The Wilson Times

Tuesday, June 21, 2011 9:40 AM

Hearty breakfast and heavy snow

By Lee Jennings

Today we launch the first of a series of stories written by local author Lee Jennings about a farm dog named Sandy. The stories are geared to our young readers. If your youngster isn’t reading yet, please read the stories with him each Tuesday this summer, discuss the details and ask him questions about what you have read together.

Sandy woke up to the bright morning sunshine pouring in between the big oak trees that overlooked the farm house. Even the lane leading up to the house was flooded with light. How late had she slept? Staying up chasing those rabbits last night had about worn her to a frazzle.

Sandy was a dog with a sweet, smiling face. This morning she smelled Mrs. Baker’s sausage with milk gravy and homemade biscuits and coffee coming from the big kitchen. She glanced toward the door with her big brown sleepy eyes and saw Emma Baker looking out the screen door at her with all of her 2-year-old glee of having a big furry dog on the porch. Emma’s pajamas were pink flannel with pictures of flowers on them, and Sandy thought that Emma probably had picked them all herself as she was always into something fun.

Sandy hoped there would be leftovers this morning. She surely was hungry, and a scoop of dog food just wouldn’t do the trick today. She loved Mrs. Baker’s breakfasts. Sometimes she would get leftover pancakes and sometimes leftover eggs but never any bacon as all the family loved bacon and would snack on any leftovers during the day. But Sandy’s favorite was the sausage with milk gravy and homemade biscuits.

She wondered what coffee tasted like but was never offered any. She herself was the color that you get when you pour a half of a cup of milk into a half of a cup of coffee. She knew that because Mrs. Baker fixed Emma’s coffee like that in the mornings with a lot of sugar in it so that Emma would drink some milk. One day Mrs. Baker told Mr. Baker that Sandy’s fur was that exact same color. Sandy liked the thought of looking like Emma’s coffee, for she adored Emma.

Ah, at last, the screen door opened, and a pan of leftovers was poured into Sandy’s dish. She leaped up and stuck her mouth into the best breakfast in the world, she thought. It was even still a little warm. She looked up when she heard Emma laughing at her as their eyes met through the screen. "What a great life,” Sandy thought.

Sandy also loved when Mrs. Baker would come out on the porch and shake her apron. Flour would almost always sprinkle down on Sandy’s nose, and she thought that Mrs. Baker smelled better than just about anybody. And it wasn’t any different today.

Shortly after, Mr. Baker came out on the porch to put his big boots on. Sandy looked forward to walking down to the sheep pasture with Mr. Baker and walking down to the chicken pen to wait for Mr. Baker to gather the eggs. When Emma came along, Sandy would nearly knock her over with delight.

One day, Sandy woke up very early in the morning before the sun came up. Her ears were freezing, and she shook from the cold. She began to bark wildly, and soon the porch light came on. Mr. Baker opened the door to find that Sandy was barking at a snow fall that wasn’t coming down slowly. He rubbed Sandy behind the ears, and went back in the house. Sandy followed and lay on the rug in front of the big stone fireplace. She was feeling much better already.

Mr. Baker put on his flannel shirt and a big coat. He also put on his work gloves, which meant that he and Sandy were headed down to the sheep pasture. Sandy knew it would be extra cold but that the warm fire would be waiting for her when she got back. Sandy could hear the comforting muffled voices of Mr. and Mrs. Baker in their bedroom and soon Mr. Baker reappeared. "Come on, girl. We’ve got some Boone weather tonight.” This is what Mr. Baker called cold snowy weather since he had gone to college at Appalachian State in Boone, N.C. Sandy always liked the words that Mr. Baker used with her.

That night was a cold one herding the sheep into the barn. The snow was coming down like feathers from a torn pillow. Sandy knew because she had once torn a feather pillow that Mrs. Baker had left on the porch to air out in the sunshine. Sandy’s ears were now coated with snowflakes that felt like they were freezing in place.

With nearly frozen paws and barks ringing in the air, Sandy had done her job. On the way back to the house, Mr. Baker rubbed Sandy behind the ears, giving her the praise he always did when she helped him bring in the sheep.

The snow was coming down so hard now, that she could hardly see the house. Then all of a sudden, Sandy couldn’t tell which way to go. Where was Mr. Baker? He was there only moments before.

Sandy started running faster, her paws cold and icy. There, she saw the light of the porch flickering. Mr. Baker was waiting for her. He helped her up the snowy steps of the porch and together they shook the snow off themselves the best they could.

The warm fire inside the house felt extra good for the rest of the night. Sandy slept snug and even snored a little. Then the next morning, there was Sandy’s favorite breakfast again!

She thought she must be the most blessed dog in the world. For, all of us are blessed if we stop to think about it. And all of us have a master who’s waiting on the porch to welcome us home.

©The Wilson Times, Wilson, North Carolina.
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