The house that Jeanne rented didn’t have any grass in the yard. It was all hardscape. This might not have become a problem if she hadn’t inherited that beautiful white and tan Greyhound named Maggie May. Maggie had a tan diamond on her forehead, and was as beautiful a dog as I’d ever known.
Maggie just wanted to run ~ and run fast, but the concrete was making her lame. This majestic animal needed her freedom. She needed a place where she could race about in her ‘figure 8′ fashion, and bake in the sun on a bed of grass. And remember what I just happened to have…
Maggie May and her little brother “Archie,” the mini Schnauzer, came to stay with me at my house. Though it was difficult for Jeanne and the kids to be without them, they knew it was best for their four legged loved ones. Suddenly I had a reason to be home at a decent hour, and when I arrived each night they let me know that I was right where I belonged. The tail waggin’ joy these two dogs expressed was the same joy that I was feeling.
Jeanne, Kelsey & Dalton began coming to my house on the weekends. Those were the best weekends. The house I’d purchased a couple of years earlier (as a bachelor) had 4 bedrooms. It was obvious that the kids were comfortable and happy. As we enjoyed more wonderful weekends together, all of us found that Sundays were difficult. It was clear that none of us wanted to say ‘so long.’
It was a Friday in April and Jeanne & the kids arrived at the house around 4 o’clock in the afternoon. To everyone’s surprise, I arrived shortly after. I asked Jeanne if she wanted to walk the dogs around the golf course up the road. So she did a ‘quick change’ into her favorite 12 year old sweatshirt, her “60 mile Breast Cancer Walk” sneakers, her LPGA visor (the one with a little sweat stain across the brim,) and we were on our way.
Maggie May and Archie led the way as we walked the path between the 12th & 13th holes. We approached the top of the hill and I told Jeanne that I wanted to veer to the left for a moment…toward the gazebo.
There is a simple, beautiful, white gazebo perched on top of the hill at Encinitas Ranch with an ocean view that could stop your heart. The sun was closing in on the water. I took the leashes and anchored them to the gazebo post.
Jeanne watched me, obviously wondering why we were abbreviating our exercise at this early stage. She hadn’t noticed the small ‘bottle size’ backpack I’d slung over my shoulder when we’d left the car. I pulled out an opener and popped the cork on a nice Chardonnay. As I raised a glass to toast my beautiful girl, I got down on one knee…