Thursday, December 22, 2005


Out of pure and honest respect.....

When Vincent, our Webmaster, and I talked on the telephone last evening, I told him I would not enter a blog until after Christmas Day. It was my intention, I said, to not upset anyone's Christmas. That after Sunday would be soon enough to write.

This morning, I awakened a bit before 3am and knew in my heart that I must write today. I must tell you of the news. I must write out of true and honest respect for one of our greatest ministers. Ever. DukeDuke.

DukeDuke crossed over the Rainbow Bridge yesterday.

Now I could tell you of the colic and all of our attempts to help him through it, but what you really need to know is this:
It was a damp and chilly weekday in December. Christmas music is playing loudly in every little town's main street, including Spring Valley. Everyone is running their last minute errands. There's that aire of excitment around us all.

DukeDuke waited until the sunshine broke brilliantly through the clouds - so bright was the sunshine that I remember squinting in trying to adjust to the sudden change. It had been cloudy all day long and now, in an instant, the sun was at it's brightest and the white snow covering the ground was illuminated to the brightest I have seen, it seemed.

At that moment, when the skies opened and revealed the sun, our minister stepped across that bridge. He left behind many of us who cry for him but we already are talking of his gentleness, his patience, his trust, and his impact.

DukeDuke is a cornerstone to us. He is the front horse of our logo. DukeDuke is the one we take when there will be noise and traffic and children and wheelchairs and who knows what. DukeDuke is bomb-proof.

DukeDuke teaches us to slow down and enjoy the moment. In fact, when Tara and I were loading Jimmer and DukeDuke at 5am the morning of the Applebee's breakfast just a couple of days ago, I commented again to Tara that "DukeDuke forces me to slow down - that horse just does not hurry for anyone or anything! And that is a good thing, Tara. He's teaching us a good lesson."

And earlier today I had a conversation with Jimmer. I found him this morning standing at the fence line looking over at the pasture searching for DukeDuke. So I went out to Jimmer and told him of DukeDuke's crossing and that now Jimmer needed to be the cornerstone. And I told Jimmer it was okay to be sad and a bit scared.

And to try to remember that it's Christmas, Jimmer. We must be grateful for the gift that was DukeDuke. That skinny, wormy, blind horse that came to me just because I couldn't imagine being blind and going in to a kill pen. That horse who set the pace and the mood of the place.

DukeDuke, the gift, who was here to welcome him and Slim and Hannah and RedMan and Joseph and Bonita and Cole and Blaise and Lanna and Beauty and Josephina and all the others that have come since. DukeDuke, the rock. The foundation.

And I told Jimmer something else this morning. Through my tears I told Jimmer that we must be happy for DukeDuke - because now he can see! Now those scarred eyes were whole again and he can see the very sunshine that he traveled to.

Bless you, DukeDuke. I am so very grateful to have known you. And I will carry your story on. Forever.

Blessings on this day,
Sandy and a little bit smaller of a Herd

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