January 19, 1966
Jocie Brooke here reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky. What does this picture make you think of? Mr. Brown, my social studies teacher at school, told us to look at this picture and write a paper on what freedom means to us. Not to the country or to somebody else, but to each of us as individuals.
Mr. Brown is always giving us hard assignments, but Dad says it’s good to have to think about things like this. He says there’s a lot about freedom in the Bible. Dad told me to look up Galatians 5:1. “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”
Noah, my friend that I met and you got to know too in that book about us, Orchard of Hope, says freedom is what the Civil Rights movement is all about. I do want everybody to be free in America. That’s what America stands for. Freedom. Liberty.
So I wrote about how great it is to be free to go to church without having to worry about somebody saying we can’t like they do in Communist countries. I wrote how the Constitution says all men are created equal and that when it says “men” that means women too. I wrote about Noah and his little sister, Cassidy marching in the Children’s March and how that was their way of fighting for freedom even though it turned out not so good for Cassidy. She ended up afraid for a long time after that. But in America everybody should be free.
Dad says I should remember that being free doesn’t mean I can do anything I want. That my freedom stops where somebody else’s begins. I’m not real clear on what he means by that, but I guess it’s something like I’m free to sing as loud as I want to at the newspaper office. That is, until Zella tells me to hush because she can’t think. Do you think that’s what he means?
What does freedom mean to you?
Freedom means a lot to Bailey in Bailey’s Bug too. He’s free now but sort of wishing he was back in a safe backyard with a fence all around and food in his dish every morning.
Bailey’s Bug by Jocie Brooke
(Continued from last week. All the story is under Bailey’s Bug up top of the page)
Bailey shook the hair out of his eyes and looked Skelley gratefully. The old dog’s bones were sticking out on his sides, but he never complained even when they had to go all day with nothing but grasshoppers to eat.
Bailey looked at his own sides and was surprised to see his ribs beginning to show up even under his shaggy coat. Reid’s mother always took him to get his hair clipped down to the hide when it started getting long.
Even Lucinda looked different. Slimmer. And not nearly so sleek as when she spent most of her day washing and smoothing down her black fur between naps.
“I’m sorry, Lucinda,” Bailey said. “I didn’t think it would take so long to find Reid.” He looked over at the old dog. “And you too, Skelley. If it weren’t for me you’d be in the city where you could find lots of food in trashcans.”
“Be I worrying about trashcans, lad? Nay, the three of us are having a grand adventure.”
“Some adventure.” Lucinda snorted and stood up. “Whatever it is, we best be getting on with it. Which way does your bug say go now?”
So Bailey led the way past the cows, under a fence and across the way to another tree covered hill. He could hear the hum just fine, but for the first time he wasn’t sure it was going to lead him to Reid. Bailey was tired and hungry. Especially hungry.
Skelley started telling a story to try to keep their spirits up.
“You know once when I was in the circus, they lost an elephant. Can ye imagine that? Losing an elephant. Of course, it was dark when Anne Marie went missing. Night isn’t the best time for searching for elephants, being as how they are gray and all. Be that as it may, we poked around in folks’ backyards and such for hours. Then, come morning, there she was waiting by her truck. Claimed to have been there the whole time, but we figured she wasn’t telling everything about her escapade.”
Bailey liked Skelley’s circus stories, but this time he couldn’t keep his mind from wandering off to think about how many more hills, how many more nights of coyotes howling, how many more days trying to nose out something to eat until they would find Reid.
Bailey shut his eyes for a minute so could think about Reid. And there his boy was, laughing and throwing the plastic toy. Bailey shut his eyes tighter to see Reid better.
“Watch out,” Skelley warned.
(To be continued)