Finding the Right Homes for Retired Hounds in the Delaware, Maryland, D.C., Virginia Area ...and Beyond!
The Holiday Hounds Bring Christmas Cheer - Finaleby Ron Powell
~~The next morning, the 24th, a man sat at his desk. He lifted the phone and made a call. "You performed spectacularly. Last night was everything I dreamed of and more. Absolute perfection. Thank you for arranging everything so perfectly." He paused. "Yes, of course. Make the checks out as per the usual. Merry Christmas. And double your customary bonus." After a few pleasantries, he hung up the phone, rose from the desk and left the office. He left his wallet on the desk.
It was Christmas morning. Lilly was at the homeless shelter, handing out presents, as she'd promised to do. Laughing Children played while mothers and fathers cried openly, happy that their Children were able to receive gifts they could not ordinarily have gotten. Jack Squat was basking in the attentions of passersby. Jeff was making sure everyone had something to eat. Christmas Cheer abounded and everyone's Spirits were bright.
There was a knock at the door. A courier stood there, waiting for Jeff. Jeff accepted an evelope from the courier, bidding him Merry Christms. The envelope was marked only "M.C." Jeff opened it and virtually collapsed onto a nearby bench. Lilly, of course, ran to help. She looked at the envelope and the check that had fallen to the floor. It was marked "In the name of the Angel and her Greyhound." Jeff Stammered that it was twice the normal amount.
While Lilly was seated on the bench next to her, a Greyhound nose not belonging to Jack nudged her. She half turned her head and saw a hand, holding a Marine Corps Pin.
"I think this belongs to you. We should talk, perhaps over coffee?”
Lilly took the pin and the proffered business card.
Ms. Lisa opened her front door, expecting some neighbor to have stopped by to wish her Merry Christmas. Instead, a young gentleman in a fine suit, with a very elegant briefcase stood before here. He wished her a Merry Christmas and said, "I was instructed to deliver this to you." He opened the briefcase, handed her the enveloped and repeated his wishes for a Merry Christmas. The envelope, marked “M.C.” was opened and in it was a donation - "To all the Greyhounds looking for homes, may they find them here". It was signed, "On behalf of Angels and Greyhounds everywhere." It would be a joyous year indeed at Greyhound Central.
Prince and Lady were lying happily in nests of discarded wrapping paper. Prince had a red bow stuck to the top of his head. Lady, still wearing her white collar, had a green bow attached to hers. The kids were giddy with delight. Dad still had a goofy look on this face. Mom was rolling her eyes at her last gift, a $20 gift card to Mucho Grande Burritos.
"What was your wish, Prince?"
"It was a secret between me and Santa. Don't worry, it's about to come true."
Lady looked at the newest ornament on the tree, a baby in a manger. "It's going to be an interesting year, Prince."
"You can say that again, Lady, you can say THAT again."
Doorbells rang or doors were knocked on. Bewildered families all over the region opened their doors to special couriers. Their trucks proclaimed that they were from Enterprise Lithography and Photography Hut. Their jackets were simply abbreviated E.L.P.H and they told everyone they delivered to that they were supposed to bring out these gifts on Christmas Day, no matter what, and they left with a hearty "Merry Christmas to all!"
All the photos were similar, they being a picture of Santa Snuggling a pack of Greyhounds whose faces were all familiar, with a little white outline of an Angel walking a Greyhound in the background. However, the signatures were all unique.
"I still have my Stuffie - Sonar"
"Daddy and I love you. Furever yours, Rita"
"The gate did the trick. I'll always be yours - Amadeus"
"Thanks so much for loving me, Lincoln."
"I’m not shy when I say I miss you! Gracie Lulu"
"I will always do my duty with loyalty. My Kami is with you. Ku-chan"
"I'm sorry I left you so soon. I love you and I'm always with you. Waiting at the Bridge, Dexter"
"There are no storms here. The pink was perfect. Raven Dawn."
"You have no idea how much I miss you. Love Always and Forever, Murphy."
"Daddy, thanks for all the great din-dins. I'll never forget you. Rocky, your baby boy."
"I'm so grateful for all your love. Don't be sad. I love you so much, Talon"
"Don't worry about me, I have all the orange gorillas I could ever want. Wally"
"I bounced my way into your house, but you made it my home. Your funny, goofy Sheba"
"All I wanted was to be next to you. And there you were. Leo."
"After we met, my motto has always been 'Second time's the charm.' Thank you for my second chance, Sassy"
"You'll never know how much it meant to me, having my daughters share our family. Always and for eternity, Momma Eve"
"I'm waiting with Momma Eve. You always made my meals JUST right. Goodnight, until we meet again. Silver"
"Momma Eve and Silver say Hi. The wind is the sound of me flying by. Hear it and know that I love you. Sarah."
The first house opened their gift to find a picture of a beagle in Santa's lap. This was one signed "I miss you so very much. Doolittle."
The final photo was Santa holding a little orange tabby cat. "I know how much you love me. Your Christmas Tree Climber, Marmalade."
There was a knock at Lilly's door. She opened it to find a young Marine standing in her doorstep, in his dress uniform. He saluted her smartly and handed her a packet. He turned and walked down the little sidewalk. She watched as he and several Marine formed up, saluted her in unison, shouted "Semper Fi, Do or Die. OOORAH." With immense dignity and ceremony, they got back into their vehicle and drove away. In tears, Lilly went into her house and opened the packet. In it was a letter. She recognized the handwriting. It took over an hour of crying before she could open it.
If you are reading this, it is the second Christmas day since I died while in service to my Country and all the members of my squad who could be gathered stateside have delivered this you. They are my brothers as only those who served together can be brothers. If you are reading this, they have discharged their final duty to me. Honor them and keep them in your heart as I keep you in mine.
You will always have my love. That is the first gift I truly gave you. I would ask you to give me a gift. I am sure it will not be an easy gift, but it is all I will ever ask of you. Please, just be happy again. I know, as I have known you, as only I could know you, that you have been grieving all this time. I am asking you to stop grieving for me. I am asking you to find Love again. You are too special and it would make me eternally sad to know you are not happy. All this I ask for and in return give you my Blessing, as the Lord Blessed me on the day I met you, to just be Happy again. I ask on this day, Christmas Day, because it is the Happiest Day of the year. A day meant for Giving and Receiving, To and From the Heart.
Your smile will always be my sunshine,
p.s. My parents will be getting a letter, too. Please check on them for me. It might be a little hard for Mom.
The two Chosen's task finished,
The Man and his wallet,
The Angel and Greyhound,
Their stories are done,
Greyhounds aren't just dogs, they are a way of life!