I'm telling this story because my mom told it to me. She's never told all of it together because it is just hard she says. She could tell it but there are parts that still make her cry and we didn't want to get the keyboard all wet with tears in case it would make the computer blow up or something. So we decided I would tell the story in spite of the fact she will not tell you the whole thing face-to-face).
Mom grew up in a state called Indiana. She says there are lots of trees and it is very green. She says there is a bad thing there called humidity. I guess there were other things that she needed to get away from too because when she turned 18, she came to Utah. She didn't necessarily WANT to come to Utah (California was "THE" place to be) but she landed in Utah and has been here ever since.
After mom got to Utah, she only went back to visit her family a few times. Of course now she feels really guilty about it, but at the time it was probably a good decision. Her mom would always ask her when she was coming to visit and mom would say "maybe this Christmas". Well, long story short, it never happened and every Christmas my mom felt bad that another one went by without seeing her mom on Christmas. Anyway, her mom would come to visit her in Utah every now and again and stay for about a month. Mom is glad to have shared that time with her mom.
Her Mom died at age 72 on July 11, 2001 (since my mom and her mom shared the same birthday she thinks they might both die on July 11th but that's getting me off track). Before her mom died, she always wanted to do some traveling. She was a complete homebody, not out of choice but more out of circumstance of life. But she didn't complain. Her mom wasn't the complaining type. Anyway, a couple years before she died, she and mom's father took a car trip and drove to Utah, then to Nevada. The plan was to drive to the ocean but her dad got tired so they turned back east and returned to Indiana. Her mom never saw the ocean. Mom thinks it is the saddest thing, to live a whole life and never see something as magnificent as the ocean.
You see, mom really likes the ocean despite the fact she is deathly afraid of water. Even though I can swim and think it is an easy thing to do, she cannot. But she loves to go to the ocean and stand at the edge of the continent and see the water splash onto the shore. A beach-like shore is fun for playing but it's the rockier, cliff-like shores that really leave her in awe. She says it seems to her that it must represent the kind of power God must have. All these mega-zillions of drops of water, sprinkled all over the earth, have so little power, but where they are all joined together there is this magnificent strength and power that is capable of so much. So the ocean feels very spiritual to her.
Now I have to tell you another part of this story. Before me and Stanley were born, our peeps had other dogs. Their last two, before us, were named Leroy and Reggie. Mom had Leroy since he was a pup but Reggie was rescued by mom and dad after they got married. Leroy knew mom before she met dad (dad used to call him "city slicker"). Leroy hated men but he liked dad so mom thought she better marry him. Anyway, they had Leroy and Reggie a long time. The vets thought Reggie was around 2 years old when they got him. They had him about 14 years.
This is Leroy, short for Leroy Brown. He was little but he didn't put up with guff from anyone! One time mom was driving to see dad and Leroy was on her lap and he got his head stuck in the steering wheel while she was trying to turn a corner. She thought she was going to wreck the car! That is why me and Stanley have to wear seat belts. It's probably a good idea anyway. Anyway, Leroy died on February 8, 2006. He had gotten so old that he had bad arthritis and slept most of the days. He had pretty much gone deaf too. Then one day everything just stopped working.
This is Reggie. Mom said he was all heart and no brain. Dad thought he was the best a dog could ever be (until he met me and Stanley). Mom said Reggie was pure love. Reggie didn't age as well as Leroy. Reggie never learned how to play either. They weren't sure what his life was like before he came to them but they knew someone abused him. So they thought Reggie was grateful for a good home and that was why he was such a loving dog. Anyway, Reggie had bad knees. The vet said he could do an operation but at Reggie's advanced age it would be cruel to put him through 2 separate surgeries that would involve a long and difficult recovery. So Reggie struggled with walking for his last few years. He died a year after Leroy, on February 5, 2007.
The summer before Leroy died, they went to the ocean in Oregon. They walked the dogs to the beach, thinking that the sand would be soft on their joints. Mom had Leroy on leash and dad had Reggie on leash. Pretty soon Leroy started pulling on his leash. Mom thought this was odd since for the longest time he was always trailing behind her. So she just kept walking faster to let Leroy enjoy his walk. The beach was deserted except for the 4 of them. Leroy kept walking faster and faster and pretty soon he was actually running on the beach. Mom was shocked but she ran with him as long as he wanted. Pretty soon she heard dad yelling at her to look behind her. And there was Reggie, running right behind her with dad in tow! The four of them ran on the beach! That was probably the last time either dog ran. Mom says when she thinks of them and gets sad, she remembers what it felt like to run with them on the beach. She thinks the dogs felt the strength of the ocean too. She said that it gives her comfort to know they had that experience. Remember, mom thinks no one should live a life without having experienced the ocean.
When Leroy and Reggie died, there were huge gaping holes in mom and dad's hearts. They couldn't even talk about it for the longest time. They decided losing them was so painful that they could never take a chance on loving another dog again.
It took them five whole years before they got me and Stanley. I think I've told the story before about how it was Goose's blog that cracked mom's armor around her heart. And once she cracked, dad crumbled pretty easily too. Boy are me and Stanley grateful to Goose for making that happen! Anyway, mom and dad know that eventually, many years from now, we will grow old too. And they know the pain will be unbearable when we are parted. But they also learned it is impossible to harden a heart to save it from breaking. Mom says that God sent me to her so that she could love freely again. So in the meantime, we're going to live, grow, play, and love together. And in order to live that plan . . . we're going to the ocean!
PS - For those who asked, we are headed for the northern California coast, the Ferndale - Eureka area.