The continuing adventures of Wilderness Mary, a mild mannered but well-armed mountain girl and her faithful sidekick Kika the diminutive Papillon with a ninja attitude.
In our last episode, Wilderness Mary and the Long Drop of Doom, her other faithful companion, Kirby was at her side. Alas, since then Kirby has moved on to the Rainbow Bridge and will patiently wait there for his master to join him.
As this episode begins, we find Mary at her home in a quiet neighborhood of Denver where she lives with her daughter Peg, son-in-law John, their three children, Lauren, Thomas, Terri and three Papillon breed dogs. It is early evening, most of the family are watching a movie on TV and John is upstairs.
Suddenly thirteen year old Lauren notices that Sam, one of the three Papillons is missing. Sam, at thirteen, is not only the oldest of the dogs but also more senior than everyone except Mom and Dad. He has been with the family since before Lauren was born. The two have grown up together and she would naturally be the one that noticed the dog's absence. Lauren asks, "Has anyone seen Sam?"
That's strange; nobody has seen Sam in a while. The movie is quickly forgotten and the family starts checking every nook and cranny in the house, searching for the diminutive Sam. While the house is being searched, Mary, looking around the outside, notices that the gate on the North side of the house has been left open and it is just enough to let Sam slip through the gap. Mary gathers the family around and gives them the distressing news, "Sam is out there somewhere!"
Immediately all hands start scouring the neighborhood, calling Sam's name and searching high and low for the small, black and white pet. It is like looking for a needle in a haystack because, by now, it is dark outside.
The search continues until, eventually, John returns to the house with sad news. He informs them all that he has found the dog and Sam is dead!
The family is devastated, especially the children. For Thomas 7 and Terri 6 the news is overwhelming and their sobbing will continue through much of the night.
John explained that Sam had been run over by cars on a busy street two blocks away. Chaos ensued ... not only at the loss of their beloved Sam but at the manner which he had perished. When Peg asks why Sam had been left in the street, John tells her, "There was almost nothing left to bury." The sadness was now unbearable, the grief inconsolable.
Mary tells John she could not bear to leave the remains of their dear pet stay in the street where he had died and that the family needed closure.
Armed with a garden hoe, a dust pan, a broom, a plastic bag and a box, Mary and John venture out into the night to bring Sam home.
It is a truly humane venture but soon the reality of the situation becomes apparent, the night is as black as pitch and the road is very busy. The choice is to either dodge the cars or wait for a lull in the traffic ... they waited.
Finally, John ventures into the street and scrapes up the remains of poor Sam, puts them into the dust pan and brings them to the side of the road. They put the remains into a plastic bag and then into a very small box. There is not much left of little Sam and Mary insists they put the small box into a larger box so the family would not freak out even more.
After bringing the remains home, the family contacts a friend that lives in the mountains and the friend tells them they can bury Sam at her large animal cemetery. So the plan is for the whole family to accompany Sam to his final resting place on the next Saturday and put him to rest.
The next morning at school, Lauren is still upset, in her first class of the day she starts crying at the loss of Sam who she had grown up with for all her 13 years. The teacher sends the upset Lauren to the school's counselor who listens to her sad story. The counselor says she is not familiar with the Papillon breed and proceeds to pull up a picture of a Papillon on her computer. As the website flashes on the screen Lauren again bursts into tears because the Papillon showing on the screen is the exact likeness of her beloved Sam.
Later, after Lauren, Thomas and Terri have spent a grieving day at school, Peg picks them up takes them home. Later still, Peg and Lauren have to go back to the school for the scheduled teacher's conference.
As they drive out of the neighborhood on their way to the school, Peg looks up and there, looking down on them from a poster attached to a telephone poll is a very familiar canine face. Peg slams on the brakes, skids to a stop, runs to the poll and tears the poster down. Sure enough staring out at her is Sam, huge ears straight out to the side, looking forlorn and scared.
Printed beneath the picture is the explanation, "... this blind, elderly dog has been found and was now at the local Police Department." Wondering where the family was and why the hell they were not coming to get him - was not mentioned but you know it was true.
Setting a new record for getting to the Police Department, they run into the building and there is Sam, wrapped up in a towel, shaking like a leaf, abandoned and forlorn. This time, for Peg and Lauren, the tears were of joy. After profuse thanks to all concerned, they take Sam home to the rest of the family's astonishment and joy.
The homecoming is an emotional affair with tears still flowing but after a few minutes, Peg realizes they still have the appointment with the school councilor. After making sure Sam was settled in, her and Lauren continue their trip to the school.
In the counselor's office, Peg and Lauren cannot wait to show her the poster of Sam and relay the story of his resurrection. Immediately the counselor begins to cry and says, "That is the best Christmas story I have ever heard."
Later, when Mary gets home from work and gets caught up on the news, she turns and just glares at John. He says, "What? It looked like Sam. It had white and black fur."
Mary replies, "So who is that we scraped off the asphalt in the bag, in the box in the garage?"
Mary's Comment: "Aside from all the stress, crying, disbelief and confusion, I can't help but feel good about the whole thing. We took care of someone's' sweet baby's' remains, and got our Sam, I mean Lazarus, back."
The Saga Continues ...
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