Today is another giveaway day on Three Wicked Writers Plus Two. All you have to do to be entered into the “hat” drawing is simply comment. Share a memory if you’d like. That’s what this month is all about here at the blog. So what am I giving away? A hand beaded bracelet by Ruth Woolsey. See the pic at the bottom of the post. You have from now through Thursday evening to post. Natalie Dae will announce the winners for this week on her regular Friday morning blog post.
My father was a tobacco farmer—until he made a career move, that is. lol But I was only five at the time this happened and can only relate how I came to be the proud owner of a puppy as I was too young to remember it all. I do, however, have flashes of the day my dad brought the puppy home to me, but it’s hard to tell if those memories are truly mine or if they were somehow manufactured through hearing the tale.
As I said, my dad was a tobacco farmer. He managed our own family farm as well as the farm of an absentee owner, and dad was gone long hours each day from well before sun up to well after sun down. He was driving out in the country to inspect some barns where the tobacco was being cured and noticed several vultures in the sky circling not far away. What made him investigate, I’ll never know, and for some reason now I’d really like to ask him—why I never did is beyond me. Most people don’t investigate whatever it is vultures are circling—know what I mean?
Anyway, he found a litter of puppies someone had just thrown out. I know, pretty bad. There were six of them from what I understand, and only one still living, but close to death. Daddy buried those other five puppies—“pretty deep”, he said—and brought THE ONE home to me.
He named the dog LUCKY.
For the next couple of years, Lucky was my constant companion. He was a smart dog, too. I had two cousins that lived not far away through the woods, and I could honestly tell that dog to go and get my cousins and sure enough---he’d head through the woods and sometime later would return with my cousins and their dog BUTCH. Lol Not joking. That dog understood every word I said.
I was eight years old,and it was just a couple of days before Christmas when my granddaddy passed away. He was a great big ole man, and I loved him dearly. I was looking at some old pics last night of me sitting next to him in his hospital bed (yep, he was kept at home when he got down sick) and me brushing his snowy white hair with my little doll brush—you know the kind, the bristles on those brushes are as soft as a feather.
Granddaddy was well known and his passing brought hoards of visitors to the farm house. It was usually very quiet, not a lot going on. But during that time, things were confusing—at least I thought so. And LUCKY must have, too.
He got hit by a car during all of the comings and goings.
I didn’t see this happen or see him afterward. They wouldn’t let me. And I no more understood LUCKY being gone than I did my granddaddy. I was seven at the time. Oh, I cried, but wasn’t quite sure why. I just knew Granny was very sad and granddaddy wasn’t there anymore. Now, neither was LUCKY.
Christmas Eve was very quiet. Granddaddy had been laid to rest the day before—just like my LUCKY. Daddy took me to see LUCKY’S grave and we had a nice little ceremony for him as well. My granny busied herself in the kitchen all day Christmas Eve. I remember Daddy telling her that she didn’t need to, but she shooed him away and kept right on working.
It was well past dark when someone knocked on the door that night. It was that nice couple that lived down the road. At the time they were in their twenties, I’m sure. Their names were Margaret and Donald. I was sitting in the floor cross-legged in front of the Christmas tree when they arrived, and I looked over my shoulder to see them.
They were grinning from ear-to-ear as they were welcomed inside the living room. I went back to looking at the Christmas tree lights. Earlier I’d had a crying bout over Lucky and wasn’t talking much to anyone. Then my grandmother told me I needed to get up and say hello properly to Margaret and Donald. Granny was a real stickler for the proper way to do things for sure. So I got up, made my curtsey and said hello.
As soon as I had, Donald brought his hand from behind his back, and in it was a tiny tiny tiny black puppy. It fit in the palm of his hand. It had little curls all over its body. And it was mine. I was so happy. And it cemented Margaret and Donald in my mind forever.
I named the dog LUCKY.
Years passed, and I had three more dogs named LUCKY. Each of the predecessors leaving this world for the next for one reason or another. And I loved all of those LUCKYS just as much as the first—but the first would always be—well, you know…
Years later when I allowed my girls to have their first puppy, I related the story of how I received my first dog. And it was then that something popped into my head and made that story come full circle. You see, Margaret and Donald still live not too far from me. Their son and my brother, who is much younger than me, were best friends. So our families have always been close.
But I realized the day that I was telling my girls all about Lucky that it was Margaret and Donald who’d accidentally hit LUCKY that night all those years ago with their car. Which is why they brought me a new puppy. They felt guilty. Shouldn’t have, of course, but they knew I was little and needed a puppy. It’s the kind of thing that people do for each other. And one of those bittersweet memories, of course.
No, I never mentioned I’d figured it out—and don’t you think it’s odd that it took me until I was—well, much older, lol, to do so(My age is a state secret, people. Homeland Security protects that secret too. lol)? I saw Margaret and Donald about a month ago on one of my trips into Wal-Greens. Hugged both of them, and we had a nice long conversation. They are on up in years now.
But I still see them as they were that Christmas Eve when I curtsied dutifully to them, and Donald held out that tiny little bundle of curls to me. Margaret had been wearing bright red lipstick. She had long blonde curls hanging down below her shoulders and a pair of barrettes holding her hair back at the temples. She was a tall woman, at least half a foot taller than Donald. His hair was blonde, too, and he was wearing a long-sleeved plaid shirt that night and a black overcoat. Their faces will forever be young and smiling to me.
Happy Holidays, everyone. Share a memory.