“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” (Prov. 17:22)
I love spring. Everything seems new after the cold winter snow.
The air feels warm, the grass turns green, and the leaves on the trees begin to grow. Mama likes to plant ﬂowers in her garden while Daddy rides his funny red horse and mows the grassy ﬁeld.
I love the birds singing and the rabbits chasing each other. But especially I love the butterﬂies.
Sometimes when I sniff around Mom’s ﬂowers or rosebushes, they land on my nose and tickle. I’ll bark and chase them, but they always stay just out of reach.
Mama says that when I run I hop like a bunny. She and Dad will laugh as they watch me bouncing from bush to bush, ﬂower to ﬂower, never quite able to catch the playful insects.
On one spring day, I was playing my game of chase with the butterﬂies, when Marvin stuck his little pink nose out from under his branch pile and had a good laugh at me while I was hopping across the yard.
Marvin is one of my best friends. He is the little possum that lives under the branch pile out in the grassy ﬁeld.
He almost died last winter when a tree limb fell on his house of branches, but Brother nursed him back to health.
At the sound of Marvin’s squeaky laugh, I stopped my bouncing and turned toward the pile of branches. “Hi Marvin,” I said. “Come out and play. We can chase butterﬂies together.”
Now someone might think it strange to see a little black dog with a white furry bottom talking to a possum. But Marvin and I speak the same language: “pig”.
I don’t know why I grunt like a pig. Mama says that she believes pigs raised me.
That’s why she calls me “Mama’s little pig dog.”
And Marvin is such a mysterious possum, that he won’t tell me how he learned the language. But there you have it.
A dog and a possum that talk to each other.
Sometimes, I will lie out by the fence next to his branch pile and we will talk for the longest of times.
Marvin with his little squeaky “oink”, and me with my growly “oink”.
Occasionally the bull from the ﬁeld next to ours will try to join in the conversation, but he doesn’t have much to say. He had learned how to talk pig while living on a farm.
But on this day, Marvin didn’t have time to talk, much less to chase butterﬂies.
“No, you go ahead,” he said. “You can have the fun with the butterﬂies today. I have something more important to do.”
“What are you doing?” I asked as I stuck my nose through the fence.
“I found something strange while I was out wandering the ﬁelds last night, and now I have to try and ﬁgure out what it is.”
“I brought it home but it’s so long that I had to curl it around just to ﬁt it in my house, and then I slept in the middle of it. It reminds me of my tail but only longer.”
“See, here it is.”
His little pink nose disappeared for a moment, and next I saw his hand pushing out the end of a rope through the branches.
This was his strange, mysterious ﬁnd?
I chuckled to myself as I bounced back to my butterﬂy game.
Marvin thought of himself as a “possum of the world”. He was always reminding me that he was older than I and knew way more about life than I ever could.
“That’s a rope,” I laughed and oinked back over my shoulder. “I’m sure you’ll ﬁnd some use for it.”
There is only one thing about spring that I don’t like.
And the worst thing about thunderstorms is the lightning and thunder.
When I see the bright ﬂash and then hear the loud BOOM! it makes me lay back my ears, tuck my tail and run to someplace safe.
And the safest place I know is right by Daddy or Mama. Once they lay their hand on my head and say, “It’s alright, boy. Don’t be scared, you’re safe now,” all the whimpering and the fear go away.
I think my fear of thunder and lightning began when I lived under the cedar tree by the grassy ﬁeld. There was a terrible storm one night, and there was no place to hide or a safe place to go.
All I could do was squint my eyes tight, put my paws over my ears, and hope that the awful sights and sounds would go away. I had never been so scared in all of my life.
Whenever I think of that night, it makes me so thankful that the Creator has given me a nice, dry home to protect me from the rain, and loving hands to chase away all the fear.
One night Daddy read from the Bible that perfect love chases away all fear. I think I understand what the Creator meant.
Knowing that I am loved makes me feel safe from all harm.
It had been a very warm spring day. I had stayed inside for most of the day, but Mom let me outside right after dinner.
The wind was blowing and it made me want to run as fast as I could. I love to run fast with the wind in my face.
I ran to Marvin’s house of branches and found him lying out in the tall grass.
“Why are you outside before dark?” I asked. “You usually don’t come out this early.”
“I do prefer the night, that’s for sure,” Marvin answered.
“But it was so warm today and now the wind is so cool, I just had to come out and enjoy it. I’ve been watching Spots over in that ﬁeld. It seems that he likes to chase butterﬂies as much as you do.”
I looked over toward the cow ﬁeld that was next to ours, and on the other side of the fence was Spots, running with his nose up in the air, and a butterﬂy just inches away from it, trying it’s best to get away.
Spots is the little calf that was born the same night we were afraid Marvin might die from the tree limb that fell on his house.
But God blessed us with two miracles that night.
Marvin lived and a new baby calf was born into the world. Marvin and I decided to call him Spots because of the big brown spots on his side and head.
Spots was still quite young, and Marvin and I had not yet been introduced to him.
His Daddy had said that he would teach Spots how to talk pig when he was old enough, so that he and I could become friends.
But so far all Marvin and I had ever heard from him was the loud “moo” sound that he made when he was hungry or calling for his parents.
Sometimes we would see Spots looking at us from behind the fence, but when we would try to come near, he would just duck his head, turn, and run away.
Nevertheless, he was so cute that Marvin and I loved to watch him run and play in the cow ﬁeld. Sometimes, he would chase after his mama trying to get fed.
Other times he would just run around fast in big circles as if he thought that he was a pony instead of a cow.
Now he was chasing butterﬂies, and we couldn’t help but laugh as we watched him try his best to catch one. It was while I was laughing at Spots that I ﬁrst heard the distant rumble.
My ears turned toward the sound as my eyes looked up to the darkening sky. The clouds were moving quickly and the wind had gotten colder.
Suddenly, there was a faraway ﬂash and then another rumble, this time louder.
I heard Daddy’s whistle. “Jake, come here boy. Come on in now. There’s a storm coming.”
“I’ve got to go!” I snorted over my shoulder as I began to run. “You had better get inside too, Marvin!”
I ran as fast as I could around the side of the house, past the yard swing, and onto the front covered porch. There Daddy stood with the door open, as I zipped past him and into the safety of our little gray house.
(TO BE CONTINUED)