Posts Tagged ‘toastmaster speech contest’

Places in the Heart

Monday, March 19th, 2018

Blackie with her rabbit toy

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt in the heart.” Helen Keller

Let me tell you about my Black Lab dog, Blackie. She is much more than just a dog.

Blackie is my walking companion and she is my best friend.

When I come home from work Blackie runs circles around me like a toupee in a tornado! Wagging her tail with her favorite toy rabbit in her mouth. All the stress from my job melts away.

A few years ago, my mother was in a nursing home, shortly before she passed away. I would take Blackie to visit her. It revitalized her like a shot of adrenalin in the arm.

Blackie would put her head on my mom’s leg and wag her tail as my mom petted her head. My mom’s face glowed with serenity. Blackie was completely absorbed in her dog duty to provide companionship to my mom.

I learned a lot about compassion from Blackie. Compassion was not something she turned on and off like a water faucet. For her, it was a way of life.

The other day, Blackie and I began our usual morning walk around the neighborhood, a ritual that we had done a hundred times. We knew every step of the way. What could possibly go wrong?

Crazy Driver

As we approached the church, I heard a car revving its motor. Rrrrrrrrr.Rrrrrrrrrr.

Suddenly, a pickup truck barreled around the corner like a runaway freight train. We jumped back.

The driver stopped and yelled out the window, “Stay off the road, eh!” He must be Canadian.

I saw the hair on Blackie’s back rise up.

Blackie is a big and intimidating dog, but, on the inside she is a little tiny Chihuahua. She instinctively runs from danger, just like my wife instinctively runs when she sees a mouse.

I said to the driver, “Hey Speedy Gonzales? I have an idea. How about sharing the road with pedestrians, eh!”

The driver stared at Blackie. Blackie stared back. I tightened my grip on Blackie’s collar. Blackie appeared to be preparing to attack the driver, but I know she was actually planning to run away in the opposite direction.

Finally, the driver gave us the one finger salute and screeched away.

I looked at Blackie with appreciation. Even though she was no great guard dog, I felt safer when Blackie was with me.

Blackie and I continued our solitary trek with a little less spring in our step.

A few blocks later I saw someone walking two dogs. One was a big brown dog. The other was a short white dog with a long tail. My heart pounded with excitement.

Memories of Spot, My Childhood Pet

The white dog reminded me of Spot, the pet dog I had as a child. I have fond memories of Spot.

My parents did not like Spot in my room. Some nights I was terrified that somebody was hiding in my closet. I’d wake up my dad and say, “I heard something in my closet.”

Dad came in my room, opened the closet and looked around, a ritual he had done hundreds of times in the past.

“Nope. No one in there,” Dad said.

“But, I heard something.”


“Go … to … sleep.” “S-L-E-E-E-P” my dad said in a deep hypnotist voice while slowly waving his fingers.

My dad left the room.

My father’s attempt to put me to sleep with a hypnotic trance failed miserably. I had no alternative but to secretly let Spot into my room and sleep on my bed. I felt safer when Spot was with me, like I did with Blackie.

Blackie Remembers Mom

As Blackie and I got close to our house, an elderly lady walking a little poodle approached us going the opposite way. As soon as Blackie spotted the lady, her tail started furiously wagging. The lady had white hair and walked very slowly. Blackie thought it was my mom.

Blackie still carries my mother in her heart. As long as Blackie lives on this earth, a part of my mother will still be alive.

At the very core of her being, Blackie knows that the most beautiful things in the world are only felt in the heart.

If you own a dog, I challenge you. Treat her like the noble and kindhearted creation she is.

You will never find a more faithful friend.


Upcoming Pesentations:

April 14, 2018. “Publish or Perish.” Pen to Podium Toastmasters. Hardesty Center, 1100 S. Alvernon. Tucson, AZ, 9:00 am.

June 5, 2018. “How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds and Funny Bones.” Arizona Society for Professional Hypnosis. Scottsdale Senior Community Center,1700 North Granite Reef Road, Meeting Room 7, Scottsdale, AZ, 6:30 pm.

October 20, 2018. How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds and Funny BonesPrescott Valley Public Library (7401 E. Civic Circle), 1:00 – 2:00 pm. Prescott, AZ.



Amazon Link


Related Links

Like Abe Lincoln, Be Prepared with a “Quip” or a Bit of Humor

Emulate Abraham Lincoln: Make Each Day Count

The “Secret” Daily Affirmations of Abraham Lincoln

Always greet everyone, no matter what they look like

Employ an Affable Lincolnesque Persona

Be a Generous Listener, as Abe Lincoln Was

Deflect Criticism with Self-deprecating Humor

Always Say “Yes”

Be a Master of Disaster – Ponder the big picture