Near the conclusion of the hunt, my young Brittany dog, Gus, stopped in a statuesque pose. I was a bit shocked. For several hunts he had seemed to be almost disinterested in finding quail. He paid little attention and periodically sat down and watched from afar. I never said it out loud, but often thought, “This dog won’t hunt.” A bird dog who won’t hunt is like a preacher who can’t preach. Very few positive results will occur. I imagined keeping Gus as a pet and lobbying Nancy for another bird dog. I did not see that going well. No backyard could survive the antics of two Brittany dogs. So, when I saw Gus “locked down” across the fence, I crawled over for a closer look. He never moved. After posing for Kendall to take a picture of the first official point, I moved in and a covey flushed. We added to our bird total for the morning. Later, while heading back to the truck, I noticed that Gus was not with us. I looked back and noticed him “locked up” beside a small bush. We returned, took another picture, and then kicked up another bird. I did not miss. During the ride home I could not keep the smile off my face. The light had come on, and Gus understood the purpose for which he was created. I was following in the steps of my daddy, even though he always owned pointers. I wished I could call him and tell him about the breakthrough. I would not be able to do so. The following Tuesday marked the eighth anniversary of Daddy’s death. I have been at peace with his passing for a long time. I realize that he is with Christ, which is better by far. He is not hurting, and he is not missing me. But there are times - like when I am easing up behind a dog on point - that I still miss him an awful lot. He used to tell me, “You never really get over losing your daddy.” How right he was. This Christmas, as you enjoy the life God is giving you, it is OK to miss some of the people who no longer occupy a place at the table. Eternal hope is God’s gift to us. So are precious memories.

Merry Christmas,