June 29, 1966.
Jocie Brooke here reporting from Holly County, Kentucky. Oh no!! Look what I spotted in Miss Sally’s garden. If she’s got cabbage about to start making a head, then I’m pretty sure every other member of the Mount Pleasant Church does too. That’s a BIG oh no. I hate cabbage! Who could want to eat that stuff. Have you ever smelled it while it’s cooking?? Maybe not as bad as mustard greens, but still plenty yucky. So yucky it draws flies.
The cabbage starts boiling, the flies line up on the screen door to find a way in to get to whatever is making that smell. You have to remember that flies like, actually like, dead things. So to them the smell is probably good. Great even. But not to me!! And then I have to eat it. At least, we do always have cornbread to go with the cooked cabbage. I do like cornbread. Pioneers lived on corn pone, didn’t they? So I can make it on cornbread for a day or two.
Sometimes Aunt Love boils a lot of cabbage because everybody at church wants to get rid of a few heads and passes them off to us. I have never understood why they never have an over abundance of strawberries or radishes or corn. Well, they do give us a lot of corn too. That’s good. I like corn.
Dad says I should be thankful for the Lord’s provisions. I suppose he’s right, but I just can’t put cabbage on my thankful for list. It’s right there on my not thankful for list right below turnips. So when we say grace on cabbage nights, I just think about how thankful I am for cornbread.
What food do you have to eat that you don’t like all that much?
Of course, Bailey and Lucinda would have been thankful for any kind of food on their journey. They say it’s a good thing for grasshoppers and mice. Right now they’re not thinking much about food. They’re thinking about their friend, Skelley.
BAILEY’S BUG by Jocie Brooke
(Continued from a couple of weeks ago. The whole story is under the title up at the top of this article.)
They kept vigil over Skelley’s body all night long. They couldn’t let the coyotes have him. So, at first light, Bailey dug a hole in the soft ground. Then with care he scooted Skelley into the hole. Lucinda helped him push the dirt in on top of the old dog. Then she found a yellow flower and laid it on top the dirt. Bailey found a stick to put there too. It wasn’t Skelley’s painted stick, but it was the best he could do.
Then they sat there for a long moment before Lucinda said, “I’ll miss the old dog. Skelley wasn’t like most.”
Bailey stared at the grave. He didn’t feel like talking. He did feel like howling, but Skelley wouldn’t want him to howl. So instead he thought about the first time he saw him half in and half out of that big trash thing. He remembered Skelley’s circus stories and the way the old dog was always ready for whatever adventure came his way next.
Was Bailey ready for whatever happened next? He looked over at Lucinda who had started washing her paws. But then she stopped and just sat there with her eyes shut. He tried to wait until she said something else, but he couldn’t. He had to know.
“Do you think we can do it?” he asked.
She opened her eyes and looked at him, but she didn’t look mad. “We have to try. For Skelley.”
So they started off, leaving Skelley behind, but somehow taking him with them too. He seemed to be running along beside them with more energy than he’d ever had and whispering in Bailey’s ear that he could do it. By the time they left the woods behind and began across the open fields toward the town, he was beginning to think maybe they could.
When they were halfway across the first field, they stopped for a drink at a little creek. He stared at the water to see if he could see Skelley’s reflection.
“Why are you staring at the water?” Lucinda asked.
“I thought maybe I could see Skelley.”
“We buried him.”
“I know, but it’s like he’s still with us.”
“Don’t be silly,” Lucinda said.
“You don’t feel him with us?” Bailey raised his head and looked around.
“Of course not.” But Lucinda wouldn’t meet his eyes and her tail gave an extra twitch. So he knew she did even if she wouldn’t admit it.
It was almost suppertime when they got to the town. They stopped behind some bushes so that Lucinda could do a complete head to tail wash before they went on to Reid’s house. Bailey rested his head on his paws and watched her.
When she had finished washing to the very tip of her tail, he asked, “What if doing the trick doesn’t work? What if Reid still doesn’t know me?”
“It will work,” Lucinda said, but she still didn’t look at him. “Come on.”
Bailey stood up. “Do you know how circus music sounds?”
“I think it has to be happy music.”
“Skelley did look really happy when he heard it.” Bailey remembered how the dog said his master was calling him.
“He did.” Lucinda looked up at the sky a moment. “He would say it’s music that makes a circus dog step high and do his best tricks.”
“I’ll try to do my best,” Bailey said.
Lucinda looked over at him and sighed. “Well, just try not to trip over your own feet like you did the last time we tried this balancing act. That’s all I ask.”
(To be continued next week.)