I was sprawled out on the ground.  I felt the wet grass of the pasture soaking my pajamas.  I could smell a pile of fresh horse manure nearby.  I blinked my eyes as the raindrops pelleted my face.  Charlie was standing over me looking guilty and repentant.  How did I not see that coming?  He must have watched A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving with our children at some point.  Clearly, he knew what happened to Charlie Brown when Lucy pulled the football away.  Charles Schulz, the founder of the Peanuts comic, once explained why Charlie Brown never got to kick that football, “You can’t create humor out of happiness.”  Well, I certainly wasn’t happy lying in that muddy pasture with Charlie looking down on me.   So, this better make you laugh.  Charlie had sidestepped just in time so my kick didn’t make contact with him.  I had lost my balance.  Thud.  Just like Charlie Brown.  The “Lucy” in this story is a Great Pyrenees dog named Charlie.  He was a rescue that we were trying to rehabilitate.  He had been abandoned and left to roam and survive on his own in a rural Texas town.  Sadly, our patience with him was wearing thin because he was killing and eating a chicken every few months.  Each time he seemed to understand his wrongdoing and his sheepish eyes convinced me that he’d never do it again.  Yet, it went on.  The first chicken he ate, leaving only feathers behind, was named “Fence.”  Yes, you know, the one our four-year-old would play hide-n-seek with for hours.  The heartache of telling her what happened to Fence was still fresh in my mind that day.  I will always remember her carefully voicing each word, one at a time, as she caught her breath between her cries.  “Not (sniffle) Fence (sniffle), she (sniffle) was (sniffle) my (sniffle) best (sniffle), best (sniffle) friend (weep).”  That day, out of the corner of my eye and through a back window, I spotted Charlie in the pasture with yet another chicken in his mouth.  Without hesitation, I sprinted out the door, still in my pajamas, into the pouring rain and through the pasture gate full speed toward the dog.  He saw me coming.  He immediately dropped the chicken (it’s still alive!) as I planted my foot on the ground and swung the back leg toward him.  He moved just one step to the left and I missed him completely. I don’t remember the last time I fell that hard on the ground.  As the dust settled and I sat up, I glanced over making eye contact with the stunned chicken.  I know that at least one time in my life I thought the same thing as a chicken.  “Did that really just happen?”

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