January 26, 1966
Jocie Brooke here reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky. It snowed on Saturday. The roads were too slick for us to have church at Mount Pleasant. Dad says it’s better to be safe and cancel church rather than have some of the older members maybe slide off the road and get hurt or sick trying to get their cars out of the ditch. Besides, the parking area is all gravel. It’s hard to shovel snow off gravel. Dad told everybody to just read their Bibles and say their prayers at home and make one of the prayers that the roads will be clear next Sunday.
I like going to church okay, but it’s fun having a day off too. Especially when the day off keeps going and school is canceled on Monday the way it was this week. A few inches of snow slows things down in Hollyhill. Dad and I still make it to the newspaper office and so does Zella but she does complain mightily about the people who don’t shovel their sidewalks in front of their houses in town. I don’r know why she gets so upset. It’s not like she doesn’t have boots. And of course, Wes lives in the apartment over the newspaper office, so all he has to do is come downstairs to work. Dad says the news is like the mail – neither rain nor snow nor dark of night will keep it from making it out to the people of Hollyhill. Or something like that anyway.
On Sunday, I walked over in Mr. Crutcher’s field next door to our house and took some snow pictures. I love taking pictures. I’d take hundreds if film wasn’t so expensive. Do you like taking pictures of snow? Dad says snow scenes are okay but the pictures that get the most attention in the paper have people or animals in them. Monday, he told me to walk around town and find some kids making snowmen. That’s always good to put in the paper.
I made a snowman myself, but I didn’t take a picture of mine. It wasn’t that good. A little lumpy and sideways, but fun anyway.
No church and no school gave me extra time to work on Bailey’s Bug. Last week you remember Bailey was shutting his eyes and thinking about his boy, Reid, while he was walking along with Skelley and Lucinda. Then Skelley yelled a warning. So what happened then? Read on to find out. And remember, the whole story is under Bailey’s Bug up top.
BAILEY’S BUG by Jocie Brooke
(continued from last week)
Bailey opened his eyes, but not quick enough to keep from banging into a tree. He bounced back on his haunches.
“Be ye all right, lad?” Skelley looked at him with worried eyes.
“What happened?” Bailey’s head was spinning.
“You ran into a tree.” Lucinda jumped up on a branch above him. She had no sympathy for his head at all.
Bailey looked up and saw two black cats on limbs that wavered and shook. He tried to stand up, but that made everything shimmer and shake even more. He sank back on his haunches and shook his head until his ears flapped.
Skelley leaned over to sniff Bailey. Bailey saw two noses and four black eyes. It was too much. He lay down and put his paw over his eyes.
“I think the lad has hurt himself.” Skelley touched Bailey’s back with his nose.
“He’s knocked himself silly,” Lucinda said. “And what are we supposed to do now? Out here heaven only knows where.”
“Could be the lad merely needs a minute or so to come to his senses.”
“He does’t have a lot of sense to come to.” Lucinda let out a sigh. “I guess I don’t either or I wouldn’t be out here with him in the middle of nowhere.”
“Now, now, Miss Lucinda. Ye did what any true friend would do. The lad needed you along. He needs the both of us.”
“And I need a saucer of milk. And you need a truckload of food.”
“I’ve always been on the lean side.” Skelley sat down beside Bailey. “That’s how I got me name, you know. Skeleton, it is, but me master shortened it to Skelley. I always favored that name best.”
“Being bony doesn’t mean you don’t get hungry,” Lucinda said.
Bailey wished she wouldn’t talk about being hungry. It was making his stomach rumble and he was having enough trouble trying to keep his head from floating clear away. Even with his eyes tight shut, the ground was rocking under him. Not only that, but Lucinda and Skelley sounded faraway even though he knew they were right beside him.
Skelley was still trying to reassure Lucinda. “Don’t be worrying, Miss Lucinda. I mind the time I fell off old Asaph one night. Knocked me out cold for a bit, and then it was some time before I could think straight again. We’ll just rest here a spell until the lad comes around.”
They quit talking and Bailey thought he should open his eyes and tell them he was okay. He was okay. His head wasn’t spinning now and felt attached to his body again. When he peeked out past his paw, the trees were no longer dividing into twos. Everything looked the way it was supposed to look. But he didn’t sit up.
He kept his paw over his eyes and tried not to think about why he didn’t want to open his eyes. Instead he thought about food, but that made his stomach growl. He thought about how the thorn in his foot hurt even when he wasn’t walking on it. He wanted to lick his foot again to see if he could get rid of the thorn, but he didn’t. Then his ear started to itch, but he didn’t sit up to scratch it.
Finally he thought about Lucinda in the tree over his head. She was why he didn’t want to open his eyes. The hum wasn’t sounding in his ear anymore. It was gone. He couldn’t hear it at all no matter how hard he listened.
How could he tell Lucinda that?
(To be continued.)