It looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight. He gazed upon a magnificent gate that looked like Mother of Pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold. He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side. When he was close enough, he called out, “Excuse me, where are we?”
“This is Heaven, sir,” the man answered.
“Wow! Would you happen to have some water?” the man asked.
“Of course, sir. Come right in, and I’ll have some ice water brought right up.”
“Can my friend,” gesturing toward his dog, “come in, too?” the traveler asked.
“I’m sorry, sir, but we don’t accept pets.”
The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going with his dog.
After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road which led through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence. As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book.
“Excuse me!” he called to the reader. “Do you have any water?”
“Yeah, sure, there’s a pump over there.” The man pointed to a place that couldn’t be seen from the outside gate. “Come on in.”
“How about my friend here?” the traveler gestured to the dog.
“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 traveler took a long drink himself, then he filled the bowl and gave some to the dog. When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree waiting for them.
“What do you call this place?” the traveler asked. “This is Heaven,” he answered.
“Well, that’s confusing,” the traveler said. “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, I can see how you might think so, but we’re just happy that they screen out the folks who’ll leave their best friends behind.”
Reprinted from Grace Drops, Volume 3 (2005).