Friday, March 17, 2006

Chance (a story you won't forget!!) ENJOY!!

COME ON: Go ahead!!  READ this one!!  You won't forget it!           
I know you will like it!
Love ya,
by Gayle Hoover Thorne

      Some time ago I was driving home and stopped at a funky little
shop.  On my way out, I noticed a pedal bicycle with a child trailer
attached to it.
      A man was leaving the store at the same time and I asked him if it was his bike.  He told me it was.
      "And who do you cart around in the trailer?" I asked.
      "My dog, Chance," he answered.
      Thus began quite a story.
      I found out his name was Roger Ringkamp.  He was the victim of severe burns over 45% of his body some 14 years prior.  At the time, he was working 16 hour days, six days a week, and he had put
something on to cook and fell asleep.  His whole two-story home
burned down around him.
      His two dogs had tried in vain to move him.  His leather boots
and jeans were torn in their effort to rescue him and take him to
safety.  Finally, they crouched beside him to protect his belly and
chest areas. They died in the process.  The rescuers said that the
dogs were not stuck to his body, but stayed there out of loyalty.  He was saved by their sacrifice.
       Roger's hands and face and back were burned badly. His poor
hands were burned so badly that much of their functions were lost.
His fingers were misshapen and looked more like claws.  He seemed to do things more with the palms of his hands instead of using his
      Well, our whole conversation started over the dog he now carts
around with him.  The dog's name is Chance, because Roger (as Roger explained) was God's only chance to save the dog when she was a pup.
      One day he'd been driving and saw a mother dog had been hit.  So knowing that puppies were at stake, he back-tracked to find her.
      "I'm half Cherokee and half German," he said, "and I spend my life back-tracking."  It took him two days, but he found the mother, covered by her puppies who tried to keep her warm as it was winter.
      Of the four pups, only one was alive.  He took that tiny pup and nursed it to adulthood.  His relationship with that dog, and the
dog's relationship with him, is tight, to say the least.  He said he
bathes Chance every three days even though it hurts his hands to do so.
      Roger said that when he needs something, he prays about it and it just seems to come.  For example, he asked a man he knew, "You
know my dog with little, short legs?  Well, she can't keep up with me on my bike.  I need a trailer to have her come along with me, because if my dog can't come too, I'll get rid of the bike."
      The man went away and came back later saying he just happened to have a child bike trailer in his backyard and Roger could have it. Roger said he didn't want to take it away from the man's children and the man said, "You'll notice that I have a car.  I don't have to pedal the car.  And I'm lazy and I see that you're not.  Money doesn't seem to mean anything to you, so it shouldn't mean anything to me.  Take the trailer."  Roger was grateful beyond belief.
      For two and a half years before this, Roger and Chance were
homeless.  There was a time when he couldn't get any food for either one of them.  It had been three days since they'd eaten and he didn't have anything to give the dog, much less himself.
      He told the dog to go and get something to eat.  He had to yell
at Chance to get her to leave him.  Finally, she did and Roger cried
and cried.
      After some time passed, Chance returned, coming over the hill
with a rabbit in her mouth.  She had gotten food for the two of them. Roger cooked the rabbit and gave Chance half and ate the other half himself.
      Eventually Roger's plight became known to the authorities and
they asked him to speak of his challenges.  He was in the newspaper and folks came to his aid.
      He believes that he is alive today to remind people to count
their blessings.
      I pulled out one of my personal business cards as we were
parting company and reached out with one of his poor mangled hands.  I told him I didn't want to hurt him and he said I wouldn't.
      Then we shook hands and then he came to me and we hugged.  It was some meeting, for sure.
      He mounted his bike and took off in a burst of energy.  I
watched him go until he was out of sight.

        -- Gayle Hoover Thorne  <jamarz @>


nanmm11 said...

puts things in perspective and we all need that from time to time.  thanks

valphish said...

Hi Merry =)!  I found your journal!  Wow, this story is incredible.  Makes me love my two kitty cats a bit more today.  Thanks for sharing this.  Have a lovely day, honey.  I will be emailing you. xox