Tuesday, June 28, 2011 9:27 AM
Thirsty dream on a summer morning
By Lee Jennings
The Times is running a series of stories this summer by
local author Lee Jennings. This is the second installment.
Click here if you missed last week’s story.
Sandy the farm hound looked up into the bluest sky she thought she’d ever seen. Summer had just begun, and she already felt the magic of the season. She loved summer time with lawn sprinklers, garden rabbits, children running here and there, Emma Baker’s lemonade stands and most of all, the wonderful smells that came through the screen door from the kitchen inside. She liked fresh vegetables and the meat that Mrs. Baker used to season them. She liked hearing the Baker family chat around the kitchen table while their forks clinked against their plates. And she liked any leftovers that were scraped into her bowl on the porch after dinner.
Sandy was thinking about all this as she lay in the bed of Mr. Baker’s truck on this sunshiny summer morning. Mr. Baker was inside the nursery downtown buying some seeds for his garden. He had brought Sandy along since she liked riding in the back of the truck. She had enjoyed the short ride into town and was now listening as she lay there half day dreaming and half guarding the truck.
The nursery that Mr. Baker visited was right beside an old tobacco warehouse. It was a beautiful old building, and today the doors to the old building were wide open. Sandy could see inside from her position in the truck. It was sort of dark in there, but she could make out wooden floors and high ceilings and a lot of open space.
Today must have been a good day to buy seeds, because lots of farmers were in downtown Wilson buying their seeds. Two of the farmers stopped in front of the old tobacco warehouse to talk and reminisce. They began to talk about the old tobacco warehouse and how they could remember the auctioneers and the buyers being in there. A faint cured tobacco smell could still be sniffed out if you knew what to smell for.
Their voices and the warm sunshine lulled Sandy into a dreamy sleep. She was all of a sudden in the tobacco warehouse with golden cured tobacco lying in big piles. There were men in overalls and men in suits walking around in there. The auctioneer was singing the prices out, and tags were being placed on the tobacco as other men would raise a finger and bid on the tobacco. It was hot and stuffy, and Sandy wanted to taste something cold and sweet. She was watching a little boy who walked around the piles of leaves with his daddy. They both wore overalls with red shirts under them and brogan boots. The little boy was drinking a Coca-Cola out of a little glass bottle, and Sandy thought that it looked really tasty.
Just as Sandy was behind the little boy and about to sneak a lick of his bottle, an orange cat ran through the warehouse chasing a mouse. Sandy couldn’t resist the chase. She started running as fast as she could, strewing tobacco leaves everywhere. The farmers were shooing her away, and the little boy with the Coke was laughing as hard as he could. The cat was in a panic and ran this way and that way. Sandy was almost to the cat when a big, rough hand caught her by the neck.
Who was this stranger? Why was he grabbing her? Didn’t he know that dogs were supposed to chase cats? And why wasn’t somebody trying to catch the cat? Sandy tried to pull away, but the big hand was strong. She gave in and slumped down on the hard floor.
Now she was thirstier than before. Looking up in fear, she saw a huge man with overalls on. His face was weathered and tanned, and he smelled like aftershave and coffee. He scooted her all the way to the door and then told her to go out and not come back in the warehouse. Sandy was so sad. She liked seeing all of the interesting events going on the warehouse. The big doors were closed with a loud creaking sound.
Sandy sat outside the warehouse looking through a small crack in the doors. She could still see the little boy drinking his cold drink. She also saw the cat hiding over in a corner of the building. She saw all the people just resume with what they were doing after picking up some of the tobacco leaves that she had strewn on the floor. At least she could still see the action even if she was on the outside. Her curiosity had always been on the verge of getting her into trouble, but this time, she was too hot to try to paw her way back into the warehouse.
Just then, Sandy woke up in the bed of the truck. The doors to the warehouse were now closed. She must have been dreaming. Now Sandy really was thirsty, and this wasn’t a dream. She saw a cat walking around on the sidewalk and figured she must have heard it and the farmers talking in her sleep. She must have also heard the big doors being closed. This had caused her imagination to go wild.
Mr. Baker stepped out of the nursery with his seeds in tow. Also, he had a bottle of cold water. After he put his seeds in the truck, he stepped to the back of the truck, where he rubbed Sandy behind the ears and gave her the water from the cold bottle. It was some of the best water that Sandy had ever tasted. He said, "Sandy, you look like you’ve been asleep in this summer sunshine.”
On the way home, Sandy thought about what a nice man Mr. Baker was. She was glad she belonged to him. We can be glad too that we have a master who gives us the best water so that we never thirst again.
©The Wilson Times, Wilson, North Carolina.
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