The chimney cleaner arrived about 8:15 a week ago today, right in the
middle of our family scramble getting school lunch together and our
daughter out the door for the bus on the coldest day of the year. We
were looking for gloves, coats, hats and the dogs were
everywhere underfoot.

In comes the chimney sweep with his tarp, soot
already decorating his arms from the previous house. He is grinning ear
to ear while I am looking for my second cup of coffee because
it feels like the first never kicked in.

He reaches out his hand and gives me a hearty shake, “When was the last
time you had it cleaned?” I mumble something about it being a few
years, knowing I should do it annually.  After taking a quick look
he says, “Sure is dirty!” My wife walks in and then he blurts out, “You
have been burning a lot of wood here – really turning up the romantic
heat, eh?” followed by a big, wide smile. “Gotta love a good fire on a
cold night!” Wink!

With that one comment, he shifted our day. After he left, we turned to
each other – “How does someone get that
happy cleaning soot?” We still laugh when we
talk about him. We liked his comment about romance.

Today I was in the grocery store and the cashier, a little, wiry woman,
says to the 30-something lady in front of me, “Hi there, sweetheart.
How are you today? Don’t you look beautiful?” Smiles everywhere. When
it’s my turn I get a “Hi honey!” and then she starts talking to me
about angels:

“You know there was a
woman here yesterday who didn’t have enough money
to pay for her groceries. She tells me to put everything aside and hold
onto it while she goes and looks for some lower priced items to
exchange. After she leaves the woman behind her says, ‘I’m going to pay
for her groceries and leave. Here, put it on my card’ Then she pays for
everything and goes out the door. Now that’s an

I say to the grocery clerk, “You are my angel every time I come in
here! You always make me smile.” We high five and I walk out. When I am
approaching the car my wife says, “How can you get so happy buying
paper towels?”

I subscribe the German Shepherd Dog Community on Facebook. Today
posts from Kentucky,  “A real heartbreaker. This dog’s master died
and there were no plans for him, an older male. He is at the
kill shelter. We can’t really tell what his personality is like because
is so sad and withdrawn. His best friend is gone.” And there are
pictures of this dog tied to a wall with the saddest face you can
imagine staring at the floor.

A few comments down I see a post,
“We are in Ohio. We can get to Kentucky.”
And the real conversation begins:
“He’s in a kill shelter. He’s on the short list. No one adopts an older
“We can be there tomorrow. We will email the shelter now – can you get
us their email address?”
“Here it is”
“We have a note in now. We got him. We have a nice home for him here in
Ohio. We will be there tomorrow.”

The German Shepherd Dog Community really pulls together. People who
have never
met each other, sharing pictures of pets, naming each other’s puppies,
whipping into action to help each other and German Shepherds in need
across the land.

Do you see the angels? They are everywhere.

The oak sleeps in the acorn, the bird
waits in the egg, and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel

James Allen