There is an amazing, barely perceptible place in the universe known affectionately as the “Dane hole.” I hadn’t realized we were traipsing into “Dane hole” territory when I hopped into the car and drove to Southern Missouri on Saturday, March 18, 2006. I thought I was headed to pick up a sweet, sensitive girl who would someday take the place of my boy, Coffee. I thought I was retrieving a girl who needed some extra TLC and a special place to settle into. I thought I was bringing home a girl who needed us more than we needed her.
How wrong I was. What I picked up was a whole new episode; a whole new experience; a whole new way of living. As it turns out, the fawn-colored girl I picked up has evolved into an ornery, entitled, delightful, jubilant celebration of life.
She reminds me of my grandmothers, not just because of her excessive, unannounced flatulence, but also because of her enthusiastic embrace of the mundane as she tosses a disemboweled fleece toy into the air in the living room; because of her unbridled joy in executing a perfect lope across the front yard; and because of her spunky, oblivious spring back into action when the lope ends in a tumble. She is completely unaware of her limitations. The fact that her walk resembles the crazy dance of a front-wheel drive pickup truck with bald tires driving on a frozen pond is completely lost on her. She is Mercy. You may worship her now. When I retrieved Mercy, I was advised by the Grande Dame d’Dane Rescue that we could select a different name for the peculiar fawn-colored girl I picked up that day. But each time one of us, bearing witness to a new variety of sit-and-spin, exclaims, “Oh, Mercy!” I am reminded of the absolute perfectness of her name. It features two of my favorite rhetorical tools: entendre and irony. Which pretty much sums up life with Mercy.