Father Dan, a holy man,
had a little patch of ground
and a modest place he shared with Grace,
in a quiet little town.
He shared his life with Grace – his wife
for almost fifty years
and made his way on preacher’s pay –
they were always in arrears.
As payment made in the form of trade –
a dog would come their way,
a one-year old with fur of gold –
they named her Molly May.
Father Dan devised a plan
for getting Molly bred,
he’d sell her brood to purchase food
and keep his family fed.
The moon was bright that summer night
when Molly’s puppies came –
the Labrador gave birth to four
that all looked just the same.
But number five had almost died,
not healthy like the rest –
so small and weak, her future bleak –
a stunted growth at best.
Beyond repair, just special care –
the vet did all he could,
defects at birth reduced her worth –
a fact they understood.
But both agreed they’d wait and see
if maybe she’d survive –
so very frail, a crooked tail
and very small in size.
They named her Peg – a crippled leg
insured she’d never run –
she did her best to join the rest,
but all they did was shun.
Weeks went by, then came the time
to put them up for sale,
so Dan displayed a sign he made
and hoped it wouldn’t fail.
The way it read – “They’re thoroughbred
and healthy as can be,
with fur of gold and eight weeks old –
you must come by and see.”
Back from town, they’d settled down,
been running ‘round the clock –
they thought it best to take a rest
when they heard a subtle knock.
A boy in jeans they’d never seen
was standing at the door
with tattered clothes and dirty nose –
they knew the boy was poor.
“My mama read your sign – it said
you had some pups for sale,
so I came to see how much they’d be,
‘cause I’d like a little male.”
He knew his means from the worn-out jeans
and his shirt tied in a knot,
Said, “Son, you see, those pups aren’t free –
I’m afraid they cost a lot”.
“But just today, you can
stay and play
and that won’t cost a cent”,
and then the four came to the door –
was such a blessed event.
The pups were glad to see the lad
as they ran about the place,
but then the runt would limp out front
and try to lick his face.
The boy lit up when he saw that pup
and held her to his chest –
with instant glow, he said, “I know
that this one is the best!”
“I’m sorry son, she’d be no fun –
she’ll never chase a ball,
with little Peg’s defective leg –
she’d be no fun at all.”
The little man just looked a Dan
and as clear as he could be,
he said, “I know she moves real slow,
but that’s okay with me”.
He grabbed the seam of his tattered jeans
and pulled it up his leg –
he understood as just he could,
what it meant to be like Peg.
Dan could see – where a leg should be
was an artificial limb,
and with it too – a wooden shoe
that was custom-made for him.
Father Dan would take his hand –
his eyes all welled with tears
and kneel down low to be real close
to a boy of seven years.
He whispered, “Son, God’s work is done,
it’s a sign I must attend,
she’s yours to take, a pair you’ll make,
she’ll always be your friend.”
A grateful child just stood and smiled –
gave hugs to Dan and Grace,
then off he’d go with Peg in tow –
like turtles in a race.