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POEM ABOUT DOG BRINGS TEARS TO GRANDMA'S EYES

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 4 1992 12:00 a.m. MST

      Dear Abby: Many years ago, on the Johnny Carson show, Jimmy Stewart read a poem he had written about his dog. It was so beautiful, it brought tears to my eyes. I tried in vain to get a copy of it, and you are my last resort. I am 93 and living in a nursing home. Please print that poem, Abby. I'd sign my name, but my family would think I've lost my marbles.

      - Grandma

      Dear Grandma: The beautiful poem is titled "Beau" - and here it is:

      "Beau" by Jimmy Stewart

      He never came to see me when I would call -

      Unless I had a tennis ball.

      But mostly he didn't come at all.

      When he was young, he never learned to heel or sit

      or stay.

      He did things his own way.

      Discipline was not his bag

      But when you were with him, things sure didn't drag.

      He'd dig up a rosebush to spite me

      And when I'd grab him, he'd bite me.

      He bit lots of folks from day to day.

      The delivery boy was his favorite prey.

      The gas man wouldn't read our meter.

      He said we owned a real man-eater.

      He set the house on fire, but the story is long

      to tell.

      Suffice to say, he survived, and the house survived

      as well.

      On evening walks, and Gloria took him,

      He was always first out the door.

      The old one and I brought up the rear because our bones

      were sore.

      He'd charge up the street with Mom hanging on -

      What a beautiful pair they were!

      And if it was still light and the tourists were out,

      They created a bit of a stir.

      But every once in a while he'd stop in his tracks

      With a frown on his face, and look around.

      It was just to make sure the old one was there

      To follow him where he was bound.

      We're early bedders at our house,

      I guess I'm the first to retire,

      And as I would leave the room,

      He'd look at me from his place by the fire.

      He knew where the tennis balls were, upstairs.

      I'd give him one for a while.

      He'd push it under the bed with his nose

      And I'd push it out with a smile.

      Before very long, he'd tire of the ball

      And he would be asleep in his corner in no time at all.

      And there were nights when I'd feel him

      climb upon our bed

      And lie between us and I'd pat his head.

      There were nights when I'd feel his stare,

      And I'd wake up and he'd be sitting there.

      I'd reach out to stroke his hair,

      And sometimes I'd feel him sigh.

      I think I know the reason why.

      He'd wake up at night and he would have this fear

      Of the dark, of life, of lots of things

      And he'd be glad to have me near.

      And now he's dead, and there are nights when I think

      I feel him climb upon our bed, and be between us,

      and I'd pat his head.

      And there are nights when I think I feel that stare

      And I reach out my hand to stroke his hair

      And he's not there.

      Oh, how I wish that wasn't so -

      I'll always love a dog named Beau.

      Dear Abby: This concerns questioning the propriety of a telephone invitation to a wedding that came just two weeks before the wedding.

      This is the very understandable system of the "A" list and the "B" list, not because of social order, but because of cost and family limitations. For example, when my son was married, his bride "allotted" him 27 guests. When some regrets came in, I immediately issued invitations by telephone, and most were accepted graciously.

      Anyone who has dealt with invitations knows how excruciating it is to cut the list. I don't know anyone who would refuse an invitation because it came later than some others.

      This past year, we received an invitation by phone from a dear friend who earlier had apologized for not including us in her limited number for her son's wedding. It was 10 days before the wedding, and we were delighted to accept. My husband, in fact, joked that a 10-day notice meant they probably had a "Z" list and we were on that, but who cares? Those invited early or late still get to go and have a good time.

      - Adeline in Homewood, Ill.

      Dear Adeline: (I nearly said "sweet" Adeline, but I'm sure you've had your fill of that.) I admire your generous attitude; it has probably saved you many an ulcer. However, I still think it's very insensitive to make guests feel that they are on any list other than the "A" list.

      1992 Universal Press Syndicate

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