Monday, November 24, 2014

Same Old Same Old

November 24, 1965

Jocie Brooke here reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky where as usual NOTHING is happening. Well, the sun comes up in the morning and goes down at night if that counts. Plus there's school, but that's the same old same old every day. Get up. Catch the bus. Ride forever. Have homeroom. Go to classes and try to stay awake to  listen to the teachers. Ignore boys doing silly stuff. Sneak time to talk to friends. Ride the bus home. Do homework that steals any time to read or write. Go to bed and get up the next morning when the sun comes up to do it all again. Sigh. 

Dad says I should be thankful. That the same old same old is good. He says I should be counting my blessings instead of complaining and wishing for something that I might be sorry happened. He said he remembers wishing for something to happen and then something did. The war. The next thing he knew he was far from Hollyhill and wishing, even dreaming that he could be home with the same old same old happening to him each day. 

I guess he's right. I mean Dad's always right. He's a preacher. He has to think about what's right and what's not all the time. And then figure out a way to tell the people at church. I guess I sometimes give him inspiration on those sermons because last Sunday he preached about Adam and Eve and how Eve was bored with her same old same old in the Garden of Eden. She shut her eyes to all the blessings around her and just wanted something different. Then along came the serpent with his temptation basket of apples to upend her world. 

That's not exactly the way Dad told it. His version sounded more Biblical and sermony. But I heard the lesson he was preaching right at me. When I told him that, he laughed and said he wasn't preaching at me directly. He was simply delivering the sermon the Lord laid on his heart and that if I felt like the words were for me, then that was the Lord's doing too. That's how sermons are supposed to work. How the Lord intends things.

It did work. I'm thinking about my blessings this week. Guess that's a good thing since Thanksgiving is this week. Wes will come to dinner and Miss Sally and Leigh. Leigh will come early to help us cook and Miss Sally is bringing pies. Pecan and pumpkin. I can't wait. So maybe this week won't be the same old same old. All week I'll keep count of things to be thankful for and maybe write about that next week. 

Wonder if Bailey is wishing for some of his same old same old instead of having to face off bulldozer monsters. But then he has to find his boy. Here's what happened next. 

Bailey's Bug by Jocie Brooke
  (Continued from last week. The full story up to now can be found under the Bailey Bug link in the menu up top.)


   Bailey pointed the direction with his nose and Skelley let them through alleys and twisting short cuts that kept them away from the streets choked with roaring and honking cars.

   Even with their roar, the cars weren't so scary to Bailey now. After all, he'd faced down with a bulldozer monster. When one zoomed up close to them, he stood his ground and barked to warn it away.     
   "They aren't so big." Bailey looked around at Lucinda and Skelley when it honked and then went on past. "Not like that bulldozer."
   "True enough,lad." Skelley bumped Bailey's side with his head to push him back from the road. "That bulldozer was a mighty masher, but these others have plenty of mashing power of their own. Besides, they're speedier than the bulldozer. It's best we don't tangle with either one."
   Lucinda growled and swiped her paw at Bailey's nose. "Dogs! Stop one bulldozer and you think you're invincible."
   She walked away, her tail high in the air. Bailey and Skelley followed her. They walked and walked until their feet were sore. Here and there they knocked over a trashcan to find a bite or two of food. 
   At last they came to a park with a big pond of water and nice big boulders around it. Lucinda stretched out on top of the rocks in the sun and went right to sleep while Bailey and Skelley settled down in the shade below her. 
   Skelley said if they kept going the way Bailey pointed, they would run into some big highways with rivers of cars. 
   "Best to wait for the dark of night to try crossing them. While they never really stop, the car rivers slow some at night. Makes crossing a bit safer." 
   "Are we safe here?" The high pitched scream of one of those cars with flashing lights sounded nearby.
   Skelley looked around. "A dog on his own is never entirely safe, but it appears nobody much is around to take notice of us. So we should be fine for a spell."
   Bailey rested his head on his paw. His neck still hurt, but he guessed it was good he had a neck to hurt after the tussle with the bulldozer. 
   To keep from thinking about his neck or how far they still needed to go, Bailey looked at the old dog and asked, "Have you been on your own a long time, Skelley?"
   "It seems so. Not sure how long. Lost count of the months some time back."
   "I'm sorry." Bailey thought about Reid and how good it would be to see him again.
   "For a truth, I miss me master." Skelley sighed. "But I have me memories of him and I've made my way." The old dog laid his paw gently on the painted stick.
   "Did that belong to him?" Bailey sniffed the end of the stick. "Is it a circus stick?"
   "Ye could call it that, I suppose. Me master used it when we were out in the ring doing our tricks. He'd tap it on the hoops I was to jump through or point it toward me when I'd done a trick so the folks would clap."
   "Did they clap a lot?"
   The old dog's eyes got a dreamy, faraway look. "That they did, Bailey lad. That they did. Folks are different when they come to the circus. Ready to laugh and have fun. For a truth the circus is a fine place when the show is going on."
   "Were there clowns and lions?" Bailey tried to remember the things Reid had talked about when he came home from the circus.
   "That and more. Clowns that made the little tykes laugh and lions that made them gasp. The Martino family flew through the air on trapezes and leaped from one to another. Our elephant, Anne Marie was her name. She could balance on one foot and stand on her head. Aye, it was grand, it was."
   "I'd like that. To be in a circus."
   Lucinda raised her head up to look down at him. "What trick would you do? You remember when Reid tried to get us to do that awful trick after he'd been to the circus." Lucinda shuddered. "You couldn't even make two circles with me on your back without falling on your face."
   "Miss Lucinda has a point. A dog has to know some tricks to be in a circus. All the animals do. Even the lions and tigers jumped through hoops and sat on stools. Snarling to be sure, but they did it. Very exciting it was too."
   "I'm not too good at tricks." Bailey thought about the plastic toy that he could fetch and brightened. "But I can make people laugh. I could be a clown dog."
   "That I can believe." Lucinda snorted and lay her head back down on the rock. "But if you're going to join a circus, tell me now so I can head back to the Robinsons' house."
   "Do you want to go back, Lucinda?" Bailey sat up and waited for her to open her eyes. "If you do, maybe you should go now. Because we're not going to get there before night again. I think it's still a long way to wherever Reid is."

(To be continued.



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Church People Stories from the 1910's

November 17, 1965

Jocie Brooke here reporting from the Mt Pleasant Church in Holly County, Kentucky. We had a big day at the church on Sunday. The church women had a dinner for this couple who have been going here to church since before cars. Mr. and Mrs. Jeffries tell me they showed up at church in a buggy when they got married fifty years ago.

That was 1915. Wow! I can't even imagine 1915. Right before World War I. But Mr. Jeffries says they didn't call it WW I. They called it the Great War that was going to end all wars. He had to go over to France in 1917 and fight in that war. 

Right after he left, Mrs. Jeffries found out she had a baby on the way. She has some great stories to tell about that time too. She went back to live with her parents out on the farm. They went here to church too, but they've moved on up to heaven now. Anyway, she talked about how worried she was for Mr. Jeffries and how the church had prayer meetings to pray for the soldiers. Then the influenza epidemic broke out and everybody was afraid to go anywhere. Those that weren't sick already. Dad says a lot of people actually died from the flu. That sounds awful, doesn't it? Anyway, Mrs. Jeffries says she stayed out on the farm and tried to keep her baby from getting sick. Her mother made these garlic amulets, necklace like things, for her to wear to ward off the germs. Mrs. Jeffries laughs and says it was pretty stinky perfume, but she didn't get the influenza. 

Mrs. Jeffries laughs a lot. Dad says she's not really all that old, but sixty-six sounds pretty old to me. She got married when she wasn't much older than I am now. Sixteen, but she says that wasn't so unusual back then. It was just hard when the war broke out and then later they had to make it through the Depression years. They have a lot of stories and Dad says I should listen. So maybe I'll take my notebook with me next time we go see them and get her to tell me more. 

But right now, I'm going to tell you a little more of Bailey's story.

Bailey's Bug by Jocie Brooke
  (continued from last time - read the whole story so far up top under Bailey's Bug in the menu line.)

{Bailey just escaped from the bulldozer monster but he's worried they're still too close. The thing is roaring at them.}

    Lucinda must have agreed that the monster was too near. "I think you both need to quit yapping so we can get out of here."
    "Right ye are, Miss Lucinda," Skelley agreed. "Two narrow escapes in one morning is more than enough. We might be a bit shaky to outwit the dogcatcher as well. I'll see you safe out of the neighborhood, then start hunting a new place to live." He gave the pile of rubble that had been his house a sad look.
    "Why don't you come with us?" Bailey said.
     Skelley's eyes lit up. "Ye mean share your adventure? It's been many a day since I've been on a real adventure. And for a truth, just thinking about yours was making my feet get a little itchy."
    "Adventure," Lucinda muttered. "I'll take a nap in the sun over adventure any day."
    Bailey barely heard her. Even the monster bulldozer's growl behind him didn't sound so loud anymore. He was hearing the hum inside him again. 
    "This way," he said.
    He headed off down the street, all of the sudden feeling so free that his feet barely skimmed the walk and his tail swooshed back and forth.
    "What's the matter with you?" Lucinda hissed as she dodged his tail. 
    "I feel good. Really good." He paused a second to figure out why. "Because I don't have to drag that nasty leash along with me now."
    "But you lost your collar too. Makes us look homeless for sure."
    Skelley spoke up. "Don't ye be worrying, Miss Lucinda. The lad and will see to it that no harm comes to you."
    "Humph." Lucinda snorted. "The lad does well to keep from tripping over his own feet."
    "Aye, there could be truth to that," the old dog admitted. "But he did stop the bulldozer before it knocked the house down on us."
   Bailey's feet felt even lighter until he was almost floating at the old dog's praise.
   Lucinda brought him back to earth. "Then the bulldozer stopped him."

(To be continued.) 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veteran's Day in Hollyhill

November 11, 1965

Jocie Brooke reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky. Veteran's Day. That means a lot in our house because my dad is a veteran of World War II. In fact, our whole town is full of veterans of that war and some of World War I too. Then there's the Korean War veterans too and now the Vietnam War. I told Dad it seems like some kind of war is going on all the time. He said the Bible talks about wars and that maybe true peace won't be possible here on earth but that we can have the "peace that passeth understanding." You know like that song we sing in Bible School. "I've got the joy, joy, joy down in my heart." 

That peace that passes understanding line is straight from a Bible verse, you know. I'll have to ask Aunt Love to tell me where. She knows where every verse is, I think. She says I would too if I spent more time learning Scripture to keep forever in my heart instead of reading those Hardy Boy mysteries. Sigh. I guess she's right. 

But back to Veteran's Day. We always treat Dad really good on Veteran's Day in thanks for serving our country. He was in a submarine through most of the war. I can't even imagine that. Being down deep in the ocean and having to worry about torpedoes that might keep the submarine from ever surfacing. I am so glad Dad did come home. He's the best and I love him bunches and heaps. 

So thank you, veterans, for keeping America free. Dad says we should never forget our soldiers and he's right.

(I didn't have time to write about Bailey and Lucinda this week. Maybe the teachers will give us a break on homework this next week and I can get back on the road with them to see what happens next. I'm finding something out. It's not that easy to write a story!!)

Monday, November 3, 2014

Little Golden Tree

November 3, 1965

Jocie Brooke here reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky. Ahh, Autumn! A lot of the trees have lost their leaves. We had a windy rain last week. I had to rake leaves all day on Saturday. Then Sunday I raked Miss Sally's yard. 

Dad says it's okay to work on Sunday if it is to help somebody and besides raking leaves is more fun than work. I just love jumping in piles of leaves. 

And look at this cute little golden tree. Miss Sally says it's a pawpaw tree and that maybe next year it will have some fruit and I can eat one. Dad says it tastes sort of like a banana but Wes says more like a Jupiter bababa. Whatever that is! 

Makes me want to write a song. Did you ever dream up a song? "Little golden tree. Little golden tree." Uh, now I'm stuck. That makes me remember poor stuck Bailey. Guess I better try to rescue him from the bulldozer monster. 

BAILEY'S BUG by Jocie Brooke

(Continued from last week. The nasty leash has got caught in the bulldozer wheel and is choking Bailey.)

   "You're going to have to pull harder, Bailey." Lucinda's voice was right in his ear.
   He was glad she had come back for him, but he could only gasp while brown spots floated in front of his eyes.
    "Come on, lad. One more good jerk." Skelley was there too. "Miss Lucinda and I will give ye a bit of help. Ready? Heave Ho!"
    Skelley grabbed Bailey's tail in his teeth and Lucinda hissed at him to pull harder. Bailey tried, but it wasn't any use. The leash had him and the leash never gave up. He was doomed. The leash was going to feed him to the monster. 
   Then just when Bailey thought his neck was going to break, something popped. Bailey fell back from the bulldozer as the monster wheel chewed up the leash. 
   Bailey scrambled to his feet and scooted away from the bulldozer. Lucinda streaked ahead of him. Skelley grabbed his painted stick and was two steps behind. A loud cracking sound stopped them. They looked back to see the old house fall with a booming whoosh.
   Skelley laid his baton down and stared at what was left of the house. "'Twas as fine a place as I've had for many a moon, but for a truth, it's gone now. And lucky we are that we aren't gone with it." He looked at Bailey and Lucinda. "I have the two of ye to thank for that."
   Bailey was easing his head to the left, then the right. No matter which way he moved, it hurt. Besides that, his insides were shaking because the bulldozer monster was still growling. Way too loud. He eased back a few steps. 

(To be continued)