December 1, 1965
Jocie Brooke here reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky. Thanksgiving was last Thursday. We had turkey and thank goodness, Aunt Love hasn’t forgotten how to make dressing. Leigh made some kind of cranberry salad. I pretended to like it, but I would have rather just had the jelly roll of cranberry sauce from the can. Don’t tell Leigh that!
Then Aunt Love said we had to have pumpkin pie. Don’t ask me why. Maybe because everybody at church has a bumper crop of pumpkins and they are all giving them to Dad. I told Aunt Love that nobody expected us to actually EAT them. Just set them on the porch for decoration, but Aunt Love says she lived through the Depression years and believes in “waste not, want not.” Sigh.
I guess I just should be glad the folks out at church have apples too. Aunt Love made an extra pie crust and let Tabitha and me peel apples to make a deep dish apple pie. Now that’s a pie I can be thankful for.
Dad preached on being thankful again on Sunday. He says a person should be thankful every day for his or her blessings and not just think he can throw up a thank you one day a year. He says a person should have a thankful heart all the time. He stopped preaching right in the middle of the sermon time and asked people out in the pews to say why they were thankful. Out loud. In church. Sort of surprised everybody, but Miss Sally stood up and said she was thankful for her church family and after that other people got over being shy and spoke up too. I even stood up and said I was thankful that my dog prayer and my sister prayer were answered. I figured everybody would laugh at that. Some of them did, but if you’ve read my story in Scent of Lilacs, you know what I mean.
Even after we came home, I thought about reasons I should be thankful. Most of all, of course, is Dad. I don’t know what I’d do without Dad. Then there’s Wes and Tabitha and Stephen and Aunt Love, even if she is cross with me most of the time, and Leigh and Miss Sally and all the people at church. Well, most of them anyway. And my friends at school. Plus there’s Zeb, my dog, and Cat at the office. Okay, maybe even Zella. Gee, I don’t know about that. I’m pretty sure Zella isn’t saying she’s thankful for me!
What are your reasons for being thankful?
I guess I should say I’m thankful for my story about Bailey. It’s fun to figure out a story and write it down.
BAILEY’S BUG by Jocie Brooke
(Continued from last week. The whole story so far is under the Bailey’s Bug tab up top.)
[Last week, Bailey just asked Lucinda if she wanted to go home without finding their boy.]
Lucinda opened her left eye. “I said I’d go with you to find Reid. But I’m not joining up with any circus where I have to ride on your back and act like an idiot.”
“Skelley and I were just talking about the circus. I wasn’t going to join one.” Bailey tilted his head a little and added. “Unless Reid did. Do you think he might have joined a circus?”
“Dogs.” Lucinda groaned and turned her back to Bailey. “I don’t know why I put up with them.”
“She’ll feel better after she’s rested a wee bit,” Skelley whispered. “As will we all.”
Bailey settled down and tried to sleep, but either the bulldozer monster was rumbling toward him or he was tumbling through hoops with cheers echoing in his ears. Finally he put his paw over his head and blocked out everything but the hum. The hum and Reid. At last he dozed off.
When Skelley nudged him awake, it was near dark. They nosed around the park and found a sack with some crusts of bread and a hot dog.
By the time they got to the big road, it was very late. Cars zoomed first one direction, then the other. Their lights made flashing trails in the dark.
Bailey felt a little shaky inside. “There’s still a lot of them.”
“Aye, that there is.” Skelley’s head turned back and forth watching the cars. “For a truth, we’ll have to pick our times and be mighty careful, but if we want to get to another state we have to go across this road.”
“What’s over there on the other side?” Bailey peered across the road. He couldn’t see any lights past the cars.
“Can’t say for sure. Never actually been across this road before, but looks to be country, pure and simple. Nothing that looks like a town,” Skelley said. “What about you, Miss Lucinda? You know about the far lands?”
Lucinda stepped up beside them. “I like towns with nice houses and windows full of sunshine. Not country.”
“Country,” Bailey said. “I met a dog once who was from the country. He was forever talking about how great it was to run in the fields chasing rabbits. He wasn’t happy his people moved to the city.”
“I suppose country suits some well enough,” Skelley said. “But there be no trashcans and but few houses. I’ve even heard tell of strange animals that don’t take kindly to them who cross their paths.”
“I can’t believe our people would live in that kind of place.” Lucinda looked at Bailey. “Are you sure your bug is pointing you in the right direction?”
All of the sudden, Bailey wavered. The land on the other side of the road was dark. He’d never seen dark like that. It was easy to imagine those strange animals lurking behind trees waiting to jump out at them with gnashing teeth. Something maybe worse than the lions and tigers Skelley knew in the circus.
Bailey’s feet were sore and his neck hurt. He wanted a full bowl of crunchy dog food instead of bits of bread and nearly empty cans to lick. Over there in the dark country, there might not even be that to eat. His stomach growled and he sat down to think things through.
Skelley sat down beside him. “Never a mistake to mull things over a bit. Me master used to say it wasn’t any good rushing into things. That has to be especially true with that thing is crossing a river of cars.”
Lucinda made a noise of agreement as her tail twitched back and forth like the pendulum of a clock. Bailey figured she was thinking about the sun in the windows back at their old house.
He sort of wished he was curled up on his bed there too as the cars swooshed past, their wind ruffling his ears. A great huge truck, bigger even than the bulldozer monster, lumbered over the hill. The ground shook under Bailey as it barreled past. He could never stop one of those.
But even worse than the cars and trucks was the dark in the far country. Just thinking about what might be in that dark sent a shiver through Bailey.
He stood up and gave a shake like he’d just had a bath. All of the sudden, the hum that he hadn’t been able to hear while he thought about the dark began sounding in his ears louder than ever. His feet tingled and his heart bounced around inside his chest the way it did when Reid called him. He couldn’t stop now. Even if he had to go into the dark far lands by himself.
(To be continued.)