July 5, 1966
Jocie Brooke here reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky. Wow, did you see fireworks on the 4th? Leigh talked Dad into taking us to Lexington to the drive-in to watch the fireworks. We got to see the movie too. Sound of Music. It was wonderful. I loved it even more than the fireworks which were really neat and had lots of booms. It was a good thing Zeb wasn’t with us. He would have been whining and trying to hide under the car. Zeb is my dog, in case you forgot that. Wes didn’t go along. Said he’d seen plenty of fireworks in his time from up on Jupiter and he’d just hunker down and read a new Nero Wolfe mystery.
Stephen wasn’t too happy with the booms either. He’s the cutest little guy, but he didn’t understand where all the noise was coming from and it scared him. He tucked his head down against Dad’s chest and put his hands over his ears. He would have probably scooted under the car if Dad hadn’t been holding him. Tabitha tried to make him look up at the fireworks, but he wouldn’t. Dad says he’ll like them better next year when he’s older. He’s not even two yet, so he’s still a baby.
Okay, I finally finished Bailey’s Bug. Are you ready to read to the end? I don’t know what I’ll do now. Maybe I’ll write poems or something. But right now Bailey and Lucinda have finally found Reid’s house. What’s going to happen next?
BAILEY’S BUG by Jocie Brooke
(Continued from last week)
Lucinda liked the house. When she jumped up on the porch railing and walked its length twitching her tail back and forth, Bailey worried she might just curl up in the late afternoon sunshine and forget all about the trick.
But then she hopped down beside him. “Well, bark or something and let’s get this likely disaster over with.”
Bailey banged his paws against the door and barked until he heard Reid telling his mother that the dog who sounded like Bailey must be back.
Then Bailey scrambled off the porch and let Lucinda climb up on his back. He tried to imagine circus music as he very carefully placed each foot just so and trotted in a circle. On his back, Lucinda swayed first one way and then another but she didn’t fall off.
The door slammed open, and Reid was on the porch with his mother and father. “Look, Daddy, it is that dog, and he’s got a black cat with him that looks just like Lucinda. And wow, they’re doing that trick I tried to teach them after we went to the circus last year.” He started jumping up and down.
Bailey looked over at Reid and all at once, his front feet banged into one another and he stumbled. Lucinda let out a screech as she tumbled off his back.
Reid laughed. “It is Bailey.” He came running out into the yard to sling his arms around Bailey.
On the porch, Reid’s father said, “I guess I better go call the Robinsons.”
“And I’d better find them something to eat,” Mrs. Alexander said. “Lucinda looks like she needs a can of tuna fish.”
Out in the yard, Bailey wriggled loose enough from Reid’s hug to lick his face. Lucinda picked herself up off the ground, shook her fur into place and muttered, “Thank goodness, that’s over.”
Reid grabbed for her but she nimbly stepped out of his reach and headed for the porch steps to follow Mrs. Alexander into the house. Bailey didn’t care. That meant he got twice as much petting.
It was good to finally be home, and as he licked Reid’s face again, he wondered it that was how Skelley felt. Somewhere inside his head, Bailey thought he heard music again and this time he had no doubt that it was circus music. Skelley’s circus music.
A week later, it was almost as if Bailey and Lucinda had never been away from the Alexanders. The house was different, but the sunshine, the naps, the dishes of food were blissfully the same.
Lucinda liked to curl up on the porch railing in the afternoon, and sometimes she purred in her sleep. Bailey had endured a bath and being clipped. Now he looked like the old Bailey except for the bones that still showed along his sides. But he was working on that every chance he got.
Reid even got him another plastic toy. One afternoon while Lucinda napped on the railing, Reid threw it for Bailey. As Bailey chased it down and stopped its roll, he realized exactly how the trick was supposed to be done. He was supposed to take the toy back to Reid. Bailey picked it up and started toward Reid, but then he stopped. He lay down and fastened his paws over it to wait for Reid to come pull it away from him.
“You silly old dog.” Reid laughed as he jerked on the toy. “Aren’t you ever going to learn how to do this trick the right way?”
Bailey let him have the toy. When he stood up, he saw Lucinda watching him. Slowly, she closed one eye, and Bailey’s heart swelled up a little bigger in chest, glad she knew he’d not done the trick right on purpose.
Lucinda stood up and stretched before she moved to a brighter spot of sunlight. Reid was still laughing as he got ready to toss the plastic toy again. Bailey wagged his tail and waited. From somewhere inside him where Skelley would always live, he heard the old dog say, “Ye did just the right thing, lad. For a truth, we have to keep our masters happy.”
The plastic toy came flying toward him again. Everything was just the way it was supposed to be.