May 10, 1965
Jocie Brooke here reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky on the day after Mother’s Day. Everybody always makes such a big deal out of Mother’s Day. I guess that’s good. Most mothers need a day when they are a big deal. But I don’t much like Mother’s Day. You see, not everybody has a good mother. I didn’t.
As Dad likes to say, good mothers don’t grow on trees. They’re made by God. I used to wonder if that was true how come God didn’t make me a better one. My mother never liked me. I was a pest. Unwanted. A bother. She never hit me or anything like that. I used to wish she would since that would prove she knew I was there. But no. She just pretended I didn’t exist.
Sometimes I wondered if I was invisible. And after I got over my mother wishing I was, I decided being invisible might be fun. That’s when I started sneaking up close to people talking in the church yard after Sunday services to see if they would notice me eavesdropping. They hardly ever did, but unfortunately I was never invisible to Dad. I got into big time trouble with that eavesdropping stuff.
But even though my mother was the pits, I had a great grandmother. Mama Mae loved me. She wasn’t in a big hurry to go to heaven, but I guess the Lord was in a hurry for her to get up there and start planting flowers for Him. She died planting tulips one year. So whenever I see tulips, I imagine Mama Mae smiling down from heaven on me.
Aunt Love took over for Mama Mae helping Dad out at the house and trying to make me behave. The two of us have had our rough spots, for sure. I don’t exactly act the way Aunt Love thinks a preacher’s daughter should. Maybe I don’t. But Dad loves me anyway and Aunt Love and I mostly put up with one another. She doesn’t hug my neck or anything but she does sometimes say something nice to me now and again. And I try really hard to not get on her nerves. She has enough problems with the forgetfulness without me messing with her nerves too.
So everybody doesn’t have a loving mother. Some mothers don’t kiss their kids’ skinned knees or teach them prayers at night or tucks them in at night. Some are like me with mothers who never wanted them and just don’t like them all that much. What do we do on Mother’s Day when everybody else is hugging moms and singing their praises? I guess I remember Mama Mae and think of her tulips. And sometimes I feel sorry for myself and cry.
On to the next episode of Bailey’s Bug.
BAILEY’S BUG by Jocie Brooke
(Continued from last week)
The next morning, the big yellow monster bus roared down the street and woke Bailey. That meant Reid would be shooting out the door and down the walk. The bus would stop, open its door and swallow Reid up. It would be hours before it brought Reid back.
Bailing jumped up and shook to get ready. He had to keep Reid from being swallowed by the bus. Instead he had to get him to follow Bailey back to Skelley and Lucinda.
Bailey’s throat got tight. The bus might be as hard to face down as the bulldozer. The monster bus was always blowing its horn if Reid was a second late coming out of the house. Bailey wouldn’t have but a couple of minutes before Reid disappeared into the bus.
If only Lucinda was there to tell him what to do. She’d know. Lucinda always knew.
But she wasn’t there and the bus was getting closer. Bailey stared at the front door of the house, ready to charge in front of Reid when he came outside. Just the thought of seeing Reid again made Bailey’s tail do circles in spite of the bus coming.
His tail lost its wag when the bus passed by the house without so much as slowing down. It didn’t even honk. Bailey stared at the door behind him. Was he at the wrong house, after all? Bailey took a big sniff, and his tail started wagging again. Reid was there. He hadn’t come out the door, but he was there, somewhere inside.
Bailey couldn’t wait a second longer. He banged his paws up against the door and barked for all he was worth. The door stayed closed. He ran around to the back of the house. That was how he had to go into the house. Through the back. He found the back door and jumped against it.
He couldn’t quit barking. His ears were ringing. Bailey didn’t know the door was opening until Reid’s mother was there, staring at him.
The sight of Mrs. Alexander made Bailey bark even louder. He whipped his tail back and forth and hopped around the porch.
Reid’s mother didn’t look happy. She looked mad. She stepped out the door and smacked Bailey right in the face with a towel. “Get away from here, you mangy mutt.” She snapped the towel at him again. “Go on. Get!”
Bailey looked behind him to see what she was chasing away. Nothing was there. She couldn’t be intending to hit him with the towel. She couldn’t be telling Bailey to get. He must have been making so much noise he hadn’t heard her right.
“I hear a dog, Mama.”
At the sound of Reid’s voice, Bailey got so excited his barks were high, yipping sounds. Then Reid was right there in the door. Bailey tried to push past Mrs. Alexander to lick him. Mrs. Alexander swatted him across the eyes and started closing the door.
“It’s just an old stray. I don’t know why he’s carrying on so.” Mrs. Alexander looked back at Bailey. “Get away, dog. Go on now.”
“He sounds like Bailey.” Reid was at the door with his books and lunchbox.
“All dogs sound the same. Even strays.”
“I don’t think so. Bailey sounds different. Sort of like this.”
Bailey barked louder and jumped even higher. Why couldn’t they see it was him?
(To be continued. To read the rest of the story just look for it up above.)