October 6, 1965
Jocie Brooke here reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky. Whew! Homecoming is over. What a Sunday! Everybody and his brother was there. The church was jam-packed. We even had to set chairs in the aisles and open up the doors to the Sunday School room next to the pulpit to let people sit there. Dad couldn’t stop smiling. He was that happy seeing so many people at church. He wasn’t preaching. There was a visiting preacher, Bro. Adams, who was the preacher at Mount Pleasant before I was born. He was old. Probably sixty something. He told stories on all the old members. Some about going to their houses for dinner on Sundays. Some about the men taking him fishing or talking him into helping with something on their farms. He had everybody laughing, even me when I didn’t even know what he talking about some of the time. Dad says that’s a good preacher – on who can get people listening. Then he can pour out the message and people will just lap it up.
After the preaching, we had dinner on the grounds. I made a chess cake all by myself. And it was good. Even Jimmy Wilson said so and Jimmy never likes to say anything good about me. He’s always picking on me. Dad says that’s because he’s struck on me. Funny way to show it, is what I say. And I’m not wanting anybody to be struck on me – especially not Jimmy Wilson. Well, he is sort of cute and he did help me set out the extra chairs. Maybe he’s not so bad. Not that I’m in love of anything. No way. But if I did have a little crush on somebody – I’m not saying I do, but if I did – do you think I’m too young? How odl were you when you started thinking about how it would be to, well, you know, to walk around with somebody like you were a couple?
Gee, my cheeks are burning hot. Guess I’d better change the subject and see what Bailey and Lucinda are up to with their new friend, Skelley. Remember, you can find the beginning of the story under the page tab up at the top of this article.
BAILEY’S BUG by Jocie Brooke
(continued from last time)
Skelley ducked under a yellow and black strip of plastic and headed down between two old houses that looked like they might just fall down any second.
Finally he looked around at them and said, “This is it.”
The old dog shoved up a loose board with his nose to show a hole into the house. “Mind watch your step as ye head on in. The floor has a weak spot here and there.”
The very end of Lucinda’s tail twitched back and forth as she stared at the dark opening. At last she tucked her head into the hole and disappeared.
Bailey followed her, digging with his paws to scoot through behind the cat. The leash jerked back and did its best to stop him. Bailey pushed harder with his back paws and the leash turned loose to meekly slither the hole. Skelley popped in behind Bailey and let the board fall back into place.
“Come along.” The old dog headed across the room. “It’s nothing fancy but it be safer than the street. And a bit of sunshine does sometimes sneak into the place.”
At that, Lucinda perked up and began daintily picking her way through the bottles and cans and old newspapers. Bailey scrambled after her. Dust bunnies jumped out at him, but he paid them no mind. Bailey sniffed, but he couldn’t pick up even the slightest whiff of Skelley’s people no matter which way he turned his nose.
“Here we are. Home sweet home.” Skelley did a little head bow.
A few empty cans and a red stick with a black knob on the end were scattered on a rug in front of a window so dirty the sun barely forced its way inside.
Skelley brushed off the window with his tail. “Would you care for the window seat, Miss Lucinda?”
Lucinda hopped up on the windowsill and began washing her face. It had to be wasted effort with all the cobwebs and dirt around them, but she was being polite. In between licks, she sent Bailey a warning look to mind his manners too.
So when the old dog pulled his prize bone from under a pile of rags in the corner, Bailey thumped his tail on the floor and even though the bone was so dry he thought it might just be a rock masquerading as a bone, he chewed on the end of it. Nothing at all like the bone Mrs. Robinson had given him a couple of days ago.
After what Bailey hoped was a properly polite chewing time, he scooted the bone back to Skelley. “Thank you. That was very good, but you better save some for your next celebration.”
“Or rainy day, eh, lad?” Skelley tucked the bone out of sight under the edge of the rug. Then he turned twice and sat down with his paw gently on the painted stick. “Now, let’s be hearing your story. How come two pampered pets like the two of ye are on the streets with no human watching out for you?”
“I’m going to find my boy,” Bailey said. “He moved away. Miles away. To another state.”
“And forgot to take you along, did he? A pure shame that was.”
“He was coming back for us. I’m sure of it, but I decided not to wait that long. So we’re going to him.” Bailey hesitated, then asked, “You wouldn’t happen to know how far it is to another state?”
“That would be according to which state it is ye want, lad. There be fifty of them, ye know.”
“Fifty?” Bailey couldn’t keep the surprise out of his voice. He peeked over at Lucinda who had stopped licking her paws to stare at Skelley. When she noticed Bailey looking at her, she went back to washing her face as if fifty states was no surprise to her.
(To be continued)