November 07, 2008

From an e-mail sent me - T

A man and dog were walking along a road when he suddenly understood that he had died. He remembered dying, and that the dog walking beside him had been dead for years. He wondered where the road was leading them.

After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight, with a magnificent gate that looked like mother-of-pearl, and the road that led up to the gate looked like pure gold. He and the dog walked toward the gate. As they got closer, he saw a man at a desk, so the traveller called out, "Excuse me, where are we?"

"This is heaven, sir," answered the man at the desk.

The traveller nodded. "Would you happen to have some water?"

"Of course, sir. Come right in, and I will have some ice water brought right up." The man gestured, and the gate began to open.

Caressing the dog behind the ears, "Can my friend come in too?"

"I am sorry, sir, but we don't accept pets."

The man thought for a moment, and then turned back to the road and continued the way he had been walking with his dog. After a long time, at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence. As they got closer, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book, so the traveller called out, "Excuse me, do you have any water?"

"Sure, there is a pump right over there. Come on in."

"What about my friend?"

"There should be a bowl by the pump."

They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it. The traveller filled the water bowl and then took a long drink himself. When their thirst had been slaked, the two of them walked together back toward the man who was standing by the tree. "What do you call this place?" he asked.

"This is heaven."

"Well, that is confusing," said the traveller. "The man down the road said that was heaven, too."

"Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope. That's hell."

"Doesn't it make you mad for them to use your name like that?"

"No. We are just happy that they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind."

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