Page 90 - Vol. VI #2
P. 90

Pinky Swear (continued from preceding page)
would not always be sleeping during reading time and Rick was a puppy that demanded attention. His mother was also very busy. She had always had many chores—for example, it was only with a lot of practice that she had become the best cook in the whole world. The boy’s mother also now had to take care of Rick. Occasionally, she would tell the boy that he was responsible for Rick, after all, Rick was his dog. This seemed fair and the boy readily agreed—yet somehow dog chores remained with his mother.
It was more than a week later when his mother finally sat beside the boy and began reading the second story. As his mother read, the boy was very interested in the story. Lad’s mistress had fallen into a cold lake and now had pneumonia. What would happen? But the boy was also interested in the words as they flowed over his mother’s finger as she read. He knew some of the small words from school. He recognized an occasional large word from the first story. He was thrilled that he sometimes knew what his mother was going to say before she spoke.
The next day the boy carried the book outside and climbed into the porch swing. He opened the book to the first story, began reading, and became a nag. He knew most of the words, but when he found
one he didn’t know, he would climb down from the swing and go find his mother. Pointing to the word, he would say “Mommy, what did you say this word was?” The boy did not forget that word again. The second story was easy to read—his mother had just read it to him.
The boy looked at the third story. He recognized some of the words, but most were mysteries. Nag- ging wouldn’t work. His mother was patient, but not that patient. The boy~would have to be patient. The boy did not like to be patient.
The first bee took to the air 130 million years ago. The first tennis racket was produced about 140 years ago. Even today, you do not see a tennis racket on every street corner. It is a safe bet that
the wood bees on my son’s patio had never seen a man carrying a tennis r~acket. Instinct, whatever that is, could not have told the bees to beware. Only the death of a wood bee made the survivors realize: man plus tennis racket equals danger.
A year later Rick was almost as long as the boy was tall. The boy learned, from his mother, of course, that collies were the second fastest breed, being only a little slower than greyhounds. Rick was a collie with a thick brown and white coat—until one hot and muggy July day. Then his mother said “I feel so sorry for that dog” and sheared most of his hair. Rick looked like a muscular greyhound.
Rick was a pure-bred collie even though he had that strange hooked nose. To prove it, his mother showed the boy Rick’s papers, a certificate from the American Kennel Club. Pointing, the boy asked “What’s that word?” The answer was “Dam,” a female dog. Rick’s mother was Bonnie of Amberhill Farms.
Rick loved to run and the boy could not keep up. Rick would run to the creek that split the farm—a creek that was a dry ditch in the summer, three times as deep as the boy was tall, and a muddy tor- rent in the winter. Rick would run to the railroad tracks and across—until the boy called him back. Rick would run to the chicken coop and beyond to the sharecropper’s house and bark at the old negro lady who lived there.
The boy had never been in the sharecropper’s house. It, and the colored lady and her husband, had come with the farm. The boy barely remem- bered the husband—he had died long ago. The boy had never paid much attention to the little house. If he had, it was obviously not as nice as his home or even the chicken coop.
Sharecroppers are people who rent land and a house to raise crops. They then give some of the crops to the owner as rent. That is what the boy’s mother would have told him if he had asked.

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