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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: A few years ago at the request of an elderly woman, you published a touching poem that Jimmy Stewart had read on the Johnny Carson show. In the past few weeks, the media have said much about his various roles in the movies, but I've heard no mention of this poem, although it truly reflects the type of man he was.

Could you please run it again as a tribute to the late Jimmy Stewart? -- KATHY LONG, READING, PA.

DEAR KATHY: With pleasure. Jimmy Stewart was loved by many people. The touching poem is titled "Beau" -- and here it is:

"BEAU" by Jimmy Stewart

He never came to see me when I would call --

Unless I had a tennis ball.

But mostly he didn't come at all.

When he was young, he never learned to heel or sit or stay.

He did things his own way.

Discipline was not his bag.

But when you were with him, things sure didn't drag.

He'd dig up a rosebush to spite me

And when I'd grab him, he'd bite me.

He bit lots of folks from day to day.

The delivery boy was his favorite prey.

The gas man wouldn't read our meter.

He said we owned a real man-eater.

He set the house on fire, but the story is long to tell.

Suffice to say, he survived, and the house survived as well.

On evening walks, and Gloria took him,

He was always first out the door.

The old one and I brought up the rear because our bones were sore.

He'd charge up the street with Mom hanging on --

What a beautiful pair they were!

And if it was still light and the tourists were out,

They created a bit of a stir.

But every once in a while he'd stop in his tracks

With a frown on his face, and look around.

It was just to make sure the old one was there

To follow him where he was bound.

We're early bedders at our house,

I guess the first to retire,

And as I would leave the room,

He'd look at me from his place by the fire.

He knew where the tennis balls were upstairs.

I'd give him one for a while.

He'd push it under the bed with his nose,

And I'd push it out with a smile.

Before very long, he'd tire of the ball

And he would be asleep in his corner in no time at all.

And there were nights when I'd feel him climb upon our bed

And lie between us and I'd pat his head.

There were nights when I'd feel his stare,

And I'd wake up and he'd be sitting there.

I'd reach out to stroke his fur,

And sometimes I'd feel him sigh.

I think I know the reason why.

He'd wake up at night and he would have this fear

Of the dark, of life, of lots of things

And he'd be glad to have me near.

And now he's dead, and there are nights when I think

I feel him climb upon our bed.

And be between us, and I'd pat his head.

And there are nights when I think I feel that stare

And I reach out my hand to stroke his hair

And he's not there.

Oh, how I wish that wasn't so --

I'll always love a dog named Beau.

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