One summer, a simple country girl and a simple country feller cut the apron stings and united in the mayhem of marriage, err, I mean holy matrimony. They moved, unpacked, and mastered their culinary Top Ramen skills — all in the midst of their newfound collegiate adulthood where they gained higher levels of knowledge. And occasionally they stumbled upon educational opportunities outside of the brick and mortar school walls.
Read along for one such instance where they donned the professor caps…
We left our clothes swirling in soap and water, and instead of reading textbooks during the wash-n-spin cycles, we wandered around the mall. We always finished in the same place — that day was no different. Our collective drool dripped down the pet store display case and as we stared at a litter of black lab mutt pups, a pet store employee dumped a heap of Rottweilers in with the cute Labradors.
Immediately, a small lab pup raised up, crawled over the others, and stood before the newcomers, as if she was the self-appointed guardian for her baby brothers and sisters. She growled a little, yet effective, guttural threat at the obnoxious Rott-tots. They backed up in wide-eyed dismay at her daring ferocity.
“Why look at that!” I exclaimed as I pressed my finger against the window.
“Yeah. That one mutt is protecting all her kin,” said my husband.
In our self-induced puppy trance, we clasped hands, walked inside the pet store and sidled up to the bin of boisterous baby canines.
“She’s little, but she’s fierce,” I said as I nudged my husband.
“And she’s dang cute.”
I sighed and fixed my eyes on my man. “Hey, she reminds me of me. Does she remind you of me?”
“We gotta have her,” we said in unison.
Smiles and love glimmered forth, and then we began a frantic search for money. We emptied pockets, we pawned both our car’s spare tire and my husband’s belt buckle, and instead of using the quarter-hungry machines to dry our wet clothes back at the laundry mat, my husband dragged three sacks of soggy laundry to our rig. And I, I grasped one bundle of store-bought, wriggling puppy mutt. There sure was a lot of wagging and sloppy kissing going on whilst my husband drove us home.
Because I always wanted a dog named Elvis, or Earl, we debated heavy for a couple days before agreeing upon a name. Since the pup was a she instead of a he, my favorite names were nixed — until I had the bright idea to insert various letters in front to come up with a gender-friendly girl name.
We test-drove our alphabetical options.
“Here Pelvis! Here Pelvis!” didn’t sound so good but we tried again; P + Earl = Pearl. Bingo! Our first dog was a precious black Pearl.
Fast-forward a few months. Autumn had sprung. The serenity of bright blue skies and crisp leaves were shattered by the couple who lived below us as they intensified the training of their mighty, papered, and registered hunting dog, aptly named “Hound.” Secretly though, we were privy to his lack of know-how so we secretly called him “Blockhead.”
cough The dog. Not the man. Well, sometimes the man, too. cough
One afternoon my husband and Pearl snored in our makeshift sleeping bag bed on the floor as I prepped potatoes for the oven. I heard the neighbor man’s wife leave, and seconds later, the neighbor man knocked on our door. Pearl rushed the rude awakening with a menacing growl, but stopped short once I opened the door and she saw her wagging canine buddy on the porch with his master.
Our neighbor convinced my husband to take the dogs for “a mock grouse hunt” in the nearby field. Basically, the man wanted to show-off his dog’s dummy retrieving skills and his response to both voice and hand signal commands.
My obliging husband followed the man and his pedigreed dog with our eager mutt, who sleeps on our bed, lounges across the backrest of the couch, routinely eats wicker baskets, and who sometimes walks around in t-shirts (cause I think a dog in clothes is funnier than a dog without).
It’s been said that these here blog posts should be around 1000 words (or less),
so I reckon you you should come back tomorrow for the rest of the story.
But, if you see fit, keep reading.
If not, come back another day.
And read below.
Within an hour I heard the man put his barking dog into the condo unit below. Seconds later, our door flew open, Pearl wagged in, followed by my husband, and as I was shutting the door, the neighbor man squeezed through. He stood stoic and white-faced as he leaned against the entryway wall. My husband produced a dead grouse, and a poorly stifled grin.
“Hey, honey, look what we got!”
“Uh, I thought he was only practicing with Hound today.”
“Oh, they practiced all right. Hound did a pretty good job until the last dummy toss when he accidentally landed on an unsuspecting grouse. The grouse finally freed itself from beneath the dog’s belly and took off.”
“What did Hound do next? And where was Pearl?”
“Oh, Hound barked, chased his tail, and drooled a lot,” my husband said. Near giddy with excitement, my man continued with his story. “And the last time I’d seen Pearl, she was somewhere across the field following her nose. Anyway, when that grouse took flight, she ripped across the hillside at full tilt, jumped six feet off the ground, and caught that dang bird by the tail feathers.”
“Yeah, well, she doesn’t have a soft mouth like my dog. She broke its leg,” said our neighbor man in a huff.
“Well, there’s that. But dude, did you see her run? And what about that jump?!”
“I did. I did. And you are right, it was spectacular,” said the man as he focused on the floor.
“So, I’m assuming you have your bird-hunting license, right?” I said to our neighbor, who by the way, was enrolled as a second year law student.
“Um, not exactly.”
“Counselor, did you go grousing without a license? Well, at least you had permission from the landowner, right? I reckon you could get kicked out of law school over something like this.”
The man shook, all normal human color drained from his face, and his lower lip quivered.
This moment proved to be our first lesson in the School of Country Folk Common Sense. Well, actually it was the second lesson because as I later found out, my husband had already taken to the lectern with instructions on putting the injured grouse out of its aviary misery. Although neither of us had time to make a syllabus, draft an outline, or prepare a handout, we effortlessly continued with our country-tainted, real world instruction.
“Oh, for Pete’s sake, just leave the evidence here. The oven is still hot from the potatoes. My husband will dress it out, I’ll cut it, cook it, and you two can eat the proof. And if we play our cards right, no one will ever know what dastardly dog deeds went on in that field.”
My husband walked the pale man outside and returned to make the dead bird edible.
I baked a foul fowl and later that night as the two men ate grouse and ‘taters, they discussed the varied nuances and diverse methodologies of dog-rearing and birddog training.
Soon thereafter, I took the feathery trash out to the curb and a saw movement in the downstairs window. The great and mighty hunting dog stared at me with frightened eyes from the cushions of the forbidden couch. He wore a white t-shirt and had a party hat strapped to his big, brown blockhead.
Simply Darlene, what’s the moral to this story?
Oh, I’m glad that you asked because there are two. First, not all schooling needs books, but all learning needs some sense.
Second, it doesn’t matter if your pooch is pampered, papered, pedigreed, or pinstriped, he’s only going to catch what he’s got a mind to bite.
Sorta like us, aye? Whether we comfortably fall in with simple folks, country bumpkins, city slickers, saucy suburbanites, or worldwide wanderers, each of us has gotta exercise some mental acuity in our personal choice to chase after God and eat of His Word — otherwise, all we’ll do is wear dorky t-shirts and chase our little waggy tails.