Proverbs 16:9: “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.”
Carl lay on his bed with his eyes open and stared at each move we were making. He could feel the excitement of a vacation in the air. With the open suitcase on the bench, Carl was not going to leave it up to chance that he would be coming with us. Once we were up and moving the luggage to the truck, the little dog started showing signs of anxiety.
Would Carl come with us or would he spend the week at a doggy resort? He didn’t know and it was driving him crazy…..
Once the car was packed, Carl heard the words he was dying to hear. “Come on, Carl, jump in the truck.” Leaving his sister Bee behind, we headed down the road. (Bee is using her talents as a therapy dog this week to make two people very happy. She loves the people that she is staying with. )
So we headed down I-40 to the town of Leland where we were going to meet my daughter and her family. After two hours of sleeping contently in the back seat, we arrived to a fresh bowl of dog food and into the loving arms of my granddaughter, Ellie.
After a trip to Walmart and a quick lunch of barbeque that we picked up from a fund raiser to help a firefighter who lost his home and wife to a fire, we headed south to Myrtle Beach. What we thought would only take us an hour to get to our destination, ended up taking three.
I am not sure if you have ever been to Myrtle Beach on a Saturday afternoon, and particularly to a huge campground like Ocean Lakes, but if you have, you will know that the traffic is CRAZY. It is a waiting game. Waiting to get to the entrance and at least forty-five minutes of waiting to get the pass to allow us into our destination.
After getting our pass, we thought we were home free but after a wrong turn, an easy drive turned into a maze of houses that seemed to always turn into a dead end. The map that they gave us didn’t help matters. With eyes that are growing old, it was impossible to find the unit number in the hundreds of numbers that spread across a small space. This is when our patience with each other was cut very thin and our appreciation for our four legged friend was amplified.
Not once did Carl complain or roll his eyes. He was just content to be with the humans that he loves. All he did was plaster his face up against the window in anticipation of his vacation home. Thankfully after a couple of agonizing minutes the cottage was located and Carl was super excited to jump out of the truck.
We were blessed to have a place so close to the beach and it only took a couple of minutes to be on the wide open beach with the sea air swirling all around us. I had to hold Carl back from getting in the water. His only desire seemed to get his little paws in the water and pick up the seaweed that floated on top of the waves.
Even though we arrived late, no moment was lost until late until the night. My husband took Carl for his last walk around 9:30. What he described when he returned sounded like something out of the movies.
If you have ever been to a campground like Ocean Lakes, you know that the mode of transportation is a golf cart. So during the late evening hours, everyone gets in their ride and cruises down the main strip that parallels the ocean front.
The next day were filled with new smells and places to explore. Carl loved being around so many people and getting so much attention. Some friends of my daughters came over for dinner the next evening. One of the little girls has very limited sight but instantly gravitated towards Carl. She immediately got on the floor and started stroking his coat. And the amazing thing was that he accepted all of the hands on attention without any signs of stress. It was like he could sense that this young girl was special and that they were giving to each other.
As soon as the friends left to go back to their RV, we all climbed up into the golf cart and made our way to the main strip. And what we saw was hard to believe. For as far as the eye could see, golf carts were lined in both direction moving at a slow speed. Carl was seated in the back seat on my husband’s lap.
Every cart we passed, my five year old grandson put out his hand and someone from the other line would give it a warm slap or even a piece of candy. For the next thirty minutes, we moved slowly to the other side of the campground. It had now grown dark and it was tricky to maneuver the cart forward due to the tight squeeze between the vehicles.
Carl did a wonderful job of sitting while we went down the parade route. He sat as still as he could and even held out his paw to the people coming in the opposite direction. And then it happened. The cart jolted to a stop and Carl tumbled off the seat and into the path of an oncoming cart.
The look of sheer terror by the woman in the cart behind us told the story. Was our little dog hurt? Had this fun adventure turned into a nightmare?