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Fleas, Skunks, and Blueberries

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Fleas! They’ve lived in our house before, and in spite of the temporary presence of a dog, we concluded my husband brought them home from his recent camping trip. He was infested; the dog was not.

So, I stripped sheets from beds, powdered the house with borax, and sprayed the dog with a mild vinegar and water wash. Three of the beds weren’t made yet, but we could take care of all that after the family gathering. There would be plenty of time when we got back with some grandkids who were staying overnight so we could pick blueberries the next day.

The plan was simple. I’d make the beds. Paul could walk the dog. Bedtime would be later than usual, but not unreasonable.

Then the plan changed.

“We have a problem,” Paul said when he returned from the walk. The dog had nosed his way into a bush and got a snout full of skunk spray.

The new plan meant the dog couldn’t come into the house yet. Paul headed to the store to buy tomato juice. I still had to finish making the beds, so I recruited the two oldest grandkids. “You two watch the dog, but don’t touch him.”

They sat on the creaky porch swing. The only light from stars and the corner streetlight.

I gathered old towels, a basin of soapy water, and a bucket for the tomato juice. By the time I finished the beds, Paul was back.

The younger grandkids were upstairs getting in some bonus video game time. Paul and the older two were outside washing the dog.

I stood in between, near a window on the stairway. Laughter arose from the driveway. It seemed as though nothing had gone right that day, yet all was right that could be. A sense of peace and gratitude ran through me.

I remembered another day that hadn’t gone quite right: we were at our church picnic and the dinner had been wonderful, and one of the grandkids convinced Grandpa Paul to go on the ride that went forward, backward, and sideways.

“Remember the time Grandpa threw up at the park?” (I had told them they would always remember that day.) “You’ll always remember this day too.”

After the dog dried off and settled down, one lone granddaughter was down the hall between pink sheets with a book and a light. Quiet there already. 

Later it was quiet upstairs. But only after the game was off, an argument over who was hogging the covers, and whispers of adventures and memories.

The next day we picked 22 pounds of blueberries! It took two vehicles to carry all the grandkids and us.

We stopped for ice cream after our work and Grandpa played tag with them in the playground. He did not throw up. But may we always remember anyway.

I will sing to the Lord, Because He has dealt bountifully with me. NASB

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About The Author


Nancy E. Head writes about accord among Christian denominations (traditionalist and evangelical) and ministry to those in need. Nancy was a single mother with five children under the age of 14 when she attended Penn State University to earn a bachelor’s degree in English and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and has a master’s degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She writes, teaches, crafts, and helps her husband lead a small group at their church devoted to ministering to the needy in their community. You can find Nancy’s blog at (Don’t forget the e!) She’s also on

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