White Dog and the others had surrounded the bed and were staring waiting for Steve’s alarm to chirp. They politely did not want to wake us but I could feel their excitement through my sleep. Birds began to sing and gentle wave noises rushed over the room…Steve’s alarm.
“HAPPY GOTCHA DAY!” The White Dog Army howled in unison. “It is your anniversary! Go ahead! Kiss each other!”
White Dog hopped up on the bed shoving Sachi to one side, Steve let Zsofia out of her crate and she jumped up to join us. Bella stood on her hind legs so she could grip my arm. Taiko and YoYoMa rested their heads on the top of the bed. Puff nuzzled my hand and then curled up on the floor next to me.
“Tell us the story!” White Dog demanded. “It is the REAL beginning of the White Dog Army.”
“A long time ago momma was the editor-in-chief of our college newspaper,” Steve began. “I came in and shocked her staff by sitting right in the middle of her desk and asking her out. She could not resist my charms so she married me.” “No, dad! We want the real story!” Puff cried. “The way momma tells it.”
All eyes turned to me.
“My loves,” I started. “What dad says was where we began. But thirty-four years ago I realized that even though dad did not fit my Wish List for a Perfect Husband…he was a frat boy, for dog’s sake! AND he liked punk, the original kind!” Taiko gasped and looked at Steve as though looking for THAT character.
“I realized that sometimes our hearts are wiser than our heads and that dad and I had been drawn together because our souls have been connected for all time. And dad felt the same way.
“So on a cold October 4th thirty-four years ago our friends and loved ones gathered together at an open air chapel at a Boy Scout Camp in Whitehall, Michigan to make a commitment to be always One. Friends made banners. Other friends wrote and played music. Still others read poetry and profound messages. Chrysanthemums iced with frost filled the structure whose altar backdrop was the deep pine forest mixed with the colors of sumac, sassafras, and oak. The frozen air was crystal blue and scented with the essence of Autumn. No more perfect day had yet been created.
“Many of our friends were not even born yet…when dad and I got married. None of you were even a thought in your great grandparents’ heads. But that day of union set us on a course, together, that led us through joy and sorrow and hardship and blessing driven always by commitment to each other and a common dream that we had vowed to realize together no matter what challenges we faced.
“When we were finally ready and our hearts were properly prepared, that destiny that we chose led us to the White Dog Army. I would not be here without dad or him without me. And the White Dog Army added to our strength and love and commitment. Now we are a family. Now we hold each other’s hearts and paws as we face each day, each challenge, and each opportunity to make the world better.
And it all began with one cocky frat boy showing me that you just never know where or when the Universe is going to hand you the most precious miracle ever!” I have not regretted a single moment of our journey…the good or the bad…and I thank the Universe every single day for a partner who has helped me grow, given me wings, provided roots and always loved me unconditionally. I cannot imagine existing without my soul mate.
Tonight we will celebrate as the White Dog Army joyously embraces every wondrous moment of our lives. And as we share the foods that we all enjoy and bask in the great good fortune that has joined us all together, we will listen to the song that filled the forest on that long ago October morning…
You are windblown...dearest love...but you are mine.