As the sun peeked through the trees, Betty swung her basket walking to the henhouse. She had to hurry, for her daddy had announced yesterday that the family would spend the day in the country with a friend.
The family included her Aunt Rossie Brown and her two sons Bill and David. Betty looked forward to July when Little Auntie, her mother’s twin sister, usually came to visit. Though Mary, her sister was nine years older than she, and Bill, her cousin, was eight years older, Bill’s brother David was only a year older. A playmate her own age! Her cousins were so much fun!
As Betty returned from the henhouse, Bill finished slopping the hogs, and Mary returned from milking. David was still asleep – somehow his charm allowed him to get special privileges (little to no chores).
Paul Fugett, Betty’s father, got up from the breakfast table.
“Get some breakfast and come load the car, Betty, so we can get going.”
The children sat down to steaming biscuits and gravy theeir grandmother had made from scratch. Little Granny served each child, as her daughters Rossie and Roxie cleaned the kitchen.
After everyone finished, each grabbed a towel and bathing suit for the day’s outing. The children could hardly contain their excitement, but Paul Fugett, a strict man, would not tolerate dawdling.
The family embarked on their adventure in Old Betsy, a black 1930 Plymouth, shiny from a thorough waxing. The tires sang against the road as the children dozed lazily. As Betsy pulled into the drive, an excited dog announced their arrival, waking the sleeping children. Behind the dog’s wagging tail trailed six pups. The children tumbled out of the car to pet them as Paul’s friend greeted the family warmly.
Bill immediately began begging, “Can we have one?”
Paul’s friend smiled,”Take your pick!”
But Little Auntie intervened, “We are only visiting. The boys and I live in Arkansas and we’ll be leaving at the end of July. We had better not.”
“But Mother,” Billy begged, “I will take full responsibility for the puppy while I’m here. I’ll feed it and bathe it. I’ll take it for walks and fix it a bed. Please?”
“No, Bill, it wouldn’t be right.”
“But Mary and Betty will take turns when we go back to Arkansas.”
“Hold on, Bill, I’m not taking turns with that pup!” Mary argued.
“That’s that!” Paul sighed. “We had better not take one.”
The family went on to have a full day of swimming and fishing. As the day waned, Paul called everyone together for the journey home.
“Do all of you have your things?” Roxie asked.
“Oh yes, Aunt Roxie we are ready to go,” chimed Bill as he boarded Betsy with his bundle of wet clothes. He leaned across Betty in the back seat to whisper to Mary,”I have a puppy!” Mary’s eyes grew wide as her eyebrows lifted. The pup whined softly.
“She’ll be comin’ round the mountain when she comes,” Bill sang to cover the pup’s whining. Betty joined in, punching David and Mary with her elbows.
Paul glanced in his rearview mirror at the four children singing joyfully. Litte Granny glanced at Paul to say, “What has gotten into these children? They need to quile under!”
Upon their return Bill proposed the kids camp out on the front porch for the night. With their parents’ eventual permission, Mary, Betty, Bill, and David spread pallets on the porch. As the grownups turned out the lights, the children giggled, petting and hugging the hound pup Bill had smuggled home.
The next morning Little Granny awoke very early out of habit. As she stepped on the porch, she found her four grandchildren and a small brown pup all sound asleep.
“Well, if that don’t beat a hog a flyin’!”