Tuesday, July 05, 2011 9:44 AM
Sandy visits the big rooster
By Lee Jennings
The Times is running a series of stories this summer by local author Lee Jennings. This is the third installment. Click here to read the other stories.
Sandy the dog wondered why Emma Baker kept asking to see the big rooster. Sandy had encountered several big roosters on their farm, and she knew that roosters were not her best friends. They had chased Sandy as well as Sandy chasing them. But, Mr. Baker said that this particular rooster that Emma wanted to see was at the fairgrounds, and Sandy loved going to the fairgrounds with all of its smells and sights and the different people that patted her on her furry head.
The fairgrounds played host to the farmers market, rodeos, carnivals and all sorts of interesting events. The county fair took place there, and there was even a cowboy church service that was held there according to the sign on the gate.
Also, the train tracks ran behind the fairgrounds which meant that a train would sooner or later run through with its swooshing sound and its horn sounding off. Sandy thought that was an adventure in itself. She would always wonder where the people on the train were going to and coming from. She also wondered if there was corn or coal in some of the cars or maybe a tank of fresh milk being hauled around.
The train had its own unique metal on metal smell when it whooshed by, and the fairgrounds had its own smells according to the event that was being held there. Rodeos had that horse and cow smell mixed in with dirt. And an occasional hot dog or popcorn smell would overpower Sandy’s nose. Then the carnival smells were of cotton candy, candied apples and the oil of the machines that the kids liked to ride. Emma’s favorite ride was the carousel with all of the pretty hobby horses and carriages.Sandy had heard Emma talk about the carousel for days after the last carnival. But Sandy’s favorite event at the fairgrounds was the farmers market. The summer tomatoes would tempt her to grab one off the table and run, but she had been taught better. She loved the sweet smell of the yellow corn and the earthiness of the green beans. The squash and the cucumbers and onions were pretty, but she wasn’t as crazy about them.
All of these thoughts were going through Sandy’s head when she heard the screen door open and close to the house. She was lying in the sunshine on the porch as Mr. Baker came outside to check the mailbox. Sandy picked up her head and laid it back down on her paws until she realized that Emma was looking at her through the screen door. It was summer time and the breeze was blowing just enough to feel good.
Emma was 4 years old now, and her blond hair touched her waist as her blue eyes sparkled with delight. She said, "Sandy, let’s ask Daddy if we can go see the big rooster.”
Sandy’s eyes sparkled as well. Her sandy-colored fur was clean and soft, and her dog lips curled up in a sweet smile.
When Mr. Baker came back up the steps to the porch, Emma asked him if they could go see the big rooster. "Well, I guess we could head that way after lunch,” he said. Sandy was eager to go.
After lunch, Mr. Baker, Mrs. Baker and Emma loaded into the truck with Sandy in the back. They were finally off to the fairgrounds to see this bird that Emma had been asking about.
When they turned onto the dirt road to the fairgrounds, the gate was open. They turned into the other gate, and there it was. It was the biggest rooster that Sandy had ever seen. She barked and barked, but the rooster wouldn’t even turn its head. She barked more, this time with a warning bark for Mr. Baker that this rooster was taller than the truck. Sandy could only imagine that the giant rooster would all of a sudden bend its huge neck down and pick her right up out of the bed of the truck with its big, sharp beak. The rooster was so big that it could sling Sandy out of the fairgrounds and into who knew where. Sandy began to bark harder until Mr. Baker came to the back of the truck. Oh no! The rooster might get Mr. Baker too. What should Sandy do? And wait a minute; Emma was getting in the back of the truck with Sandy. Sandy ran to Emma to protect her.
Just then, Emma started to laugh. Mr. Baker was patting the big rooster. He told Sandy that it was just a statue. Sandy began to calm down and could feel her heart start to slow down a little. She should have known that Mr. Baker wouldn’t put her in such danger with a giant rooster.
Emma liked to talk to Sandy and explained to her that the rooster was once on the top of the Wilson water tower. He was once red and the symbol for her city. Emma would see him on the water tower from the road on the way to her nana’s house.
After the city took the rooster down, she missed seeing him. But then Mr. Baker saw in the newspaper that an artist had painted him different colors, and the city moved him to the fairgrounds. The city’s slogan of "Wide Awake Wilson” had changed, so now the rooster didn’t have the meaning that it once had.
The rooster looked a lot bigger up close than it did on the water tower. Emma was a little scared of the statue, too, but was intrigued at the same time. It was a treat to get to see the rooster and ride over just to visit.
Sandy was so interested in the rooster that she didn’t even get out of the bed of the truck. She just sat there with a big smile on her face and a relieved feeling in her heart. No wonder that Emma liked coming here to see the big rooster. It was a special thing for Sandy to be here with Emma.
She knew that it reminded Emma of the fun of going to her nana’s house, of seeing her cousins and Aunt Adrian and Uncle Darrell and where her mama grew up. It reminded Emma of how her daddy, Mr. Baker, knew things that she could never guess, like where the rooster ended up. And it showed Emma that her mama and daddy liked adventures too. As they started to leave, Mr. Baker petted Sandy on the head and assured her that she was a good dog for wanting to protect them and that he was thankful for her.
When the Bakers got back home, Sandy sat on the porch in the sunshine thinking how blessed she was to be part of such a loving family. We all have some sort of family. And we all have a master who protects us and assures us that he’s thankful when we’re part of his family.
©The Wilson Times, Wilson, North Carolina.
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