October 13, 1965
Jocie Brooke here reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky. Don't you think it's kind of sad when all I have to report on is a pot of burgoo? Even the word sounds weird. Burgoo. I like words and how sometimes they just seem to sound like they should. Like soft. Even the word sounds soft. Or violet. When that word runs across your tongue you just know it's going to stand for something pretty. But burgoo. Just say that word. It can't be good. I looked up what it meant in the dictionary. "A thick soup or stew, typically made for an outdoor meal."
That's what it is in Hollyhill. There's this one family that has the recipe and they've passed it down from father to son. They build a fire outside and put this huge iron pot on a stand over it. Then they dump in all this meat and onions and potatoes and corn and tomatoes along with some secret spices and cook it all day long. They have big oar like paddles they use to stir it. Can't let it stick to the bottom of the kettle. Then at the end of the day when the stuff looks like red goo (it ought to be called redgoo instead of burgoo), people start lining up at the kettles with sauce pans for the men to dip them some of that hot goo.
You have to bring your own pan and spoon. Everybody knows that. But once you have your dip, you still can't tell what you're eating. Except that it's got stringy meet in the goo part. And ever once in a while you spot a grain of corn that didn't cook up into mush.
Dad loves it. Says he used to think about eating burgoo again while he was at sea during the war. Wes says it's not bad for roadkill stew. He just says that to make me go ewww. There's no roadkill in it. At least, I don't think there is. Beef mostly. Maybe some chicken. Could be it's better to not think about what's in it and just eat it if you're hungry enough. And who knows? Maybe someday I'll be hungry enough.
Have you ever eaten burgoo?
For sure, Bailey would if he got a chance. You can check out the next scene for Bailey and friends below.
BAILEY'S BUG by Jocie Brooke
(Continued from last week or you can read it all in the pages the Bailey's Bug link up in the top line.
“Aye for a truth,” Skelley said. “I’ve been in twenty-two of them meself, but me old master used to promise we’d see them all sooner or later.” The old dog’s face drooped. “But then he died, he did.”
Bailey put a paw over Skelley’s. “I’m sorry.”
“Well, he was old like I be now, but I did wish him more life.” Skelley ran his nose along the painted stick. “This ‘tis all I have left of him. I’ve kept it with me ever since the circus left me behind. Without me master I just couldn’t get me heart into me old tricks, and in a circus tent, every man and beast has to earn his way to keep the ringmaster from giving him the boot.”
“My boy went to the circus once and tried to teach me the tricks he saw a dog do there. You remember, Lucinda?”
“Please. I’d rather not think about that disaster.” Lucinda shuddered.
“Our boy, Reid, talked her into it,” Bailey said.
“What was the trick?” Skelley’s ears perked up a little.
“Lucinda stood on my back while I went in a circle. That was what was supposed to happen anyway. We made one circle but then I maybe went too fast and Lucinda fell kersplat.”
“I did no such thing.” Lucinda lifted her nose toward the ceiling and huffed. “I landed on my feet, I’ll have you know.”
Bailey lowered his voice. “She went up on in a tree and stayed there till dark.”
“Not everybody’s meant for the big top, for a truth,” Skelley said. “But that sounds something like the very trick I used to do for me master. I’d balance on Asaph. That was our pony and Josephine the cat would balance on my back. Old Asaph would trot in a circle, and we’d hop through a hoop and land on his back again.”
“Wow. That sounds like some trick.” Bailey looked at the old dog with new admiration.
“Aye, it was grand. The crowds would practically lift the tent top with their cheers.” Skelley looked at the wall as if he was still hearing those cheers. Then he shook his head a bit. “But it was your story I was hoping to hear. How is it ye plan to find this boy of yours?”
“He has a bug in his ear,” Lucinda said. “If you can believe such a thing.”
“Not a real bug.” Bailey swiped at his ear with his paw. “But there’s something there. A kind of hum that tells me which way to go to find Reid.”
“I knew a pigeon that could do that. They’d take him far from home and turn him loose and every time he flew straight back,” Skelley said.
“Bailey’s not a pigeon and he’s never been over a mile from home.” Lucinda swatted at a cobweb drifting down toward her. “We will never find Reid. We should have stayed put and let Reid find us.”
“Could be that ‘twould have been the sensible thing to do, Miss Lucinda. But I’m betting the lad here will find your boy.”
Lucinda snarled and went back to grooming her legs. Skelley looked at Bailey. “Which way would this bug or whatever be sending you now?”
Bailey stood up and cocked his ears, but the hum was drowned out by a terrible rumbling noise. He started trembling, but it wasn’t just him. The whole house was shaking.
“Tis only the bulldozer.” Skelley yelled in Bailey’s ear. “It seems the whole street is condemned but we’re safe enough in here.”
“Condemned? What does that mean?” Bailey asked.
“Not for certain, but no people ever come around to bother me here.”
Bailey could barely hear him. The roar was getting louder by the second.
Lucinda pushed her nose against the window and peered through the dusty pane. She shrieked and leaped down as the window shattered and sprayed glass down around them. A trickle of blood appeared on Skelley’s head. Then the big metal dozer blade bit through the wall.
“Run,” Skelley shouted when the dozer pulled its blade back. “Before it comes back.”
The old dog slipped out the hole first and held the plank up for Lucinda. Bailey followed her out, but the nasty leash jerked at his neck and held him back. Bailey grabbed it and yanked until his teeth hurt. It gave up and trailed Bailey out just as the dozer blade banged into the house again.
They were racing to safety when Skelley yelled, “Me master’s baton.”
Bailey grabbed at the old dog’s tail to keep him from turning back, but he missed. Skelley ran back toward the house while pieces of roof raining down on them. He disappeared through the hole into the house.
(to be continued next Monday)