September 29, 1965
Jocie Brooke here reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky. It’s Homecoming time at our church out in Holly County. Next Sunday. This picture is from a couple of years ago. Dad says he hopes we have that big a crowd this year too.
The ladies at church have been all in a stir getting everything ready. Last Saturday they got together to wash the windows and make sure no cobwebs were hiding in the corners. My job was to scrape the chewing gum off the bottom of the pews. Can you believe that people would do that? Stick chewing gum on a church pew. Eww! Miss Sally says it was probably little kids who don’t know any better. Miss Sally always thinks the best of everybody but Aunt Love says some parents need to jerk their kids’ ears if they do something like that. She would have mine for sure.
Things get a little testy around Homecoming time. The ladies have little meetings out in the yard about who should do what and when. Last week they were trying to decide about the church buying a ham for the dinner on the grounds and if they buy a ham whether it should be a country ham or a city ham. Mrs. Harrison says they always get a country ham, but Miss Josephine says that a city ham would be better. That it’s time the church changed a few things and country ham makes folks have to drink too much tea and we all know that means everybody will be in and out disturbing the afternoon services going to the outhouse. Mrs. Harrison got all huffy and informed Miss Josephine that people expected them to have country ham and it wouldn’t be a real dinner on the grounds without it. Then Mrs. Butler chimed in that they could just all fry chicken and save the church some money. That the Israelites in the Bible wouldn’t even eat ham. Bible discussion began in earnest then. I decided maybe I’d better go see if there was some more chewing gum under the pews that I might have missed. I didn’t want to pipe up and say something that would get me in trouble with Dad.
Guess I’d better just stick with writing about Bailey and Lucinda. Let’s see what they’re up to now.
Bailey’s Bug by Jocie Brooke
(continued from last week. See the beginning of the story at the Bailey’s Bug tab up at the top of the page.)
Bailey gobbled down the scraps before his tail wagged twice, then sat back to wait for Skelley and Lucinda to finish. He tried not to think about how his stomach was still growling.
“Ye appear to be a dog of no small appetite.” Skelley nosed another crust of bread toward Bailey.
Lucinda finished last and started licking her paws. Skelley peered over his shoulder. “Begging your pardon, Miss Lucinda, but we best move along now. The ringmasters of this place will be showing up soon and for a truth, they don’t look kindly on me balancing skills. They are as apt to call the dog police as not.”
Lucinda sighed. “If I must go unwashed, I must go unwashed.”
“We can find a spot on down the street,” Bailey promised. “In the sun.”
Lucinda groaned and stretched her back legs out behind her. Then she gave a delicate shake. “Well, which way?”
Before Bailey could listen for the hum in his ear, Skelley spoke up. “I’d count it an honor if the two of ye came home with me for a bit of a rest. Miss Lucinda can finish her morning grooming in peace while us dogs have a chat, Bailey me lad.”
“Is there more food there?”
“Don’t be rude, Bailey,” Lucinda hissed.
“Worry not, Miss Lucinda. The boy is new to the streets. And it just so happens that I do have a bone I’ve been saving for a rainy day.” Skelley looked up at the sky where the sun was just topping the buildings. Not a cloud in sight. “Or a celebration.”
“What kind of celebration?” Bailey asked.
“We’ll be thinking of something. Come along.”
They cut through alleys and behind buildings and crossed huge expanses of black asphalt. The monster cars were out in force, but Skelley avoided them with ease.
“It’s safer to travel at night when there aren’t so many of the four-wheeled beasts on the prowl. A mere dog’s no match for the likes of them.”
The cars were bad enough but then Skelley led them right up to some mustard yellow beasts like nothing Bailey had ever seen. Their wheels were as big as Mr. Robinson’s car and they had fearsome looking appendages poking out in odd places. Bailey stopped in his tracks. Lucinda eased over behind Bailey to eye them too.
“Don’t be worrying, me friends,” Skelley said. “Tis only the machines they use for making roads or knocking down buildings. Most of the time, they sit quiet enough.”
“Even that one?” Bailey pointed toward a monster with long worm wheels and a huge shovel all across the front of it.
“That be a bulldozer. Makes a fearful noise at times and can knock trees clear out of the ground, but it moves powerful slow. Even an old dog like me can outrun it with nary a problem.”
Bailey kept his eye on the monster as they passed so close the chill of its metal skin made shivers walk along his back. The leash suddenly jumped up and clanged against the bulldozer wheels. Bailey jumped sideways and bumped Lucinda.
“Can’t you control that thing?” she muttered.
Bailey growled at the leash that was dragging along meekly again.
“Dragging that along does appear to be a bit awkward, me lad,” Skelley said. “I hated to say anything before, but I can’t help wondering why ye have it with you.”
“I didn’t want to, but it was the only way I can get beyond the fence.”
The old dog’s forehead wrinkled up. “Aye, we have to take the chances we get.”
(to be continued)