we moved to spring hill, tn in june of ’08. we knew no one on our street. one of the first families we met were the martins. wonderfully angelic people. actually they may be angels in disguise…. matt, kayse, rachael, emma-kate, and sara. the conversation kinda went like this, “it’s so nice to meet you…. yeah… uh huh… YOU HAVE A BASSET HOUND? i must meet him!” matt and kayse had a 12 year old basset hound named rocket. kayse took me right over to meet him. he was quite big, elderly and smelled like corn chips and old socks. he was resting on his personal love seat. i immediately loved him. kayse began to tell me stories about when rocket was young. they would take him camping in north carolina. he would run, and run, and howl all through the mountains. he loved it.
well that hound made a friend that day. my family fell in love with rocket. hudson would just lay on top of him when we went to visit. mabel would come home smelling like him every time she went over. and i would always look deep into those wise eyes and have great talks with him. our kids knew that he was very old so he was covered in prayer every night at the lowery house.
2 years later we got a phone call from kayse. we were keeping their girls so they could take rocket to the vet. “rocket isn’t doing well. they don’t think there is anything else they can do to help him.” and then she says, “matt and i want hudson to come see him one last time before he has to go.” tears. tears pouring out of our eyes. whew. so kayse stops by to get the girls. i ask her if it would be alright if i bring my guitar over and sing a couple of songs to rocket before he goes. she bit her lip and said “okay”.
what you are about to read is a moment that i will never forget.
jessebeth, hudson, mabel and i walked over to the martin’s house. guitar in hand. we walked in and kayse was washing dishes. their girls were a little teary eyed, but they were doing ok. i gathered all of the kids around rocket. hudson was basically laying on top of rocket. rocket was in his love seat. emma-kate, who was 7 at this point, tells us “rocket is gonna go to heaven today.” our kids were shocked to hear it, but i explained to them how lucky he is to get to go to heaven. i started singing “he’s got the whole world in his hands” and the kids started singing “he’s got the big ol’ rocket in his hands.”
kayse was still washing dishes. i decided to sing james taylor’s “you’ve got a friend” to rocket. he looked me right in the eyes the entire song. i made it through the song and felt like it was time for us to go, but then kayse says “jacob, would you sing ‘gone to carolina’ for rocket?” she wanted him to think of those times he ran carefree through those mountains. i didn’t hesitate. kayse was harmonizing with me, but she bailed out by the first verse. i fought off tears through the 2nd chorus, but i did get to the end.
“and i’m gone to carolina- in- my mind… say nice things about me- ’cause i’m gone..”
that was the day that i got to sing a beautiful 14 year old hound into heaven.