The Harlan Chronicles 6


The Grand-Dog
Dad was born during The Great Depression, raised in a rural community and like many of his contemporaries, experienced hardships that many of us would find difficult to imagine. He had a great love for animals and his compassion for the sick, injured or helpless was admirable. That being said, when confronted with a sick, injured or helpless animal, it was not uncommon to hear him say “the poor thing needs to be put down – get him out of his misery.” Granted, that statement is hard to take for our generation as we have the resources for veterinary care and medicines so, I always cut him slack when he would say such things as I understood where he was coming from.

It was in November of 1997 and I was getting married. I sold my house and would soon be moving into the future "Mr. Something's" place with his three teen-aged sons.

Dad had arrived from Canada, thrilled that his forty-year-old daughter was finally “going to have someone to take care of her”. As if.

It was during the few weeks prior to the wedding, that Dad was able to bond with the new and improved (post Betsy) Harlan.

It was the morning before Doug and I were to be married. Over coffee, Dad asked me if we could have “a talk”.

How sweet. A woman of my age, getting fatherly advice about marriage.

He began, ”So, will Harlan be moving in with you and Doug after you get married?” “Sure” I responded.

Looking very uncomfortable and searching for the right words, he said “Joanie, I am thinking that Harlan might not be very happy at Doug’s house. He’s not quite right and Doug's yard is not as big and there are three boys that he’s not used to.”

I really didn’t get what he was driving at until I recognized the tone in his voice and the look in his eyes - then it hit me. “Dad! You don’t mean we should put him down do you?” Did he think our marriage was doomed with Harlan as part of our new family?

“Oh no, no, no, I was just thinking about Harlan.” he said.


Part 7 Harlan's New Home

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