Mushroom Spotting and Bailey Makes His Escape

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, Heart of Hollyhill

August 18, 1965
Jocie Brooke here reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky. What do you think about these toadstools? Aren’t they something? Dad says he might put the picture in Banner if news doesn’t pick up. 
News never picks up in Hollyhill. Never. The most exciting thing that happened all summer was Mr. Wallace’s cows got out day before yesterday, and were in the middle of the road. When Miss Harley who lives down the road, came around the corner and saw that big old black and white cow in the middle of the road staring at her, she slammed on the brakes. She said it looked like that cow wanted to play “chicken.” If so, the cow must have won. Miss Harley ran her car off the road and smack dab into a fencepost. Dad went out and took a picture. The cow was gone by the time he got there, but Miss Harley’s car kissing up against the post was still good. She wasn’t hurt, but Dad said she was mad as a wet hen. Seems like we can’t get away from chickens here. Ha! Ha!
School will be starting next week. They used to wait until September, but I guess the teachers got bored. Not me. I keep busy out hunting mushrooms. They are sort of pretty, aren’t they? In a decaying type of way, Zella said, and it would be best if I stopped wasting film. She gives out new rolls of film from her supply cache like it was gold. But a newspaper has to have pictures. Dad says the pictures sell papers.
Zella says she doubts if mushrooms will sell anything. Car wrecks maybe. Zella never likes anything I do. I could take a picture of that Jupiter spaceship Wes says he came on and she’d tell me I was wasting film. But I’m pretty sure that would sell papers!!

But I can’t worry about Zella. Time to write some more about Bailey.  See you next week.   

BAILEY’S BUG by Jocie Brooke – CHAPTER
3 (earlier chapters in page link to Bailey’s Bug in menu above)

next day was Saturday. That meant Mr. Robinson didn’t go out to his car and
drive away in the morning. It meant sausage for breakfast and even one for
Bailey. I meant Mr. Robinson might take him for a walk.

     They did that on the street. Outside the
fence. But Mr. Robinson always hooked the leash on Bailey’s collar before he
opened the door.

     The leash was a terrible thing that jerked
at Bailey’s neck and made it hard to breathe if he wanted to run. It grabbed
and held tightest whenever he needed to jump at a bird or sniff out an odor
somewhere off the sidewalk.

     Even when he ignored the birds and smells,
the leash still attacked and tied up his feet. Then Bailey had to stand still
while his people freed his legs and called him a clumsy old dog. That hadn’t
been so bad when Reid did it because he would laugh and hug him too. But Mr.
Robinson never hugged him. Worse, he always blamed Bailey instead of the nasty
leash for getting tangled up.

     So Bailey barely managed a half-hearted
thump of his tail when Mr. Robinson got out the leash and talked in the booming
voice he saved for Bailey. “Time for a walk, old boy. You’re getting fat.”

     What was wrong with being fat anyway?
Bailey gave him a look and wanted to lie back down on his rug instead of
letting the man hook the leash to his collar. But Bailey was an obedient dog.
If Mr. Robinson wanted to walk, then he’d have to walk.

     Lucinda raised her head as he passed her
chair. “You can’t get away. Stop thinking about it.”

     “You could help me.”

     “I told you. I like it here. Sunshine and
food. That’s all I need.”

     “But don’t you miss Reid scratching under
your chin and rubbing all the way down your back, even your tail?”

     For a second, Lucinda looked as if she
might admit that she did miss Reid. For a second. Then she turned her head away
from Bailey. “I can scratch my own chin and rub my back on the table leg.” With
that, she put her head down and closed her eyes.

     At the door, Mr. Robinson jiggled the leash
as though it were a doggy treat. “Come on, Bailey. Day’s a wasting.”

     Bailey couldn’t keep from shuddering when the leash grabbed on to his collar. That made his ear itch and he sat down to
scratch it. The leash came alive and jerked him up.

     Before they even got out the door, the
leash wrapped around his front left paw. When Bailey tried to high step away
from it, the thing grabbed his other front paw. Out on the porch, Mr. Robinson
fussed as he took control of the leash.

     The leash didn’t care. Instead it reached
and grabbed Mr. Robinson’s feet to pull loose his shoestrings. The man sat on
the porch steps to tie them back. Bailey hadn’t figured out shoestrings,
exactly. Big people were always worrying if they came loose and little people
like Reid didn’t care if they stayed loose all day. Even so, Bailey was used to
waiting while shoelaces got wrapped up in bows. Even the leash waited quiet as
anything at times like that.

     In fact the leash was extra quiet right
now. The loop end that Mr. Robinson usually held onto to try to make it behave
was loose on the steps. Mr. Robinson didn’t seem to notice as he wrapped the
ends of his laces just so.

     This was Bailey’s chance. The leash needed
somebody or something holding on to that loop to be powerful. Once a long time
ago, Bailey dragged the leash across the park before he let Reid catch him. The
leash had run along beside him not doing a thing. Just bouncing on the ground.

     Bailey hesitated. He was already feeling a
little hungry in spite of gulping down that sausage. And it didn’t seem right
to run off without saying goodbye to Lucinda whether she wanted him to or not.

     “That should hold them.” Mr. Robinson
jerked on the laces. In a second, he’d be reaching for the leash to make it come
to life.

     The street was in front of them. No fence
to stop him. The hum got louder in Bailey’s ears. GO!
     The first step away from Mr. Robinson was hard.
The next one wasn’t much easier, but by the time he reached the edge of the
yard, he was running. Nothing was choking him, and his feet felt fine.

     Mr. Robinson yelled at him. “Stop, Bailey.”

     The word bounced after Bailey and almost
jerked him to a stop. But he kept going. He had to find Reid.

     The front door opened and Mrs. Robinson was
wringing her hands. “Oh my! What if he gets run over?” She sounded so worried Bailey
felt bad.

     “I’d better catch him,” Mr. Robinson

     Bailey didn’t hear any more. The blood was
pumping in his ears and he was getting out of breath. He hadn’t had a good run
since Reid left. Mr. Robinson didn’t throw the red toy and when he walked
Bailey, the leash choked him if he tried to run.

     But he wouldn’t stop now. Even if they got
in the car and came after him. Even if the leash did turn on him. So far it
just clattered along the sidewalk beside him, not causing the first problem.
But that might not last.

     Mr. Robinson called, all happy like he had
a handful of doggie treats. Bailey could almost smell those treats, but he didn’t
stop running. Reid would have doggy treats for him. And even if he didn’t, what
was a doggie treat to his boy’s hug?

     Bailey shut out the man’s voice and concentrated
on the hum in his ears. He could hear it. And it sounded like Reid’s whistle.

     He crossed one street, then another,
without any screeching around him. He raced through strange backyards and past
a fence where a dog lunged against the wire to get at Bailey. He ran under some
bushes to get away, and the leash jerked him off his feet. But when he backed
up, the leash came along peacefully again.

     Bailey didn’t know where he was going, but
he kept going. When he absolutely couldn’t run another yard, he slowed to a
walk. A man yelled at him, but it wasn’t Mr. Robinson.

     He turned around a corner and knew the houses.
He stopped to get his bearings and saw the Robinsons’ car coming toward him. He
couldn’t run faster than a car. They would catch him and he’d never find
Reid. The hum burned in his ears.

     “Hiss. Over here.” The sound came from
under the bush beside him.

When Bailey hesitated, the voice got louder. “Hurry up, you dumb lummox of a dog. They’re
going to catch you for sure.”

Bailey scooted under the bush.

“Stand still. You’re shaking the bush.”

“Lucinda.” Bailey stared at the cat. “What are you doing out here?”