Jocie Brooke here reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky. The first day of fall is here. Football games and Fall Festivals. Have you ever been to a chili supper and fall festival at a school? I used to love to go when I was a kid, but now that I'm fourteen going on fifteen, they aren't as fun as they used to be. But I still have to go. Dad and I both do. We have to take pictures for the paper. Dad says he doesn't believe he's ever been anywhere noisier than a fall festival. Especially when they have those clicker things for prizes. You know what I mean. Pieces of metal that you pinch and make a click sound. I loved getting them as prizes when I was in grade school. I still like them. I got two last weekend, but Dad told me I'd better not click them when I was in the car with him. Funny how noisemakers don't bother you when you're the one making the noise but drive you crazy when it's somebody else making the noise.
What's your favorite thing at a fall festival? Dad likes the cake walk, but then if you win, you're stuck with a cake you have to carry around. The duck pond is fun because everybody gets a prize there. More tin clackers or sometimes whistles. Dad says they are even worse and looks like teachers and parents would know to get prizes that weren't so noisy. Then you can throw bean bags at a target. I never won those, but I used to try all the games, even dunking for apples. A person could drown trying to bite an apple in a tub of water!
What fall festival games did you like?
And now for more from Bailey and Lucinda.
BAILEY'S BUG by Jocie Brooke
(continued from last post. Read it all in the Bailey's Bug link at the top of this report.)
Bailey is still on the road with Lucinda. In today's chapter, they meet a new friend.
In the morning, Bailey’s stomach growling woke him up, but he lay still. Lucinda’s eyes were shut. She might not be ready to wake up. Bailey’s left ear began to itch and little pins were sticking in his feet. Worse, he needed to find a bush. He was going to have to move and chance Lucinda’s temper.
A loud clang brought Bailey to his feet. Lucinda’s eyes flew open wide and she backed up against the fence and hissed. “See what it is.”
Bailey peeked around the corner of the trash bin. Nothing there. No people. No anything. A clang above his head made him jump again. Bailey looked up to see the skinniest dog ever, balancing on the edge of the bin opening. Bones looked like they were trying to break free of his skin.
The stranger pulled his head out of the trash bin to look down at Bailey. “And who might you be?” The words were muffled by the piece of bread in the dog's mouth.
“Bailey.” Bailey thought about barking really loud to see if that might make the other dog drop the bread, but that would be rude. Better to just stand there and let the saliva dribble out of the corners of his mouth. “How do you do that?”
The bread disappeared in the dog’s mouth. “What’s that, me lad?” he asked when his mouth was free once more.
“Stay there on the edge without falling in. I couldn’t even make it up to the opening last night.”
“Practice it takes, me lad. Many years of practice and a good bit more need of food than you’re showing.” The dog looked down at Bailey with dark eyes that laughed. Bailey didn’t mind. It was a nice kind of laughing.
Bailey’s tail tapped against the bin. “Maybe so, but I'm still hungry. Could you show me how to get something to eat from the bin too?” Bailey tried to sound respectful. ”When you're finished yourself, of course.”
The old dog laughed. “I fear this is a trick you could never learn, Bailey me lad. Not even with much practice.” The dog glanced back into the bin. “But it appears there’s a bounty of scraps this day. So I’d be honored to share vittles with the likes of you.”
The dog’s head disappeared back in the bin and then tossed out a few bits of bread with some meat still stuck to it.
“Be that enough, me lad?” The dog peered down at Bailey through his legs and tottered so that Bailey was sure the old fellow would fall in the bin or off it at any minute.
Bailey look at the bread. “Is there any milk in there?”
“Milk?” the dog said. “You are a particular beggar, for a truth. But let me give it a look see. If it’s on top I might be able to grab it.”
He slung out a few more scraps and then, with a yelp of discovery, jumped down to the ground to place a milk carton at Bailey’s feet. “There you go, lad. Enough milk for a bit of a sup, I should think.”
“Thank you.” Bailey wagged his tail. “Do you have a name?”
“Skelley, at your service, I’m sure.” The dog dropped down in a kind of bow that made Bailey forget how bony and old the dog looked.
“Skelley. So glad to meet you and thank you so much for the food. I haven’t eaten since yesterday morning.”
Skelley laughed and picked up one of the crusts. He rolled it around in his mouth before swallowing as though to get every bit of enjoyment from it. “No doubt the longest your stomach’s ever been deprived from the looks of you. Aren’t you going to drink that milk you wanted?”
Bailey looked at the milk and then blurted out. “What about cats? Do you like them?”
“Cats? Interesting questions so early in the morning. Especially for one who seemed so anxious to eat.”
“But I need to know what you think about cats?”
“Ah, cats.” The old dog sat back on his haunches. “Are we talking Siamese? Alley tomcats? Brindled cats? I knew a gray cat once, a jolly cat he was. Then, of course, there was Josephine who rode on me back in the circus ring.”
Bailey wasn’t sure what a circus ring was. He decided to ask exactly what he needed to know. “You’ve never chased them up trees or anything like that?”
“Aye, some perhaps when I was a mere snip of a pup. But the years have taught me cats always get to the tree first and then sit smugly up in the branches while you run circles down below looking the foolish one of the two.” Skelley’s forehead wrinkled in a frown. “Surely you don’t want to be off chasing cats before you have your bit of food.”
“Oh no. I don’t chase cats at all. It’s just I have this friend. Lucinda.” Bailey tried to think of the best words to tell Skelley about Lucinda.
Lucinda didn’t wait for him to say anything else. She came out from behind the bin. “You don’t need to third degree our new friend after he was kind enough to get us food.” Lucinda was practically purring as she looked at Skelley. “I thank you for the milk, sir.”
Bailey nudged the carton over to her. Skelley’s eyes looked bigger than ever in his bony face as he watched Lucinda tip over the carton to lap up its contents.
Then he lifted his lips in a dog smile. “I had the feeling this would be a banner day. The sky was promising sunshine. The cars were few and far between. The bin was stuffed so full the lid stood open. Now here the two of you are with a story to tell or I miss my bet.” Skelley picked up another bit of food. “But eat up, Bailey lad. The story can wait.”
He didn’t have to tell Bailey twice.
(To be continued.)