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  • Writer's pictureShannon Sutherland

Frankie at the Fork in the Road

Frankie the beloved sheepadoodle often runs off ahead of me joyful and enthusiastic. But at every crossroads, she sits and waits for me to point. That is all I do. The slightest gesture. This way. No, that way. Then she is off full speed.

This morning at the park I met a man at the first crossroads. He said, "Miss, if you go east, there are four coyotes at the bottom of the hill."

But east is the way I wanted to go. My planned route. I knew the sunrise would be gorgeous going that way, and if you have known me 10 seconds, you know I'm obsessed with sunrises and sunsets. I looked at Frankie. I would be fine. But she depends on me and she could get hurt.

I went west.

At the next crossroads I met another older man walking alone. Norm. As Frankie was sitting awaiting her directions, the man stopped and asked to give her a treat. He had a big, beautiful white beard. A Harley guy and former pilot. We ended up chatting for a good long time talking about everything from dog movies and divorce to death and romance.

He was fascinating and one of the most intent listeners I have ever encountered. And Frankie adored him. Occasionally through our time talking, he would reach into his pocket and pull out a treat.

When we finally parted ways, he leaned down and said, "I love you, Frankie. You are a good girl. I'm happy I met you. And I'm happy I met your mom. She is a good woman. I can tell."

As I myself am at a crossroads in so many ways in my professional life, personal life, family life, I need to pay better attention to the people placed in my path to encourage and direct me.

If I had gone my own way instead of listening, I could have not only put us at risk, but I would have missed all that wisdom and encouragement as well as some thought-provoking questions that he posed to me about my life and choices. And Frankie would have missed out on some tasty treats.

All this Covid stuff sucks. But life is still beautiful. And more than sunrises and sunsets, people are beautiful.

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