- March 2014
- December 2013
- June 2013
- March 2013
- September 2013
- From the Editor’s Desk
- Bloom Where You Are Planted and Where You Are Transplanted
- The Change Game
- Ten Tender Weeks: The Countdown
- The Chap Who Lives in a Flat
- Conspiracy Theory
- The Closers
- He Knows
- Surprising Steps with a Friendly Wind
- If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It!
- Walking the Talk
- Message in a Bottle
- January 2013
It Started with a Noise
It Started with a Noise
By Genia Gilbert
After breakfast, Leah finished her prayer time by asking God to lift the heaviness from her heart and home.
Stepping out the front door, she looked both ways, unable to identify the strange muffled, whimpering sounds she kept hearing. In the backyard, she found her granddaughter, Mallory, already sitting in her swing, staring morosely into space. Leah was sure the noise wasn’t coming from the little girl because Mallory was almost always silent.
Silent and sad, Leah thought, her heart aching for the child.
Mallory had come to stay with them two months ago, shortly after the sudden, tragic death of their daughter-in-law. Paige had been a wonderful wife to their son Danny, and mother to Mallory. When Danny was deployed to Afghanistan, Paige and Mallory became especially close.
After Paige’s funeral, Danny stayed as long as possible, but had returned to duty last week. He managed a transfer to a base close by, but now Mallory was missing her Daddy, too.
“Mal,” Leah called out, “come help me find this strange noise I’m hearing.” She hoped it would catch the child’s interest for a little while.
The slender girl shrugged slightly, but followed her grandmother around the house.
Seeing nothing out of the ordinary, Leah took Mallory’s hand and led her for a walk around the block, pointing out the colorful spring blooms.
“Hey,” she said cheerfully. “Gramps will be home soon. Do you thing we might talk him into taking us to McDonald’s for chicken nuggets?”
At this, Mallory did smile a little. “I bet I can get him to do it,” she stated confidently.
Leah knew she was right. Bill adored their grieving granddaughter. Both Leah and Bill had a hard time comprehending how quickly the undetected aneurism had taken Paige’s life, leaving the gaping hole and emptiness in the family.
Just then, Mallory stopped. “I heard it, Grandma. What could it be?” Her little forehead wrinkled.
They circled the entire house again, but everything was quiet.
Interrupting their thoughts, Bill’s pickup turned into the drive. Mallory ran to meet him with her McDonalds’ suggestion.
Later, during the night, Leah thought she heard the sound again, but it always stopped before she could be sure.
Next morning, however, it was much louder and persisted. Bill began to look around too, and a sleepy Mallory joined them outside.
“Grandma, something is moving under the bushes.” Mallory sounded a little frightened.
Stooping over, they all caught sight of them at once. In a burrowed-out space, between the thick lilac bush and the bricks, were three furry, brown puppies. With eyes open but legs unsteady, they tumbled about without leaving their familiar, safe place.
Their plaintive cries were unrelenting now. Leah looked at Bill, wondering where the mother dog had gone. It was obvious she wasn’t around, and the babies were getting louder and louder.
“Gramps, why are they crying?” Mallory was beginning to whimper too, as the puppies’ high-pitched din increased.
“I think they’re just hungry, honey. We’ll get them some milk. We might even have to feed them from a bottle until they learn how to sip.”
“But where is their mommy?” Tears now streamed freely down her face.
“Well, Mal, maybe something happened to her.” Bill held her close. “But, don’t worry; if she doesn’t come back, we’ll take care of them.”
“Like and you and Grandma take care of me?” she sobbed.
Leah’s eyes met Bill’s, sharing the pain in her voice. Suddenly they were all crying together, with the three puppies whining right along.
Praying for words, Leah said hoarsely, “Yes, Mal. It won’t be the same as their mommy, but we will give them lots of love.”
Mallory nodded solemnly as Bill handed her a wriggling puppy. With Leah and him carrying the other two, they walked together into the garage.
In the next weeks, they each spent much time holding, feeding, and watching the small brown bundles grow and play. With a number of visits into the house, the pups progressed to the fenced backyard. Their mother never returned, but the puppies had loving care. Leah breathed a prayer of thanks for their healing effect, and for hope and laughter slowly returning.
With a lighter voice, Mallory told Danny on the phone, “Daddy, hurry home. You gotta see our puppies! You can help us take care of them.”