Friday, January 15, 2010

Reading material

—from Walking Across Egypt by Clyde Edgerton
The dog was a tan fice—cowlicked, thin pointed sticks for legs, a pointed little face with powerful whiskers, one ear flopped and one straight.
He was lying on the back steps of Mattie Rigsbee's brick ranch one summer Saturday morning when she opened the door to throw out a pan of table scraps for the birds. She placed her foot on the step beside him. She was wearing the leather shoes she'd cut slits in for her corns. The dog didn't move. Holding the bowl, Mattie stepped on out into the yard and tried to see if it was a him or her so she could decide whether or not it would have been possible to keep it if she were younger and more able. If it insisted on staying she'd have to call the dogcatcher because she was too old to look after a dog—with everything else she had to do to keep up the house and yard. She was, after all, seventy-eight, lived alone, and was—as she kept having to explain—slowing down..
..She then warmed some beef stew and water, poured it into a small bowl over two opened biscuits cooked that morning, and started outside with it. Maybe he's gone, she thought.
Walking Across Egypt was published in 1987. It's well-worth whatever you'll pay for it online. Seriously, I've probably read it six or seven times.


I met Miller at the Wilson County Fair back in August. Don't ask me how he got overlooked until now. He wasn't a carny dog but worked on a farm in Lebanon, Tennessee and he was one of the most well-trained dogs I've ever met. He was still a puppy but had the sort of eye contact you only get from the most genuine of human critters. I don't know what kind of dog he was but he could jump like a Jack Russel Terrier, had a thing for squirrels. It's a good thing Stella wasn't there that day or she might have run off with him.

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