A gift...

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On a hot summer afternoon, while walking the country lanes near our home, Tiffany and I encountered a wretched old man, dragging behind him a large stick. His clothes were tattered and threadbare. The long, spindly fingers of his dirty hands looked like an angry bowl of pasta had been shaped into old-man-hands by Picasso. In his eyes, we saw what looked like the last embers of a campfire, the morning after a party. In his wake, in contrast to his beleaguered and disheveled person, the grass was unexpectedly turning a bright and healthy green.

When we asked if he needed any assistance, he laughed. The sound was like that of a great tree limb, breaking in the distance, and falling on a herd of asthmatic goats. The man raised his great stick and pointed it directly at my beard.

“You would be cursed for speaking to me, but I have been cursed by one more powerful than I. My curses now bring joy to others, and that joy is my curse.  Behold!”

As he spoke, my face began to feel quite strange. I looked down, and my beard fell right off of my face and began to spin crazily on the ground in front of us.

The old man, who I can only describe now as a Wizard, continued to laugh as he turned his back and walked slowly away.

The ball of brownish and grey hair was spinning and spinning, and suddenly began barking! A cloud of dust and hair and moving madness was at our feet! Tiffany could barely continue drinking her wine!

When the dust settled, laying on his belly, with feet stretched out in front of him, looking deeply into our eyes with great anticipation, sat a perfectly content, tail wagging little dog. Just in front of him, lay a pinecone, which he clearly was waiting for one of us to throw.

In other words, we have a dog now, his name is Pelé, and he will be joining us on our journey.