Dogs laugh, but they laugh with their tails. ~Max Eastman
February 10, 1964. Jocie Brooke here still on the outlook for strange on Main Street, Hollyhill. It’s been a quiet week. That’s how weeks in February are if we don’t get a big snowstorm. Then if the snow falls deep enough, things can really get slow in Hollyhill. Everybody stays home and drinks hot chocolate. Sounds good to me. No school. But no snow and no strange this week. Even old Zella has acted almost normal. In case you don’t know, Zella works for my dad. Well, Zella would probably say everybody works for her. She thinks she owns the newspaper office.
That’s where my Dad works. He’s the editor of our weekly paper, and he’s always saying that if no news happens like now in Hollyhill, the pages of the paper have to be filled anyway. He doesn’t mean you should make stuff up. Now that might be more fun. But he’s meaning you have to dig around until you find something to write about that won’t bore the socks of your readers. So since I can’t find strange this week and it’s not snowing, I’m going to hope you want to hear about Zebedee. Who’s that you ask? Well for one, he was James and John’s father in the Bible. The sons of thunder. If you ever hear Zebedee bark you’ll know why I picked that name.
I’ve wanted a dog since forever. Every chance I got I prayed for the Lord to send me a dog. It was my dog prayer. Dad says it’s okay to pray about everything. And he also says the Lord wants to give us the desires of our hearts. A dog just happened to be the desire of my heart. I WANTED A DOG!! I had dog hunger. I wasn’t asking for a poodle or a beagle or any particular kind. As long as it had four feet, a cold nose and a wagging tail, I was going to be happy. No sense making prayers complicated. And somewhere in the Bible doesn’t it say God already knows what we need before we ask him? At least I think it does. So if that’s true, there wasn’t any reason for me to draw a picture for the Lord. He knows what a dog looks like. He created them, you know.
I prayed and prayed. Sometimes out loud just in case Dad was around. After all, Dad’s always saying that the Lord can use his people to answer prayers. So if the Lord wanted to use Dad, I wasn’t going to mind. But then I found Zebedee or maybe it would be truer to say he found me. You can read all about how that happened if you read the book, Scent of Lilacs. I’ve heard it’s out there for sale now. On something called the internet, whatever that is. And in bookstores too. We don’t have a bookstore in Hollyhill, but thank goodness and this rich man named Carnegie we have a library.
But back to Zebedee. He likes to follow me everywhere I go, even down Main Street. Most folks like dogs, except Zella who yells at me if Zeb follows me into the newspaper office. But Wes lets me sneak him in the back door of the press room sometimes. Zella hardly ever comes back there.
Everybody does pretty much agree that Zeb is not a pretty dog. Most folks come right out and say “That dog is the ugliest dog I’ve ever seen.” Doesn’t really matter to me or Zebedee. I guess maybe that’s the strange for this week. How a dog as ugly as Zebedee can look so pretty to me.
Did you have a dog when you were fourteen like me? What was his or her name and was your dog pretty?
Remember, if you leave a comment you can have a chance to win a copy of that book, Scent of Lilacs, and find out all about how Zebedee found me and how he taught that Jezebel cat of Aunt Love’s a thing or two. I’ll be announcing three winners here on March 4.
And come back over to the Hollyhill Book of the Strange next week. Maybe something strange will happen in Hollyhill before then that I can write about. But I wouldn’t count on it if I were you. In spite of what Wes says and that story about Mr. Wilson last week, Hollyhill is a pretty ordinary town with one extra-ordinary dog named Zebedee. A dog that does do a lot of laughing with his tail.