Lady: Border collie: March,1998 to June 3,2014 Lady was my son’s dog. She lived to be near him and to ride in the truck. Here she is looking down the lane as Danny drives away. I’ll write Lady’s story, in segments. If you are not a pet person then pass on by. I’m not a writer. I once read that if one is going to write, it should be in one’s own voice. I’m still in the process of re-doing parts of my initial writing effort. When I wrote this in WP I could not get the italics to work in the proper places so I wrote it all in italics. I’ve edited this post countless times. Now, I think, most of the italics are correct or maybe not but this post needs much more work. I’ve done just about as much as I can muster for a non- writer.
Part 1 “She Was, a Lady.”
Early one morning in 1998 or 1999, DP went out to his red “92” 4×4 Chevy truck to retrieve his cell phone. Dressed in casual garb of faded starched jeans, a denim shirt and, Roper boots he had not bothered to grab a jacket or wear a cap.
cold and damp March morning air was laden with a foggy mist. “Yea, he thought, the weather feels just like my brain.” It was not yet spring. He was glad that maybe winter was nearing an end. He shivered a bit as he walked to the driver’s side of Ole Red. Standing there he began ruminating on a relationship that had ended. His mother was right about many things, but he was not one who would ever admit that, “Mama often know best.”
Making matters worse was the prospect of no jobs- no money. This time of year was worrisome. Income tax time was about a month away and people held back on extra spending for their home or property. No calls had come in for bids on any custom ornamental iron jobs for the past two days. March and April were slow months which meant that he had to be extra frugal. He and his ex girlfriend often argued about money. She liked to go out and be a part of the local nightlife. She loved to dance to country music and much to his chagrin, she could “drink him under the table.” They argued about that too. Too much beer and she flirted with the guys in the bars. Too much beer and twice she had become an embarrassment. Those times she was more than three sheets in the wind. Too drunk to drive to her house, he and a buddy drove her home, placed her on the den sofa, locked the door behind them and left her to sober up. He wondered how in the world he had let her into his life. She worked for an insurance company but spent all her money on clothes and her fancy car. He thought that just maybe she was an alcoholic or maybe not. DP was a man who was always giving folks the benefit of the doubt. But he knew his mother thought differently. “You’re too good-hearted for your own good and in all the wrong places” How many times had he heard those words and how many times had he been warned? “Why, did I not listen to my mother? “ His now ex-girlfriend left him for greener pastures. Those were her words, “Greener pastures!” Somehow the words didn’t seem to hurt.
He felt devoid of any feelings that morning. “Oh, I’m just ticked. But I feel empty and in a bottomless pit. Anyhow, I’m glad and relieved our relationship ended.” Before opening the truck door, he made a cursory survey of his tree-lined three acres and noticed that he had forgotten to close the sliding iron gate. He unlocked the door to his truck, reached for his cell phone, took a few steps back to slam the truck door and, then felt something brush against his jeans. Quickly he looked down. Sitting near one boot was a waif dressed in a long black fur coat, with grayish brown trimming around the collar and down the front of its chest. Stunned for a few moments, he muttered, “What in the world? A dog?” It was a pitiful thing with sad, dark brown eyes that seemed to plead, “Please don’t make me leave. I’ve come a long way. I’m tired and very hungry.” He continued to stand and stare and think. “I bet that once upon a time it was real pretty. It has long jet black fur. Maybe that dingy collar is really white. Its ears fold over at the tips. It looks a bit scared but not bad. Wonder where it came from? Now what I am going to do with this dog? I know that I’ve not seen it across the road or in the general area.” Finally with cell phone in his hand, he quickly dialed a number for an answer to his dilemma. “Mama, some stray dog came from out of no where and must have slept under my truck last night. I found it when I went to get my phone. It looks awfully dirty and skinny. Its coat is matted with pieces of sticks and burs. What should I do with it?” Mama did not hesitate to answer and gave her son instructions. “Take off your belt and put it around the dog’s neck. Lead it into your office and throw one of your old sleeping bags on the floor. You know you have a couple in the storage room. No dog in distress is going to hurt your precious old sleeping bags. Get a couple of eggs, bread and milk and, stir that all together and pour into a hot cast iron skillet that you’ve coated with Crisco. Stir it until the egg mixture looks done. It’ll give the dog quick energy until I can get there with some canned and dry dog food. We’ll need to take it to Dr. what’s his name, for a microchip scan. I’ll bring a stack of the past two months of newspapers that I’ve saved for recycling. We can look in the lost and found ads. It might have an owner. However, it could be a dog dumped miles from your house. It clearly is a lost dog. Funny that it found its way to you.”
“Yea, Mama thinks it’s funny. I’m not laughing and I don’t want the responsibility of a dog. I’ve not had a dog in a long time. Andy was my last dog and that was a long time ago.” If only I’d closed my gate last night….” Within a few minutes, he had put his belt around the skinny neck of the waif, led it inside and placed a dusty sleeping bag on the floor. Without any coaxing, it plopped down on the bag with a soft groaning sound. He watched the dog for a moment as it moved its muzzle back and forth on the bed. He could see the dog was watching him as much as he was watching it. He took a few steps back to get a better look as the little dog’s eyes followed his every move. “I reckon when it’s cleaned up and has gained a few pounds, it’ll be a good-looking dog. It seems really glad it’s out of the damp cold. Dang, I think those eyes are talking to me. Huh! I don’t even know if it’s a male or female. What am I thinking? I’ll have to find a home for it if there’s no owner.”
He was unaware that his mother was smiling and thinking, “Lord, thank you for sending the dog. It’s just what my son needs. He sounded angry and I know that he doesn’t want a dog. This will help get his mind off that break-up even if it’s a brief reprieve. Maybe the dog doesn’t belong to anyone. And, I seriously doubt that it has an owner. That much I know. People dump their pets when they become too much trouble or they just don’t want them anymore. I’m glad it’s a dog and not some ding-a-ling woman like the last one whose elevator did not go all the way to the top and was detrimental to his ego. She secretly referred to her son’s latest ex-girlfriend as the “gold-duster in conversations she had with her husband about their son’s choice of girlfriends. Mama cringed as she had visions of the Gold duster who always seemed to have every finger of both hands, sans her thumbs, adorned with a gold ring. “Gee monyetti! That girl could put some alcohol away. I know she wasn’t good for my son. I don’t think she cared one iota for him. How in the world did that co-dependent relationship survive that long?” As mama drove the 12 miles to her son’s house she thought that it’s a lucky Friday. It was the beginning of her two days off. And, just maybe a new beginning for her son. Today she had the time and energy to help her son or was it the dog she would be helping or, both?
To be continued.
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