coming from the ﬁeld next to ours. It seemed the mama cow that lived there was going to have her baby.
When we woke up the next morning, it was still dark outside. Mama lit some candles and began to ﬁx breakfast.
Daddy said he thought that he heard the sound of a baby calf just as he was waking up.
“A baby calf!” I thought. I had always heard that being born was a miracle. Was it too much to believe the Creator would give us two miracles in the same night?
I went to the door to go outside. Mom opened it and as fast as I could, hopping and running through the snow, I made it around to the back patio.
There was the cage just as Mom had left it. Nothing seemed changed. “Hey Marvin, are you in there? Are you dead or alive?”
A familiar squeaky voice answered me saying, “Jake, is that you? Where am I?”
My friend was still here. God did give us two miracles!
“Don’t be afraid, Marvin. You’re in a cage on the patio. Part of a tree fell on your house, and my family rescued you. Are you alright?”
“I…I think so,” Marvin replied. “I can’t move my tail. I think it may be broke.”
Just about then, I heard Mama unlocking the back door.
“Listen Marvin. I don’t have much time. When they take the blanket off the cage, no hissing or snapping or showing your teeth. Mom and Dad will help you. Don’t be afraid, everything will be alright.”
Mom, Dad, and Brother all came out on the back porch. I was so happy; I just had to let them know.
I barked and grunted, “Hey everybody, it’s wonderful news. Marvin’s alive!” But as usual, they didn’t understand me.
“Well, I wonder if our little friend was playing possum?” Dad said.
Dad pulled the cover off the cage, and there sat Marvin huddled in the corner. His little pink nose and black eyes looking out from under his torn dirty blanket.
His tail was curled around the inside of the cage but something didn’t look right. Instead of being smooth and straight, it looked swollen and crooked in one spot.
“Look Raymond,” said Mom. “He’s alive but I believe his tail is broke.”
Dad bent over and looked closely in the cage.
“You’re right,” replied Dad. “And look how calm he is. He’s not showing any signs of aggression. He knows that he’s hurt and needs help.”
“You know, a possum’s tail is very important to him. They use it like another arm. He’ll never survive in the woods with it broke.”
Mom and Dad decided that they would make a splint and tape Marvin’s tail to make it straight like it should be. He could stay in the cage and they would take care of him until he was well enough to go live in the ﬁeld.
I must say that I was very proud of Marvin. He followed my advice and was a perfect gentleman.
He never complained or made a noise all the time that Brother was wrapping the two little pieces of wood around his tail.
Brother had that effect on animals. At Brother’s touch we just felt calm and loved. He seemed to have a special gift with us creatures.
It was three days before the men came out and ﬁxed the power line.
The snow melted and the days were beginning to get warmer. Dad said that you could feel spring in the air.
The grass was starting to turn green and little green buds appeared on the tree branches. Things were deﬁnitely beginning to change.
I would go out and sit by the cage with Marvin so he wouldn’t be lonely.
We would watch the little calf run and play in the ﬁeld that was next to us. He was white with big brown spots, so Marvin and I decided to call him “Spots”.
The daddy cow had said that he would teach Spots how to speak pig as soon as he was old enough. It seemed that Marvin and I would have a new friend.
Marvin was different after the accident, too. He used to grumble and gripe about everything. He would become grouchy for no reason.
But now he was never upset or complained. He even realized that living in a cage until he was better was for his own good.
After a few weeks, Marvin’s tail had gotten completely well and Brother took his cage out into the ﬁeld to let him go free.
Daddy had already stacked the pile of branches back in place, but not before he and Mom had built a little house under them with a clean new blanket in it for Marvin to come home to.
We all watched as he waddled back to his branch pile to settle in.
I had heard Daddy say that God gives people second chances.
Perhaps Marvin felt that this was his second chance at living, and he was going to try to be better at it this time.
I know the Creator had given me a second chance when Mama and Daddy found me under the cedar tree by the grassy ﬁeld.
The tree limb falling made me realize just how quickly things can change, and I made up my mind that every day I was going to be glad and thankful for my family, my friends, and for this wonderful life that I had been given.
I think that I was beginning to grow up just a little. (But not too much, not yet. “Oink, Oink”)