Simple Things; Dad , Dogs and an Older Brother

There is within all of us the yearning to please someone.  God initially placed this in us in relation to Him.  During those times we are not in His will, the desire to please switches to either ourselves or someone else.  We have all known people who spend all of their time trying to please the boss or someone of authority.  There are many names given to people who do this, none are proper to post on this site.

We all know what these people are doing, yet many times the one they are doing it to is clueless.  This is because people enjoy being pleased.  Most everyone, if they were honest, would have to admit to feeling good when someone lavishes them with praise and seeks to do whatever it takes to bless them.  Also built into us is the desire to be pleased.

I must admit that I am partial to “man’s best friend” (no offence to cat lovers), but there is something about a dog that makes this subject come alive.  A dog is actually quite easily pleased.  A dog will readily show his pleasure at something by means of a wagging tail.  Oh if it were so easy to know if we have succeeded in blessing people.

I cannot begin to remember all the times over the years when I have felt badly, either physically or emotionally and immediately felt better and been uplifted by the wagging tail of one of our dogs.  I have stumbled home at times over the years beaten up and beaten down by vicious attacks from various sources and within an instant had all the pain and turmoil relieved by the very obvious delight expressed by one or more dogs at seeing me come home.

There is nothing that heals one’s heart up quicker than being wanted and needed.  A dog has the incredible ability to provide this in unmistakable ways.  Whether friendly barks, wagging tails, licks to the face or intense rubbing up against one’s leg or body; a dog lets you know right away that he is the happiest creature on earth to see you home.  Perhaps we should learn a few lessons from our dogs when it comes to how we view our spouses and children or parents.

Awhile back , we started watching ancient episodes of “Leave It To Beaver” from the late 1950’s that run constantly on various cable networks.  Among the many things I love about the first two seasons of that show is the innocence of the family unit.  Every day when Ward comes home from work, he opens the door and announces “I’m home”.  Every day, when Ward comes home, June is there to welcome him home with a kiss.  Every day, the first question is “where are the boys”, for that was the most important thing to him (besides reading the paper).

Of course the show did not portray the real life of any family, but it did represent a bit of 1958 life in America.  Back before the days of constant electronic distractions, life was much simpler and much more emphasis was placed on the family than even a decade later.  Families were genuinely happy to see each other instead of making excuses to avoid each other.

When I was around ten, my parents worked either the afternoon or night shifts to make enough money to support us.  There were many days that my older brother had take care of me from the time we came home from school till we went to bed.  He was 7 ½ years older than I was and to me he was the coolest guy on earth.  I was thrilled whenever we were told he would be “the father” on a particular evening.  Why?  Because that meant it was a “Dog and Shake” night.

About two blocks from our house was the original Pizza Hut.  It was a tiny little building no bigger than most storage sheds people put lawn mowers in.  In the same parking lot as the Pizza Hut was an equally small little building that housed the illustrious “Dog and Shake” fast food place.  They specialized in hot dogs and milkshakes, but also had very good hamburgers.  This was before the days of McDonalds and Burger Kings everywhere. 

On these special days, we would head up the place around 5:30 and to me, it was the most exciting trip I ever got to make.  Nothing beat walking those few blocks with my big brother.  It made me feel special, and honored to be in his presence, for to me, he was best big brother on earth.  He even let me place the order sometimes.  That made me feel like a grown up. 

We would get the bag with whatever we chose to eat that night (which was always the same thing) and make the return trip home smelling the aroma of our highly anticipated evening meal the whole way.  We would then settle down in front of the television and watch what was usually the news at that time of night while eating our feast fit for two kings.  Oh those were the days.

It didn’t take much to make me feel like the most important kid in Kansas back in 1963.  All it took was the genuine love of a brother whom I looked up to as Beaver Cleaver looked up to Wally.  I can recall many years of my life when I received the greatest pleasure a kid could ever experience from times with my brother, my dad and my dog.  What has happened to our culture that it takes movies, electronic games, computers and high priced toys of every type to amuse us and bring us pleasure in life?

Looking back, I thank God for Dad, dogs and my brother more than anything else in life back 45 years ago.


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