*** WARNING: The rest of this post is entirely nonsensical and purely imaginative -- thus please do not speculate that this is truth...well, it is in a fictional sense (the truth of the characters)***
I had a dog named Freddy.
Freddy smelled horrid. Golly, if I could have put that dog through the wringer without making a sausage of him, I would have. The darn thing was so smelly he made my grandma's nose hair stand up...and that's saying a lot, seeing as my grandma lost her sense of smell when she was a teen.
Grandma lived on a farm with lots of pigs and cows. Her main job was mucking out the barn, which is why I fear she lost her ability to enjoy the great wafts of delight that often come upon one in the country. Might also be the reason her pies are always just a tad off. Don't tell her I said that.
Back to Freddy. That ugly little mop of knotted fur and burs came running up to the front porch one day, all whining and whimpering and generally causing such a ruckus that the baby woke up. I really don't like screaming babies. So while momma was taking care of one noisy rascal, I decided to deal with the other.
"Freddy. Gosh darn it you old mud-rag! Go on, git outta here!" I slammed the front door, resulting in a sudden wave of screaming baby noises to follow me out of the house like some furious tsunami.
"KALE!! DON'T SLAM THE DOOR!!" Mother's yell was loud enough to make the eardrums of a pig start wobbling off their normal curvature, or whatever happens when something loud disturbs that sense.
"SORRY!" I hollered back as I grabbed Freddy's scruff and dragged him off the porch, "C'mon dog, gosh darn it you're such a mess. Jest look at yer paws. Git those filthy things off the porch now." I gave the big mut a little push with my boot.
Freddy turned his head just slightly, looking back over his shoulder and up into my eyes with his large, liquid brown globes.
"Don't gimme that now. Git!"
The rascal dropped his gaze and proceeded to trot off happily, probably heading off to bathe in the water-filled pot holes on the driveway, now quite muddy from sitting in the post-rain environment all day. Or better yet, I snickered to myself as I turned my attention to the great red barn, maybe he's off to roll in manure again.
Pa always said manure was the best lotion for the skin. I kinda always doubted him, seeing as he was more than happy to wash off the grime at the end of the day. Chris and I always used to tease Pa, saying he should sleep in his dirty clothes if manure was that good for you. I remember that time like it was yesterday. Pa's retort was a pretty good one, I dare say. He looked us both in the eyes and, with a huge grin plastered on his face, he picked up a wad of cow dung with his pitchfork and threw it at us.
I guess I got pretty mad...yeah it was a joke and I sure as heck deserved that, but see, Chris was supposed to take me to the midsummer dance that evening. We never ended up going, cuz both of us smelled rank, even after using grandma's lye soap. Golly did my skin burn.
"Hey Kale! Go close that gate over there! Whiskey Bucket's gonna get loose again!"
Grandpa Travis' voice shocked me outta my reverie.
"On the double!" I replied.
The large wooden gate beside the big red barn had been swung wide open. Sally Lu, that little rascal. I gotta dump that kid in the water bucket...better yet, the pig trough. What a brat!
My younger sister could be blamed for everything. It was always Sally Lu this or Sally Lu that. One time she let all the chickens get loose in the yard before bed time. No one noticed until the next morning and that's only 'cuz the cat dragged in a wing for breakfast. My golly, the carnage was amazing -- it was like the Alamo all over again (even grandpa said that!); wasn't a darn chicken left alive. I'm certain it was Freddy's fault, but Momma insisted the coyotes came through in the evening. I still don't understand how no one heard that ruckus.
After securing the gate on the side of the barn, I popped my feet up on the lower bar and leaned myself over the top, letting my arms hang down and swing back and forth. Whiskey Bucket nickered at me and plodded over to nuzzle my hair and nip my ear. What a rascal.