Collie: (n) a sheepdog of a breed originating in Scotland

I was eleven years old before I realized they were not supposed to stink.

I’m talking about dogs.

Up to that point, I knew one dog–and this dog stunk. Ironically, her name was “Queenie.” Any pomp and circumstance associated with that name were purely accidental. She stunk. I could tell very time I drew near.

And near I drew.

Queenie was my Grandpa George’s animal. She was his favorite beast, person and thing.

Queenie felt great security in her job, and so pursued no personal hygiene. Half the day she wandered through the woods, living the life of a wild dog, to come
home to the little A-frame house as night was falling, to spend time with my grandpa.

I had jobs to do with Queenie. I kept praying that my grandpa would get old enough that he would become forgetful, and therefore fail to remember to ask me to do the job.

It was a two-parter.

Because Queenie was a collie, she had long fur which might have been lovely had it not been matted with dirt and grime, and filled with little stickers (which my grandpa referred to as “nettles”).

Grandpa wanted me to sit there during the visit, with Queenie’s snout lying in my lap, stinking up the room, and remove these little thistles from her fur. That was the first part.

The second part was that Queenie was a wild-type dog, and did not know how to get all the poop out of her butt with each bowel movement. So dangling from her backside were little sprinkles of dried turds, which Grandpa allowed me to remove by snipping them off with a small pair of scissors.

I will give Queenie one kudo: she never objected to any of the processes. Matter of fact, it reached a point that whenever I came into the room, she came over and laid her head on my knee, awaiting the treatment.

She smelled like everything bad that no one should ever inhale.

Her nettles always yanked out little pieces of hair, and the clippings from the back end–well, fortunately, time has healed me of the vision (as long as I don’t talk about it).

That is my experience with a collie. So you can see why, under no circumstances whatsoever, could I enjoy watching “Lassie.”


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Bedraggled: (adj) dirty and disheveled.Dictionary B

I know it may sound weird, but I was thinking about the word “ministry.”

It led me to the word “minister.”

In every facet of our society, we have prerequisites–demands for people who are allowed to cross through the front door and be included.

In politics, you have to be political, personable and part of a party.

In entertainment, you should arrive with good looks and talent.

In business, you need a plan, financing and an approach.

In college, it’s a good idea to arrive with a history of good grades and a scholarship.

Even when you’re cashing a check, you need proof that you exist and that you are who you say you are.

But sometimes, in each and every one of our lives, those pillars of proof and attributes of acceptability disappear. We hit bottom, and for some inexplicable reason, grab a shovel and start digging ourselves deeper.

  • We are not passable.
  • We don’t fit in.
  • We are at our worst.
  • We are not pleasing.
  • We are bedraggled.

We have ceased to register on the scope of reasonable human appearance and behavior.

That’s when we need a minister.

That’s when we need ministry.

So if those who are called to serve others and minister have a laundry list of requirements for the bedraggled souls who come their way, then we generate a Bowery of lost souls who have no place to go.

If dirty people have to get clean to be pure enough to remove the specks of grime that cling, then there is no hope for our race.

Somewhere there has to be a place, a person, an idea or a gospel which takes those who have sullied their opportunities, treats them as the human beings they were intended to be, and patiently guides them to a personal discovery and cleansing.

Is there such a place?

Is there a ministry?

Is there anyone who really still believes “whosoever will may come?”


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