Tuesday, July 19, 2011 7:49 AM
Italian visitor brings excitement to farm
By Lee Jennings
This is the fifth installment of Sandy the Farm Hound. Click here to read the other stories.
Author Lee Jennings will be guest presenter at the Wilson
County Public Library’s Summer Reading Program July 26 at 7 p.m.
The day was finally here! It was the day that Adriana would be flying into town with all of her bags and gifts and funny stories. It was as if a little piece of Italy lived on the farm for two weeks every summer when Adriana visited. The Baker Farm was filled with excitement as Mrs. Baker had talked about her distant cousin visiting again ever since Adriana boarded the plane back to Italy last summer.
Sandy the farm hound was especially eager for this visit because she heard that she would be getting a surprise from Italy too. She could hardly wait to see the little car coming up the shady drive and all of the Bakers and Adriana stepping out into the summer sunshine after a long trip from the airport.
Adriana was a beautiful woman that laughed with the ease of butter on a hot cob of corn. She loved children and people in general, and she loved animals, especially dogs. She was a load of fun in a little petite body. Her hair was dark and her skin looked as if the sun had kissed her with its olive glow. But her most noticeable feature were her sparkly blue eyes. They were full of intrigue and fun and excitement.
Spending time in the hillsides of Rome had flavored Adriana’s words with the mystique of foreign culture and Italian flair. It gave her fluent English a swirly sound to Sandy. Italian words would be mixed into Adriana’s English like bacon in a salad. The result was a very satisfying sound.
Style was whatever Adriana wore. Everything looked pretty on her, especially since she was so pretty on the inside. She wasn’t fancy, nor was she plain. She was just Adriana, and that made her just right. She did, however, have one signature about her that Sandy remembered in particular. She wore a large sapphire ring on her right hand that sparkled like the Mediterranean Sea. Sandy remembered how it felt sort of knobby sometimes when Adriana stroked her on the back.
Sandy heard the Bakers’ car coming up the lane. Sunshine would pour onto the car from in between the huge oak branches that hung over the driveway. It was like a motion picture in Sandy’s mind.
She could hardly wait to see everyone and began to bark the welcome-back bark that she always did when the car came up the driveway.
Mrs. Baker got out of the car first, stepping to the back of the car to unfasten Emma Baker’s seat belt. Sandy was beside the car waiting for Emma’s 4-year-old hands to pet her soft floppy ears. She was always glad to get such affection because she loved Emma. Mr. Baker got out next, stepping to the rear of the car to begin unpacking all of the bags that Adriana had brought with her. Then out stepped Adriana. Her laughter and warmth bubbled from her as she remarked on how lovely everything at the farm still was.
She saw Sandy and began to pet her on the head and talk to her in Italian. Sandy couldn’t understand her but loved the gesture. She couldn’t help but wonder what the surprise was that Adriana had brought her all the way from another country.
Sandy heard Mrs. Baker say that dinner would be ready shortly. She had been in the kitchen cooking all morning, and Sandy knew that the family would be eating something delicious in just a while. She had smelled a roast baking in the oven with homegrown vegetables of onions, carrots and potatoes. There was also pea pastry and fruit salad. She had smelled homemade bread baking and a cake too. Mrs. Baker was a great cook and showed her love to her family with all sorts of efforts. Her cooking was one of Sandy’s favorites.
Mrs. Baker made sure that mealtime was a special time for the family. Sandy loved to hear the Baker’s conversation as they ate, and she could hear them sharing their meal in the homey kitchen. Then, Sandy would hear Mrs. Baker gathering the plates and scraping the scraps into one dish to pour into Sandy’s bowl.
Sandy enjoyed all the wonderful smells that wafted from the kitchen through the screen door as she lay on the porch. The scraps were the best meal a dog could hope for. She could hardly wait for this tonight.
Bedtime came early for the Bakers after dinner since Adriana had travelled so much that day. Mrs. Baker was tired from all the cooking, and Emma and Mr. Baker were glad for the early turn in too.
It was a warm summer night, so Sandy slept on the porch in her dog bed that Emma put out every night for her. If the weather was too rainy or chilly though, Sandy got to sleep inside by the big stone fireplace in the living room. But, tonight was a beautiful starry night. She flopped down hearing the summer bugs chirping and sheep bleating once in a while in the pasture. She was tired, too, from all of the excitement of the day and slept a sweet sleep with one eye half open as she always did when she was protecting the farm.
Daylight brought Mr. Baker outside to feed the sheep early the next morning. Sandy always looked forward to her job for the day. She and Mr. Baker would walk down to the pasture and check out the sheep making sure they were healthy, had enough food and water, and making sure that everything was in order. Mr. Baker talked to Sandy just like she was a person, and Sandy loved that. She would trot right beside him with her lips curled into a smile. Once in a while, his gloved hand would reach down and pet her on her furry head.
When Sandy and Mr. Baker finished their chores and went back to the house, Sandy could smell breakfast cooking. She lay back down on the porch and waited for her scraps to be poured into her bowl. She was good and hungry this morning.
Adriana was already up despite her tiring day the day before. She loved mornings, especially on the farm. Sandy heard her say that the smell of a good cup of coffee would move anyone with a nose to get up early. Adriana stepped out on the porch to breathe in the North Carolina air as she called it. Sandy nuzzled her hand and noticed that the huge sapphire ring was not there as it had been the day before. Maybe Adriana took it off to sleep and just hadn’t put it back on. But Sandy remembered that Adriana never took that ring off in previous visits. Sandy nuzzled her hand more trying to show Adriana that her ring was missing, but Adriana didn’t notice at first.
Then, Sandy heard her gasp as she looked down at her hand. Mrs. Baker heard her too and quickly stepped out on the porch to see if Adriana was alright. Adriana told Mrs. Baker that her ring was gone, and she didn’t remember taking it off the night before. This was the beginning of a very mysterious but fun day.
The story continues next week.
©The Wilson Times, Wilson, North Carolina.
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