“Major”

We’re on our way!

It’s a bit chilly, isn’t it?  I think we might get some snow soon.  Hey!  Take a look to our right, up on that hill over there.  See that White Pine tree next to that big Oak?  That White Pine reminds me of something…..

When I was in kindergarten, Mom got me a small little White Pine, about a foot tall, from our local school that was giving them out to children.  We took it home and planted it in our front yard.  We moved when I was in 2nd grade and made sure to take the White Pine with us when we went.

Besides having this seedling of a tree, I also grew up with my parents having two big flat-coated retrievers, a male (named Major) and a female (named Babe).  The male, Major, was almost my nemesis.  In the winter, when my brother and I were outside playing in the snow, we’d be having a great time until one of my parents let Major out.  When he saw us and we saw him, it was the hunter eyeing the hunted.  Why, you may ask?

This dog loved the snow; but even more, he loved to “pick one from the herd” and chase him down.  Once he was upon his prey, he would plow him into the snow, take his stocking hat (remember as a kid when they used to come with a ball on the top, usually the same color as the hat?) and gallop off to his secret lair, snickering to himself, an air of pompous victory emanating from some cruel gene, and chew the ball off the hat.  The victim would later find his hat laying abandoned in the snowy yard, covered with drool.  We sometimes found the balls–and when we did, they were sadly beyond resuscitation, drool dripping from them, snow-covered and maybe some grass and dirt thrown in the mix if Major was in a good mood that day.

When we would see him coming, we’d look at each other and know what the other one was thinking:  Holy crap, it’s Major!  Do I stay or do I run?  Can I get out of his line of fire before my brother does?  Should I take the hit for him?  Will I ever see this hat again?  You didn’t dare let the fear of something happening to your new stocking hat drive you to start running away from Major.  That only sealed your fate.  No, your chances of survival were far greater if you just stood there and waited for his sadistic game to play itself out.   Sometimes my younger brother would start to cry–probably because he knew he was going to lose another hat.  (He lost more hats  and balls to Major than I did.  I do recall a time or two of choosing to run from Major in the hopes of diverting his trajectory onto my brother’s path, who was by this time either running slower than I was or was already curled up in the fetal position in the snow, whimpering and probably praying for the rapture to happen NOW, just waiting for the inevitable.)

You know what?  That dog even came after us when we didn’t have any balls on our stocking hats!  If there was a ball on one hat but not on the other, that just meant that all three of us knew who he was going after.   And then the next time this would happen, and we’re both wearing castrated head gear, it was anybody’s guess.  Ah, such wonderful childhood memories!

Now here’s where the white pine comes in….

The First Few Miles

So we’re on the trail together!  Most excellent.

How about I go into a little more detail about what we’re doing and where we’re going.  I mentioned before that we’re going to walk in each other’s shoes for a while.  When we do that, we experience life together from a unique perspective.  Walk in my shoes and let me show you some truly amazing things that have happened to me–and still are–things that I believe can help you and strengthen you on your journey.

We’ll definitely laugh together (I’ve got some stories to tell); probably shed a tear or two; be challenged together; and generally have a great time as we head to our destination.

And speaking of our destination…..where we’re going is really going to blow your mind.  You’ll be amazed when we get there!  But it’s going to take a while.  This trail we’re on is a good one–it’s used quite often–but some of the journey could get a little treacherous.  No worries, though!    When you see where we’re going, it’ll be worth it.  And by the way, this isn’t some metaphor for Heaven that I’m speaking of (although, just between you and me, that’s going to be even better than where we’re going!).  Our destination is tangible, we’ve got a lot of miles to cover and a whole lot of fun to be had, so let’s get to it….

In The Beginning…..

Hello.(….”My name is Inigo Montoya.  You killed my father.  Prepare to die.”)

Sorry.  I can’t help but hear those lines whenever I see the word “hello” (if you don’t know what those lines are from, stick around for a minute and I’ll tell you).

Matthew is my name.  Glad you could join me.  This promises to be a fantastic journey, and I’m thrilled you’re willing to walk this leg of it with me.  Let me post some landmarks before we go….

You should know that I am a follower of Jesus Christ–a “Christ-one” or “Christian” in today’s vernacular.  You should also know that I have the utmost respect for your right to believe what you believe.  I don’t push my beliefs on anyone; I simply want you to know where I’m coming from as we head out and that I speak of Him often (that’s what Best Friends do).

One more landmark to post:  this blog is about walking in my shoes for a while, and me walking in yours.  Life can pass by so fast and before we know it, we’ve missed all kinds of opportunities to touch others’ lives and experience life with them–joys and sorrows and everything in-between.  And why snowshoes??  It has to do with where we’re heading.  I’ll fill you in as we go….

Oh yeah.  Those lines are from a classic 80’s movie called “The Princess Bride” (one of the best “escape-into-a-fun-story-for-two-hours” movies ever made).

Ready?  Let’s get our boots on, zip our coats up and head on out.  We’ve got a lot of ground to cover……

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