One of my favorite memories of you is from when I was in Junior High School.  Our neighbor, my best friend Kurt, had found a dog and taken him in.  People were always abandoning dogs on our hill.  I think there was a myth about our neighborhood being well-to-do.  Often as not, these dogs found homes.  I recall that Kurt always had two dogs, both Black Labrador Retrievers.  His family had a tradition of owning expensive things, and taking in a stray dog was probably as outlandish an idea to Kurt’s father as driving a vehicle which hadn’t been waxed that week.  Our family had had a few dogs for as long as four or five years, but we had never been a dog family.

One day, Kurt told me about this yellow dog he had been feeding.  He had given the dog the name Bo, after Bo Jackson, one of the most formidable athletes in the history of professional sports.  Kurt explained that he couldn’t keep Bo, and he urged me to ask you if I could keep him.  Although I told Kurt that there were no conditions which would allow for your accepting this dog into our home, he was persistent.

I asked, and your answer was “Sure.”

I had already painted you into a corner in my mind, and it took me a bit to get used to the idea that you had actually consented to my request.  Behind you in that corner a door appeared, and you opened it effortlessly.  I will not dwell here on how much having Bo around meant to me, to all of us (this is in honor of Father’s day and not of Canine’s Day which no doubt will surpass Halloween in the next decade to become the second most celebrated holiday in the States; just as soon as Hallmark can figure a way to get it established on our calenders).  And so I will say that the best surprise of all was to find that I didn’t really know a thing about your heart.  I didn’t expect you to be generous in that way, for you to trust me to take care of a creature.  I had thought you were unkind.  Now I know that you have one of the biggest hearts of any man I know.  This was not the last time your kindness surprised me.

Last January you made me as proud of you as I have ever been.  You gave of your time, money and spirit to the people of El Salvador; the very children of God.  I am praying every day that you will honor your church and the people of that nation with another week of service this coming January.  You have earned the honor of living as you did that week again.  Love,