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Chapter 31


Aside from watching sports, I also enjoy going to concerts, plays and musicals. For Star Wars Day on May the 4th, I’m going to hear the Greenville, South Carolina Symphony Orchestra perform the music from Episode IV: A New Hope. I also recently enjoyed a stage adaptation of Clue. You know the one. Miss Scarlet in the Library with the lead pipe. The production I am looking forward to the most, however,  is traveling to Charlotte in August to see The Lion King.

Even though this marks the third time I have seen The Lion King, the themes are timeless. That’s probably because the play is based almost plot point for plot point on Shakespeare’s masterpiece Hamlet. In preparation for seeing The Lion King again, I am relistening to Hamlet on audiobook. C.S. Lewis once said that the mark of a true classic is that you find something new every time you read it. That is certainly true of Hamlet. This time I was struck by a phrase in Act 3 Scene 1: What Dreams May Come.

Hamlet, who is also known as the Melancholy Dane, uses that phrase to contemplate what happens after death. That’s not in the Disney version. But you can also take the phrase, “What Dreams May Come” and apply it to the way you live your life.
We all have dreams. From the time we are young, we have goals and envision what our future may look like. Early in life, my dream was to become an archeologist or paleontologist. Is it any wonder why my favorite movies are Indiana Jones and Jurassic Park?

As I got a little older, my dreams changed. I wanted to go to Duke University, get a great education and go to all the basketball games to cheer on the Blue Devils. That did not happen as I chose to go to Gardner-Webb, but I still got a great education and I was able to sit in the student section in body paint and cheer for the Runnin’ Bulldogs.

I’m pretty sure my Chesapeake Bay retriever Gabe dreams, too. Whenever he is asleep, he is stretched out on his side. Sometimes his feet twitch and he lets out a muffled bark.  I think he is dreaming of chasing a squirrel, deer or my cat Peaches, but I can’t be sure. Maybe he is even dreaming of retrieving ducks, just like Chessies were bred to do.

Gabe is far from the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, however. The majority of his brothers and sisters went to be hunting dogs in Eastern North Carolina, Florida and even Louisiana. He is close to a duck but he knows not to bother my pet Pekin duck Corona. I sometimes wonder if I did a disservice to Gabe by not letting him go to an owner that would have used him for a hunting dog. I could have chosen another breed more suitable to be just a pet, like a Lab or even a giant poodle.

Then I see how much Gabe enjoys life on the farm, exploring our acres with his nose to the ground. He will occasionally flush out some birds and while they are not ducks, Gabe seems pretty pleased with himself. Plus, if Gabe went to another owner, he most likely would not be enjoying Arin’s Good Girl Dog Treats.

Like Gabe, my life hasn’t turned out exactly like I dreamed it would. I’m not married and  I don’t live in a big city working for a metropolitan newspaper covering a professional ball club every night. But I am living another dream, living in a small town, working for a community newspaper and telling the stories of the people and places I grew up with. I get to travel just enough to scratch that itch even though I still have a long list of places and adventures to mark off of my bucket list. All in all, for someone with a disability, I am living a pretty good life and I am thankful for it.

As for what dreams may come, I have hopes for the future. I love Chessies so much that my goal is to one day get another one to pair up with Gabe. Professionally, I want to try my hand at other types of writing, maybe publish a book or write for a sitcom or late show. Those dreams may or may not come true. If not, I’m sure they will evolve into new dreams. For now, Gabe and I are just going to take one adventure at a time, enjoying life and Arin’s Good Girl Dog Treats (Gabe) along the way.

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