Reprinted from my column at LiveAsIf.org
The man gave the bolt a final twist and stepped back from under the hood of the car. He wiped his grimy hands on a rag and then stuffed it in his back pocket. He gave a satisfied sigh as he headed to the office and the coffee pot. The coffee was strong and fresh, just like he liked it. Tossing a grin to Gertrude, his part time office help, he said, “Gertie, call Kent Boudreaux and let him know his car is ready and he can pick it up any time today.”
With only a little regret, he set his cup down and headed to back the car from the bay and bring in another to work on. Thank goodness God was good to provide so much work when the economy was so bad. Just as the back wheels cleared the bay doors, one of them ran over something. He didn’t have a clue what it could have been, since it had only been a couple of hours since he’d driven the car in the bay. Then his heart constricted and he groaned in sudden agony.
Alfie’s job was to meet and greet all customers that came into the shop. His throne was the cushioned chair that was next to the desk. Sure it was grimy, but it was comfortable for a small, snowy white, very fluffy dog. Normally, Alfie rarely ventured into the bay area. He preferred the cool office and comfy cushion to the cool, but mucky shop floor. Alfie was the beloved owner of the man and his family. His other job was to give love and happiness to those he loved best.
The man climbed from the car, dreading what he must find. Sure enough, Alfie was laying still and flat under the car. Tears welled up, and his heart wrenched again. Suddenly, the bright day darkened to night. The dog must have scooted out the door when he got coffee. Even though he wasn’t allowed in the shop, the dog had obviously disobeyed the standing command.
He cradled the little dog in his arms, unsure of what to do. The lifeless form just lay there, head lolled back and tiny pink tongue slack instead of happily panting. The shop owner sat down in a grease-smudged chair with the dog across his lap. What should he do? How would he tell his sweet wife and those precious girls what had happened to Alfie? Finally, he decided to put the dog in the dog food bag, and place him in the dumpster. In this concrete garden, there wasn’t anywhere to bury a pet.
The rest of the day, he worried and fretted how to tell the family they had lost one of their own that day. There was no good way, so he blurted it out as soon as he made it home. Rain began to patter against the home’s windows and it seemed God was sharing the family’s grief.
Next morning, what was normally a joy to hop out of bed and head to work became a heavy chore. Sighing heavily, all the way to work, he opened the shop for daily work, sans his beloved, tiny, fluffy employee.
The coffee had just finished brewing when the owner of the neighboring body shop burst into the office. “Are you going to tell me why your dog is in the dumpster?”
“Well, Jeb, I know he’s in the dumpster. I didn’t have any place else to put him. I ran over him yesterday.
“No, you don’t understand. Your dog is barking and jumping and trying to get out of that dumpster!”
“What? Are you kidding me?” With joyful heart, the man ran to the dumpster and grabbed up that fluffy bundle of excitement. That little pink tongue was exploring every inch of his face. That little dog had only been knocked out, and the most refreshing rain, that gift from God, had refreshed and revived him. Alfie wasn’t dead, after all, he just needed reviving.