Jim and Roxie (copy) (copy) (copy) (copy)

The Rev. Dr. Jim Watkins and Roxie

“Well Roxie, we weathered the storm.”

“That we did and will you please stop with the puns!”

“Okay, I’m sorry. You know, what I just said reminds me of an unexpected gift Mary and I were given during the storm. For the fourth time in as many years we found ourselves chased out of our home by a hurricane. We had just returned from a visit to Decatur when we turned around and went back.”

“That doesn’t sound like a gift. That’s a lot of driving.”

“You’ve got that right. But it gave us more time with our grandkids. Remember, the only thing in life not overrated is being a grandparent. There is a sort of ritual we participate in when we are in Decatur. We have the grandkids over for supper. After supper. I’ll ask, what time is it? The response; ‘It’s Pajama Time!’ The kids bring their pajamas. They shower, put on their pjs and brush their teeth. Then they choose two or three books for me to read with them. We have a supply of books, some date back to when their parents were children. Several books feature a character, Dora the Explorer. Dora and her sidekick Boots have adventures all over the world.”

“is this going somewhere? Our happy hour beer is getting warm. You know how I hate warm chocolate stout. I may have to put some ice cubes in my dish.”

“Bear with me or beer with me.” “There you go again! Stop it!.” “Okay, again I’m sorry. One of the books chosen was, DORA’S BOOK OF MANNERS. It was a great choice. That afternoon we had taken all four grandkids on an outing. During the outing there was, fueled by sibling rivalry, a decided lack of manners.”

“In Dora’s story, the presenting situation involved someone who had made a mistake and needed to apologize for it. The book investigated the importance of saying, I’m sorry, along with other mannerly words like please and thank you.”

“I’m still waiting for the tie in here. We have just seen a hurricane rip though an island community leaving death and destruction in its wake. It’s a sad situation that calls out to all of us to help. In times like this, I know humans have helping organizations.” “Yep, there are non profits like the Red Cross and each faith group has a channel to send aid. Ours is Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. Government entities like USAID (United States Aid for International Development) are gearing up. One of the young men who was in my congregation’s youth group way back when works for that agency. As Fred Rogers used to say, ‘look for the helpers’.”

“I agree with all that and I hope our readers will be generous and donate to help out but get to the point. What does saying I’m sorry have to do....? Whoa, wait a minute. I know where all this is heading. The other day I shared with you an addition to my list of strange things that humans do. You are not talking about a weather map are you? “

“You are a wise animal. I couldn’t believe that our nation’s attention was diverted away from the destruction of Hurricane Dorian by what appeared to be a simple mistake with a pen on a weather map.”

“Jim, I agree. Whether or not the human who was at the center of that controversy was right or wrong wasn’t the issue. All involved could have said, we are sorry for taking time and energy to deal with how a map got altered. Our attention should be on helping the victims of the storm. There is a saying in the canine community. When poop happens, say you are sorry, pick it up and keep moving. Of course we need a little help from humans picking it up.”

“Roxie I think it’s time for happy hour. Here are some ice cubes.”

The Rev. Dr. Jim Watkins and Roxie live in Pawleys Island. His column is published twice monthly.