Freckles

As the anniversaries of my parents’ passing is approaching, it seems only fitting to share a story that continues to bring a smile to my face.

When we were kids we had a dog named Freckles. She was a cocker spaniel and had little brown dots on her face that looked much like freckles. She was not a pure bred for sure and was a bit scruffy looking. She had actually belonged to an acquaintance of ours that lived a few blocks from our house.

On my way home from school I would stop at the house where the dog lived, as I had a friend who lived there. The dog was usually chained up in the yard. Even as a child that did not seem right to me. At some point, I started letting the dog off the chain and encouraging her to follow me home. Of course, my mother the dog lover thought the dog had indeed just followed me home.

Little by little Freckles started spending more time at our house than with the people who owned her. I was very happy on the day that the owner came over and said, "You people might as well keep the damn dog. She is always over here anyway." That is how we got Freckles.

My dad was not the dog lover that Mom was. He put up with the dog most of the time. Freckles had this habit of chasing flies if any got into our house. Daddy would often take naps on the living room couch. This set a unpleasant situation in motion. If the fly would happen to be hovering over my dad, the dog would jump into the air and try to catch it. This would result in the dog landing square on top of Daddy!

Hard as Sister and I tried to avoid this senario, it seemed to be beyond our control. My dad would wake up from a sound sleep yelling, "I am gonna take that damn dog for a ride!" Even as children we knew that is how dogs often ended up missing. We did everything we could to just keep the dog out of Daddy's way.

Freckles became a big part of the family, in spite of our dad's objections. We all grew to love her, as did our friends and extended family members. As the years passed Freckles grew old and we had to say good-bye to her. It is still very vivid, even nearly sixty years later. I remember my mother sobbing, Sister and I crying, and our brothers just had to leave the house that day before the animal control people came to get her. Yes, it was a very sad day indeed. I think our dad just ignored the whole event.

Many years later ... When our dad passed away my mother and I got his personal items from the hospital. Of course we went through his wallet to save certain things. Daddy was a pretty private kind of guy, and Mama never had a reason to check his wallet for anything. To our surprise, Daddy had only three very old black and white photos in his wallet. One was of me at about 12 years old, and one of my sister at about 13. By this time we were both well into our 30s. The wallet had just one other photo. It was an old black and white picture of our dog, Freckles. Mom and I figured it out, and Dad must have held on to that picture for at least twenty years.

People may often display a rough exterior, when in fact it is just a cover up. We really did think that Daddy disliked the dog very much. The truth is, he must have just wanted us to think that. I will never know why that is, but it still makes me smile. My mother and I laughed and cried about the picture and kept it to ourselves for a very long time. It just goes to show that people are not always who you think they are.

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