May 17, 1966
Jocie Brooke here reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky, the town where not much ever happens. Sigh. Dad says I should be glad not much happens in our hometown. Wes says I need to pay attention and see that things are happening all around me. And Zella says I need to quit making so much happen and stay out of her hair.
Funny, how people see things in different ways. Kids like me generally see things a lot different than people like Zella. Now Wes, he’s not like other grown ups. He has that Jupiter point of view that makes everything a little zany.
Do you think there were zany people in the Bible? There are certainly some sort of zany stories. Like David killing a giant with a slingshot. Now if I told you that story without you knowing it was in the Bible, you probably wouldn’t believe it. Or Jesus making mud to put on the blind man’s eyes and then telling him to go wash it off in the pool of Siloam.
Think about that. I don’t know how far the man had to go to get to the pool of Siloam but he had to find his way there without being able to see. With mud on his eyes. Can you imagine what he must have been thinking? He was just sitting there begging. In John 9 where his story is told in the Bible it doesn’t even say he was asking Jesus to heal him. It says the disciples asked about why he was blind and then Jesus said it was so the works of the Lord could be revealed. And then Jesus mixed his spit with clay and made mud to put on the blind man’s eyes and told him to go wash it off in the Pool of Siloam. What do you think the blind man was thinking about then? How do you think the mud felt on his eyes? Cool probably. Maybe he felt the Lord’s love in the hands that put the mud on his eyes. Maybe that gave him the courage to do what Jesus said. Because he was still blind. He had to find his way to the pool. He might have had to go up to somebody with mud on his face and ask them to lead him to the pool. Or maybe one of Jesus’ followers helped him. But somehow he got there and did what Jesus said. And then he could see.
When you think about it that’s kind of a zany story. Jesus could have just touched his eyes and made him see. He did sometimes, but this time he did it in a different way. Different can be good. And I doubt anything about that day ever felt boring to that man. So maybe I shouldn’t worry about things happening and just do what Wes says and open my eyes and pay attention to what might already be happening. Might be something zany.
Poor Bailey is feeling like some zany things and not very good things are happening in his story. Nothing at all like he expected would happen when he finally found Reid. Now what? Time to find out.
BAILEY’S BUG by Jocie Brooke
(Continued from last week. The whole story up to now is under Bailey’s Bug up at the top of this article.)
Mrs. Alexander came out the door and swung her towel at Bailey again, but this time Bailey dodged. Reid followed her outside.
“This is not Bailey,” she said. “Look at him. He’s shaggy and a funny brown color and his ribs are showing.”
Bailey stopped barking and fastened his eyes on Reid. Reid would know him. Reid had to know him.
But Reid’s eyes were getting all watery as his mother went on. “You know that Bailey and Lucinda are with the Robinsons. Remember, we decided they had to stay there until we can get a fence built here to keep Bailey in.”
Bailey’s tail sagged down to the ground when he heard Reid sigh. His boy said, “I know, but I wish this could be Bailey. Can’t we feed him something anyway? He looks hungry.”
“I don’t think we should feed a stray. Goodness knows what sort of fleas and such that dog might have. Now come along. You’ll be late for school.” Reid’s mother reached to open the door.
Bailey heard keys rattling in her hand. They were going to get in the car and drive away. He had to do something. In desperation, he made a dive to catch Reid’s leg to stop him.
Mrs. Alexander shrieked and jerked Reid into the house. “That dog tried to bite you. I’m calling the dogcatcher.”
“But Mama, you said I’d be late for school.”
“You’ll just have to be late. We can’t leave a vicious dog like that on the loose.”
Vicious? She couldn’t be talking about him. Bailey wanted to bounce around some more, try one more time to get Reid to see it was really him, but the mouse Lucinda had brought him the morning before was nothing but a faint memory. He felt too tired to make his tail twitch. His head drooped almost the the ground.
When Mrs. Alexander disappeared into the house, Reid slipped back outside. “Poor old dog,” he said. “I know you weren’t trying to bite me. You just wanted me to stay out here with you.”
Bailey found enough energy to flap his tail once or twice.
“You look so hungry.” Reid pulled a sandwich out of his lunch bag. “Here. You can have this.”
Bailey gobbled it down in two bites. He’d almost forgotten how good people food tasted.
Reid laughed. “You eat like Bailey too.” Then Reid’s smile faded away. “I wish you were Bailey. I miss him.”
Bailey wagged his tail extra fast and tried to lick Reid’s face. It did no good. Reid still didn’t know him.
“You’re a nice old dog.” Reid stood up to go back in the house. “But we can’t keep you. Dad is going to build that fence so we can get Bailey and Lucinda again. Lucinda’s a cat and she doesn’t need fences but we couldn’t get her and not get Bailey too. That wouldn’t be fair.”
Bailey listened. If only he knew what to do. But he’d already barked until his throat hurt and done his silly stiff-legged jumping dance and gotten close enough for Reid to smell him. But Reid still didn’t know him.
Before he shut the door, Reid said, “You better run away. Mama is talking to the dogcatcher. She doesn’t like dogs much. Not even Bailey.”
Bailey wanted to tell Reid he wasn’t afraid of dogcatchers. He wanted to tell him that he’d faced down monster bulldozers and coyotes and almost drowned and gone mile and miles without food to find Reid, but he couldn’t say any of that so Reid would understand. All he could do was look at Reid and whine and wish Lucinda was there to tell him what to try next. She would surely know some way to make Reid see that he was Bailey.
(To be continued)