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Monday, December 2, 2013

Advent Calendar and Neighbors...

For a change, my Advent calendar is in sync with the actual Advent season!

When we first moved to Carson City, we had a lot of things to do to make this rental house, "ours"...not the least of which was to put shelves and a cabinet in the garage to hold all of our stuff. We spent a LOT of time in the garage and driveway. I have a doggie fence that spans the width of the garage that I set up so Bridget the Yorkie could hang out with us in the garage while we were busy getting things done. (Remember THIS?)

Of course, this allowed Bridget to see every person, dog and car that came down our street. We have 'gangboxes' for the mail in our neighborhood, and we have one for about 30 homes a few doors down from our house, so you can imagine how much foot and vehicle traffic we get in the afternoon! This also resulted in meeting some of the neighbors who decided to walk the dog and pick up the mail at the same time.

One of our neighbors is a man named Dave. He lives in the house sort of kitty-corner across from our house. I introduced myself (and Bridget) one day when he walked by with his dog, Kai, as I worked in the garage with Bridget. I saw him and Kai a lot when I took Bridget for her morning walk. He and Kai usually took a different route, but we would wave at each other from across the street.

Turns out, he is very nice and Kai is a very sweet medium sized Pitbull/Dalmatian mix. We chatted for a little bit that first day, but he made it a habit to stop by when we had the garage door opened. Kevin also enjoys chatting with Dave.

He's an interesting man. He is a hydrologist who travels all over the United States. He told us that he and his wife, Janet, have a couple of who just started Western Nevada University this past August.  The older son lives in Texas with his family. One day, I asked him about Kai, who is VERY well behaved and trained. She loves to play with Bridget, like a puppy, and I wondered about her age.

Dave told me that about 3 years ago, his wife, Janet, got breast cancer. He said they did everything possible to combat the disease, but she died in January 2013. He was devastated but the loss, since they were really looking forward to 2014 and retirement, so they could travel and spend more time with the grandbabies in Texas.

To ward off loneliness, he got Kai as a companion. Kai was a shelter dog who was going to be put down because she was a very undisciplined Pitbull mix. He thought he could work with her since he's reduced his time working as he gets closer to retirement. Turns out, he's done a fabulous job with her! She is very friendly and rambunctious, but she is very obedient. Apparently, she is not quite two years old- hence, the puppy play with Bridget.

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned to Kevin that I hadn't seen Dave and Kai walking for a week or so and I wondered why. Later that day, Kevin saw Dave heading over to the mailbox and asked about Kai. He told Kevin that Kai was in the hospital- she had picked up some kind of bacterial infection in New Mexico on a trip they took for his work as a hydrologist. He was worried that Kai wouldn't be able to fight off the infection and he would have to face another loss. Kevin said he was sorry and told Dave that I had asked about Kai that day.

About a week ago, I saw Dave and Kai heading to to the mailbox and I told him how happy I was that Kai had recovered. Dave was pretty happy about it, too.

On Saturday, I saw Dave and his son putting up Christmas lights and playing with Kai on the front lawn. I was out in the front yard, watching Chris and Kevin put up our lights, and I remarked to Kevin that it must be a father-son bonding activity. Then, I remembered, that there wasn't a Mom across the street to watch with joy and pride. It made me a little sad, but also, very grateful that I do have the opportunity to see those moments with my own family.

So, Advent started yesterday. I know I was focused on 'poor me' yesterday, but today, I want to focus on what the season is about...waiting for something. The 'something' is the celebration of the Incarnation of Jesus as 'fully God and fully human' at Christmas  and when He comes again. And, as as believer, I know He will come again and I will again see my loved ones who have died before me.

Yesterday, Dave walked by with Kai as Kevin and I were finishing up sorting through all the boxes to find the last of the Christmas decorations. He said, "I like your sign." I smiled, because that means he too, is a believer, and knows he will see Janet, again.

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