Have a dressed up day!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Louisiana's Best Kept Secret

At first we really didn't think anything about it. All children love animals, do they not?

It's been since she was very young, but I'm not exactly sure how old she was when I first realized how deeply her heart is connected to God's fifth and sixth day creatures.

 It was after the love of rocks.  There were buckets of them spilling over, weighing heavy and always on the floor.  Patience wore thin the day I put handfuls in the garbage.  She was barely four.  She'd never know.

And then she began to look for her rocks.  The rock that looked like the fish was missing.  Mommy, 'ou see me ittle wock that ooks ike . . .

and then another . . .

and then another. 

Big round innocent trusting eyes holding up chubby fingers to show me size. 

I swallowed hard each time and gave her my sympathy and helped her look and

lied.

It was after her love of pink and all things pink.  After the Polly Pockets had been packed up and the stuffed animals began to stay on their shelves.

After Jay Jay the Jet Plane and Bibleman and Squinkies.

But I knew before the day the small dog wandered into our yard and she convinced me to keep him for a few days.  Signs were put up and no one claimed him.  He was healthy and well cared for and I made the mistake of convincing her to let him go. 

He'll find his way home, Izzy.  If not, he'll come back here and we'll do something else.

He ran straight out of her arms and into the street.  Right in front of a car.  I heard the scream and wiped tears for what seemed liked forever and I thought of the rocks I had thrown away and wondered if she would think I had thrown this dog away.

She doesn't.

Over the last couple of years it has become apparent that it is more than a passing phase.

Her brain reads like an encyclopedia of animal knowledge.  

And her heart . . .
is like shelter.

It makes room and houses and cares and is safe refuge for all animals big and small.

We knew we were going the night before, but waited until morning to share - just the trip, not the location

Surprises are as fun on the giving end as the receiving end -
don't you think?

It's Louisiana's best kept secret.  An hour east of Baton Rouge and an hour north of New Orleans.  Ten curving miles out in the boondocks down Highway 445 to 40 East.  Past old barns.  Past century old homes falling down around their stories of love and laughter.  He thinks they need to be torn down.  I know they just need life breathed back into them.

Then there it is, one and a half miles on the left.  Right before the sign telling you children are welcome at the Ole Post Office Pizza and Daiquiri.


It hides in the middle of nowhere.
 

They look like they are coming, two by two. 
 And then some.



And they are everywhere.










She didn't speak at first.  I thought maybe I was wrong and this was not such a big deal.

It's not Africa, baby.  Maybe not a real safari.  But we can pretend, can't we?

She didn't say a word.  We drove down the curving dirt path to our waiting jeep.

Then she rolled down her window and breathed deep and there it was.  That big beautiful smile. 

Daddy, I didn't know there was a place like this here.

Yeah - he always gets the credit.  He doesn't throw away rocks or kill dogs.




 Some surprises are better on the giving end,

don't you think?




























I confessed a couple of years ago about the rocks. 

Thought she'd think it was funny.

She didn't.

2 comments:

Greg and Donna said...

Oh my goodness, Amy would LOVE this. I have got to tell Greg! Beautiful pictures and you made lots of memories here! Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Wow! Such wonderful pictures! Such beautiful smiles! She does have a heart for the animals...that's why she likes coming to my house! We might need to take a school field trip really soon!

Sandra

Drawing of me losing my cool courtesy of budding artist, Izzy.


Have a dressed up day!


. . . put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Colossians 3:12