Quincy Sullivan sat on his porch in Turner, Montana, not far from the Canadian border; his dog, Jasper faithfully sat by his side. It was a clear night, and Quincy gazed up at the field of twinkling lights dancing in the sky above.
“Isn’t this amazing Jasper?” Quincy asked his dog. “I can’t imagine ever living in a busy city again. It is so peaceful here and the view is spectacular. I only wish I would have done this years ago.” Jasper looked up at Quincy with a look as if to say “I understand and I agree.”
Most of Quincy’s nights were spent the same way. He took great pride in this ranch house that he had purchased less than a year ago. Before moving, he had lived in a 2-bedroom apartment in the downtown section of Dallas, Texas where the stars were impossible to see beyond the high-rise buildings and street lights. Quincy worked as an accountant for an oil company based out of Dallas and he made good money at it, but he was never happy. The city was too busy for him and he decided to find a place in the country. After months of searching, his real estate agent told him of a ranch house in Montana on 10 acres that he could get for a bargain, so he decided to put in his resignation and moved. Once he had settled, Quincy started up his own accounting business which he ran out of his home. He would, however, travel into the city to meet clients as well if they weren’t willing to make the drive into the country. Most of the people who made the drive were happy that they had once they took a look at the scenic view in front of them.
Quincy took Jasper into town one afternoon to see the local vet, Dr. Elizabeth Lassiter. Dr. Lassiter was an attractive, blonde woman in her mid-30s who seemed to have a great amount of knowledge when it came to animals. She took care of everything from fish to horses and everything in between. Her reputation is what brought Quincy to her office that day, and after meeting Dr. Lassiter for the first time, he was glad that he had gone.
“Mr. Sullivan,” the receptionist called from her desk “You can bring Jasper into examination room number two and Dr. Lassiter will be with you shortly.”
Quincy walked Jasper into the examination room and took a seat with Jasper beside him. Approximately 5 minutes had passed when Dr. Lassiter entered the room. When their eyes met, Quincy was dumbstruck and had lost the power of speech temporarily. Her pale blue eyes seemed to penetrate his soul in an instant. Dr. Lassiter was also taken by Quincy’s rugged good looks and had to turn away to regain her composure.
“So, what brings you here today Mr. Sullivan?” she asked.
Quincy stuttered his way through a reply. “Um, it’s my Jasper…I mean, my dog, Jasper. He hasn’t been himself lately. He hasn’t eaten much in the last week and has been unusually lazy.”
“Well, I will check him out, but it could be a variety of things that are preventing Jasper from eating. It could be anything from a change in food that you are serving him to Cancer, but I am going to look him over and give you a proper diagnosis. Let’s start with his food…Have you switched brands or the type of food recently?”
“No,” Quincy replied, “Jasper has been on the same diet for over a year and I don’t feed him table scraps either.”
“Okay, we can probably eliminate that one. Next, I’m going to have a look at his teeth. Can you lift him onto the table please?” Quincy lifted his canine friend onto the examination table and had him sit down for the doctor.
“I see here that Jasper appears to have a broken tooth back here on the upper right side; can you see it?”
Quincy saw what she was pointing at and asked what they could do about it.
“I’ll tell you what,” she said, “I’m a little backed up with patients here today, but I would be happy to drop by this evening after work and do the procedure at your home. Would that be okay?”
Quincy agreed and left the office. During his drive back, he continued to visualize the beautiful woman that he had just met and a smile remained on his face for the rest of the day. As promised, the doctor showed up around 6:15 that evening. She was no longer in her work clothes but instead was now wearing a lavender silk blouse with black pants. She carried a small bag with her that Quincy assumed housed her medical supplies. She had Quincy lay a blanket on top of the kitchen table, and after she gave Jasper a mild sedative, Quincy lifted him up and before Jasper’s paws touched the table, he was asleep. Dr. Lassiter removed a couple of tools and some gauze from her bag. She then proceeded to remove the broken tooth being careful not to leave any fragments behind. After she was confident that it was clear and she had blotted the little amount of blood that was left behind, she asked Quincy to lay Jasper back down on the floor while the sedative wore off.
“Listen, Doc,” Quincy began, “why don’t you stay for dinner? It will be ready in about 5 minutes and I have plenty of it! I mean, that is if you enjoy Pasta Primavera topped with almonds and cheese sauce?”
“Mmm…Sounds delicious!” the doctor replied, “And please, call me Elizabeth.”
“Very well, Elizabeth, what would you like to drink with your dinner?”
“Ice water will be fine, thank you.”
While Quincy prepared the meal, Elizabeth removed the blanket from the dining room table, wiped it down, and set it for two. By the time she had finished, dinner was being served. They had a lengthy conversation about each other’s careers during dinner and Elizabeth had given him some pointers regarding the care of Jasper while he heals up.
After dinner, Dr. Lassiter excused herself. “Thank you very much for dinner; it was wonderful. Any time you find yourself in town, you are welcomed to stop by the office and say hello.”
Quincy smiled at her and said, “Thank you for taking time out of your personal schedule to come out here today; I truly appreciate it. You can be sure Jasper and I will stop in to say hello whenever we can. Drive safe going home Elizabeth.”
“Thanks, I will.” She replied. She then got into her Land Rover and headed back into the city.
Quincy and Elizabeth continued to see each other regularly and their attraction grew into love eventually. After one year of dating, Quincy decided to pop the question and the two were married in a small ceremony by the Justice of the Peace on Quincy’s ranch. Each night, they would sit on the porch and stare at the wonders that God had created for them. Even in the dark of night, they could still see the silhouette of the Little Snowy Mountains in the distance thanks to the bright moon and stars that hung weightlessly in the heavens above.
“When I was a kid, my mom and I used to look up at the stars and she would point out the ones that were twinkling. She would say, ‘Elizabeth, those twinkling stars you see are all of your loved ones that are looking down upon you right now. There are a lot of them, aren’t there?’ Mama would ask, and I’d say there sure are! Then she would say ‘That is how much you are loved every day’. I would smile and hold her tight. When she was on her deathbed at the age of 78, mama held my face and asked me if I remembered what she told me about the stars, and I said yes. Then she said that she would be joining those stars pretty soon and the love will be even stronger. Thirty minutes later, she was gone, now every time I look up at the celestial playground above, I remember those words.”
Quincy held her tight until they went in for the night. The following morning, Quincy had slept in and Elizabeth had already left for work so he had a shower and went down for breakfast, but before he reached the kitchen, there came a knock on the door. When he answered, it was the local Sherrif’s department.
“Are you Quincy Sullivan?” the deputy asked.
“Yes that’s me,” he responded. “What’s this all about?”
“Sir, I regret to inform you that your wife was involved in a fatal accident earlier this morning just outside of Helena and she died on the scene. I am very sorry sir; if you are need of any assistance or just need someone to talk to, you can call one of our grief counselors for guidance. You will be asked to come down to the morgue and identify the body as soon as possible as well Mr. Sullivan. If it would be easier for you, I can take you there myself right now.”
Quincy, still in shock from this devastating news, went with the deputy to the morgue and then started making the funeral arrangements. The funeral took place four days later at Retz Funeral Home & Crematory. It was Elizabeth’s wish to be buried beside her mother, so that was what Quincy had arranged. The service was beautiful and everyone in town seemed to be in attendance. Quincy’s heart was broken, but he tried his best to stay strong for the sake of Elizabeth. His time to grieve would be when he arrived home that night.
Continuing with their tradition, Quincy sat on the porch with Jasper and looked up at the stars once again. This time, Quincy had thought of the story that Elizabeth told him about her mother and he finally began to cry. Once he was able to wipe the tears from his eyes, Quincy looked again toward Heaven and said “I will love you eternally Elizabeth.” At that moment, thousands of stars began to twinkle, but one stood out brighter than the rest, and he knew that Elizabeth was now watching over him with her love to shine down upon him every night.