Monday, December 15, 2014

Loving December and Christmas on the Way

December 15, 1965
Jocie Brooke here reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky. About Christmas. Don't you just love December? Christmas comes in December and there is so much to love about Christmas. First no school for a couple of weeks. All right, that shouldn't have been first. Jesus being born should have been first. But He knows I'm ready for a break from school. All those tests and homework papers and teachers talk, talk, talking. I don't guess everything about school is bad. There are my friends. I like getting to talk to them. 

What else is fun about Christmas? Church programs and Sunday school times. See the card. Janie made this for me in Sunday school. Isn't it the sweetest card you ever saw? Janie is eight. So she's not in the Beginners class that where I help Miss Vangie keep all the little kids happy. Or at least sort of occupied and quiet. Thank goodness, Miss Vangie always brings vanilla wafers. Little kids love cookies. But Janie is in the Primary class. Miss Sally teaches that class. Janie does like to sit with me in church sometimes and so she made me this card. I like the presents under the tree, don't you? 

That's another thing that's fun about Christmas. Presents. I guess I shouldn't say that. People are always saying it's more blessed to give than receive, but I see that most everybody starts smiling when somebody hands them a present. But the giver is usually smiling too. And I do like getting presents for the people I love. I'll have to write Janie a little story about Christmas and give it to her. She'll like that.

Do you like getting presents or cards that people make especially for you? 

I'm writing this story especially for you. Maybe tonight we'll get Bailey across that road and into the dark beyond. Do you think he's going to be scared? 

Bailey's Bug by Jocie Brooke
   (Continued from last week. The whole story is under the Bailey's Bug title up top of the page.)

Chapter 9

   When Bailey said go, they raced across the first road to the middle. There they sat a while gathering courage to challenge the second road. Cars whooshed by on both sides of them and it was easy to imagine being stuck there on that narrow strip of grass forever. 
   Bailey stared toward where the lights always showed first on the road they still needed to cross. He could barely count to five from the time he saw the lights until they zoomed past. Would they be able to run fast enough? 
   "Well, are we going or not?" Lucinda demanded.
   "Going." Bailey stood up. No lights coming. "Now." He ran as fast as he could across the hard blacktop. Skelley passed him before he got to the other side. 
   Suddenly lights shone out and then a huge truck barreled down the road toward them. It blasted its horn when it caught them in its lights. The two dogs leaped into the ditch even though they were well off the road. 
   Lucinda stood her ground at the edge of the road and yowled at the truck. The sound was lost in the rush of its many wheels and the clatter of its trailer. She glared after it until the red lights on its back disappeared down the road.
   "Forget about him, Lucinda." Bailey jumped out of the ditch with Skelley behind him. "He didn't get us. We made it across."
   "Across." Lucinda looked back at the road. "Yes, we're across." She sounded very tired. "I guess we'll have to go on now." 
   Without another word, she marched straight toward the thickest dark under the trees.
   Bailey looked back at the road too. Back that way were lights and houses and people. Not Reid, but other people who might feed them. While on this side of the road, there was nothing but dark. What if the hum in his ear was wrong?
   He felt anything but sure as he followed Lucinda into the woods with his tail dragging the ground. All of the sudden, the road seemed easy compared to the spooky darkness under the trees. Even the big yellow bulldozer he'd fought that morning didn't seem so bad now when he thought about it. At least he could see it and know where it was. Anything could be hiding in the dark woods.
   Skelley didn't seem any more eager to enter the woods than Bailey. The baton rattled around in the old dog's mouth, and his bones gave a tremble under the hide stretched tight over them.
   "Just a bit of a chill," he said when he noted Bailey looking at him. "Me master used to say somebody had walked across his grave when he had a shake like this."
   Talking about graves didn't make Bailey feel a bit better. He laughed to hide his nervousness but it sounded shaky even to his ears.
   With eyes shining golden in the reflection of a passing car's lights, Lucinda glared at them from the edge of the woods. "Don't be scaredy dogs!" she said. "Nothing here but trees and bushes and a mouse or two."
   "How do you know?" Bailey caught up with her.
   "Cats can see better than dogs. Cats do everything better than dogs."
   With that, she turned and her black body blended in with the dark and practically disappeared.
   "We better be after her, lad," Skelley said. "We'd never forgive ourselves if any harm came to Miss Lucinda while we were back here dragging our feet."
   From the dark shadows ahead of them, they heard an exasperated meow. Bailey and Skelley scurried after her. 

(To be continued) 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Hollyhill Christmas Parade

December 8, 1965.

Jocie Brooke reporting from Main Street, Hollyhill, Kentucky. Well, I'm not actually standing on the street right this minute. I'm at home in my room, but a few minutes ago I was standing out there in the chilly air ready to cover the news. 

We don't usually do the parade at night, but Dad says the mayor is trying to shake things up a little. One thing for sure, the police car bubble lights look way more impressive in the dark. I took my camera to take pictures for the paper, and got some good ones while it was still daylight. You might see some of them in the Banner next week. But after dark, the flashbulbs weren't quite enough to capture great images. Still I liked this one of a couple of kids seeing Santa riding on the firetruck to finish up the parade. They looked like they knew it was a long way down here to Hollyhill from the North Pole. 

But I love parades. Well, most of the time. There was that one parade back last summer where some unwelcome guests crashed our 4th of July parade and brought Hollyhill some trouble. You can read about that in Orchard of Hope. But that was last year and this is now. Everything was peaceful for our Christmas parade. That's the way it should be. I mean, didn't the angels proclaim "peace, goodwill toward men!" when they told the shepherds about Jesus being born. 

I love Christmas stories too. Too bad I didn't have a Christmas scene in Bailey's Bug. But it's the middle of summer for them and Bailey, Lucinda and Skelley have to get across that great river of cars. Do you think they'll be brave enough to try to make it? I guess it wouldn't be much of a story if they aren't or if they don't make it. That would spoil everything, wouldn't it? 

BAILEY'S BUG by Jocie Brooke
   (Continued from last week)

   Bailey ignored the dark on the far side of the roads. Instead he watched the river of cars. There were two stretches of blacktop. On the side nearest them, the cars always came over a hill and down toward them. On the other side, the cars' lights seemed to appear from out of nowhere as they raced each other up the hill without slowing a bit. 
   They never changed directions. Never. Best of all, what looked like a narrow park with grass and bushes was smack in the middle of the two roads. They could hide out there for a while to gather courage to chase across the other road into the darkness beyond.
   Bailey stood up. "If we watch the top of that hill over there and wait until it's very dark with no lights coming, we can make it to the middle." Bailey pointed with his nose toward the hill. 
   "That we can, lad. Easy as jumping through hoops." Skelley flashed a grin, then picked up his baton to trot toward the road. 
   Lucinda stayed where she was, staring at the road and beyond. 
   "Are you too afraid to try it, Lucinda?" Bailey asked.
   "I'm not afraid of anything." Lucinda snarled at him. "I'm thinking."
   "It's good when you think." Bailey lowered his back haunches to the ground. "Let me know when you're through." 
   "Dogs!" Lucinda turned to glare at him. Her eyes glowed green in the lights of a car flying down the hill toward where they sat. After the car passed, she stood up, her tail straight up in the air. Then as if to convince herself to move toward the road, she said, "I suppose there will be sunshine in the morning wherever I am."
   "Indeed, Miss Lucinda," Skelley called to her over his shoulder. "They say there's worlds of sunshine in the country. For a truth, I've been many a place, but I've never been anywhere that didn't have its fair share of the sun's light." 

(To be continued. Do you think they'll get across the road? Read the whole story so far under the Bailey's Bug link up top of my report here.)

Monday, December 1, 2014

A Thankful Heart Except for Pumpkin Pie

December 1, 1965

Jocie Brooke here reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky. Thanksgiving was last Thursday. We had turkey and thank goodness, Aunt Love hasn't forgotten how to make dressing. Leigh made some kind of cranberry salad. I pretended to like it, but I would have rather just had the jelly roll of cranberry sauce from the can. Don't tell Leigh that! 
    Then Aunt Love said we had to have pumpkin pie. Don't ask me why. Maybe because everybody at church has a bumper crop of pumpkins and they are all giving them to Dad. I told Aunt Love that nobody expected us to actually EAT them. Just set them on the porch for decoration, but Aunt Love says she lived through the Depression years and believes in "waste not, want not." Sigh. 
    I guess I just should be glad the folks out at church have apples too. Aunt Love made an extra pie crust and let Tabitha and me peel apples to make a deep dish apple pie. Now that's a pie I can be thankful for.
    Dad preached on being thankful again on Sunday. He says a person should be thankful every day for his or her blessings and not just think he can throw up a thank you one day a year. He says a person should have a thankful heart all the time. He stopped preaching right in the middle of the sermon time and asked people out in the pews to say why they were thankful. Out loud. In church. Sort of surprised everybody, but Miss Sally stood up and said she was thankful for her church family and after that other people got over being shy and spoke up too. I even stood up and said I was thankful that my dog prayer and my sister prayer were answered. I figured everybody would laugh at that. Some of them did, but if you've read my story in Scent of Lilacs, you know what I mean.
    Even after we came home, I thought about reasons I should be thankful. Most of all, of course, is Dad. I don't know what I'd do without Dad. Then there's Wes and Tabitha and Stephen and Aunt Love, even if she is cross with me most of the time, and Leigh and Miss Sally and all the people at church. Well, most of them anyway. And my friends at school. Plus there's Zeb, my dog, and Cat at the office. Okay, maybe even Zella. Gee, I don't know about that. I'm pretty sure Zella isn't saying she's thankful for me! 
    What are your reasons for being thankful? 
    I guess I should say I'm thankful for my story about Bailey. It's fun to figure out a story and write it down.

BAILEY'S BUG by Jocie Brooke
   (Continued from last week. The whole story so far is under the Bailey's Bug tab up top.)

[Last week, Bailey just asked Lucinda if she wanted to go home without finding their boy.]

   Lucinda opened her left eye. "I said I'd go with you to find Reid. But I'm not joining up with any circus where I have to ride on your back and act like an idiot."
   "Skelley and I were just talking about the circus. I wasn't going to join one." Bailey tilted his head a little and added. "Unless Reid did. Do you think he might have joined a circus?"
   "Dogs." Lucinda groaned and turned her back to Bailey. "I don't know why I put up with them."
   "She'll feel better after she's rested a wee bit," Skelley whispered. "As will we all."
   Bailey settled down and tried to sleep, but either the bulldozer monster was rumbling toward him or he was tumbling through hoops with cheers echoing in his ears. Finally he put his paw over his head and blocked out everything but the hum. The hum and Reid. At last he dozed off.
   When Skelley nudged him awake, it was near dark. They nosed around the park and found a sack with some crusts of bread and a hot dog. 
   By the time they got to the big road, it was very late. Cars zoomed first one direction, then the other. Their lights made flashing trails in the dark. 
   Bailey felt a little shaky inside. "There's still a lot of them."
   "Aye, that there is." Skelley's head turned back and forth watching the cars. "For a truth, we'll have to pick our times and be mighty careful, but if we want to get to another state we have to go across this road." 
   "What's over there on the other side?" Bailey peered across the road. He couldn't see any lights past the cars.
   "Can't say for sure. Never actually been across this road before, but looks to be country, pure and simple. Nothing that looks like a town," Skelley said. "What about you, Miss Lucinda? You know about the far lands?"
   Lucinda stepped up beside them. "I like towns with nice houses and windows full of sunshine. Not country."
   "Country," Bailey said. "I met a dog once who was from the country. He was forever talking about how great it was to run in the fields chasing rabbits. He wasn't happy his people moved to the city."
   "I suppose country suits some well enough," Skelley said. "But there be no trashcans and but few houses. I've even heard tell of strange animals that don't take kindly to them who cross their paths."
   "I can't believe our people would live in that kind of place." Lucinda looked at Bailey. "Are you sure your bug is pointing you in the right direction?"
   All of the sudden, Bailey wavered. The land on the other side of the road was dark. He'd never seen dark like that. It was easy to imagine those strange animals lurking behind trees waiting to jump out at them with gnashing teeth. Something maybe worse than the lions and tigers Skelley knew in the circus. 
   Bailey's feet were sore and his neck hurt. He wanted a full bowl of crunchy dog food instead of bits of bread and nearly empty cans to lick. Over there in the dark country, there might not even be that to eat. His stomach growled and he sat down to think things through.
   Skelley sat down beside him. "Never a mistake to mull things over a bit. Me master used to say it wasn't any good rushing into things. That has to be especially true with that thing is crossing a river of cars."
   Lucinda made a noise of agreement as her tail twitched back and forth like the pendulum of a clock. Bailey figured she was thinking about the sun in the windows back at their old house.
   He sort of wished he was curled up on his bed there too as the cars swooshed past, their wind ruffling his ears. A great huge truck, bigger even than the bulldozer monster, lumbered over the hill. The ground shook under Bailey as it barreled past. He could never stop one of those.
   But even worse than the cars and trucks was the dark in the far country. Just thinking about what might be in that dark sent a shiver through Bailey.
   He stood up and gave a shake like he'd just had a bath. All of the sudden, the hum that he hadn't been able to hear while he thought about the dark began sounding in his ears louder than ever. His feet tingled and his heart bounced around inside his chest the way it did when Reid called him. He couldn't stop now. Even if he had to go into the dark far lands by himself. 
(To be continued.)

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)