She’s not heavy, she’s my dog

We took a trip to the coast and we took our two-year-old Catahoula mix dog with us. The only place we ever go is to Port Aransas, because Janie, my wife, has such fond memories of the place; she and her cousins and their parents spent hours looking for shells and generally enjoying the funky wonder of the place. And we have to cross on the ferry and we have to spot a dolphin and eat pretzels so that we will have good luck for the coming year.

Having those obligations behind us, we proceeded to our “pet friendly” motel.  There were, indeed, every variety of dog: large and small, shaggy and short hair, mutt or pure bred. That in itself was kind of exciting.  

We, however, ran into a complication. Our room was up stairs and Goldie wouldn’t go. 

I actually did manage to get her half way up, but she forcibly dragged me down the stairs, refusing to cooperate.  In order to get her to our room, I had to carry this forty pounds of squirming muscle up 20 steps, while trying to keep my balance. I had seen other dogs balk at the prospect of climbing those stairs, so I knew I wasn’t alone. Going down the stairs was not a problem, only ascending them proved to be a task too great for her courage and comprehension.  

To my surprise, the culprit turned out to be that the steps were open – that is as you ascend the steps you can see the ground below.  I reflected on this to the management, and all he said was, “My dog has a problem with those stairs, too.” What I wanted to say to him can’t be printed in this newspaper, nor would it have endeared me to the proprietor.  Why, I ask, do you call yourself a “pet friendly motel” when you cut corners to exclude the very species you seek to attract. Needless to say, we won’t be going back there.  

I was thinking about this when I was watching the Presidential Election and its aftermath. First, the most qualified person ever to seek the office racks up two million more votes than the least qualified person but because of some antiquated institution called the Electoral College, she loses the election.  

Then I listened to voters in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin who voted for Barak Obama twice, but switched to Trum… this time because they felt they hadn’t made enough economic progress, even after suffering through the Great Recession, and were coming out of it slowly but surely.  

Then I really got scared when I heard an interview with the leader of a White Supremacist group who is supported by one of the new players in the White House.  

Fear makes us do strange things.  It makes it impossible to climb stairs that ordinarily would not be a problem. It forces us to make strange decisions for weird reasons that in the light of sober reflection, we know we will regret. And the consequence of living in that fear is that the rest of us left have to lift far more than we should or would normally be required to lift.  

Climbing the heights to a more perfect Union may be harder than it was before the election, but I am more awake now to lifting the burden before us, and I hope you are too.

A retired Presbyterian minister living in Kyle, with wife, Janie (Sledge). He is the author of Blood Under the Altar, and the upcoming, Fire in the Blood.

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