It’s amazing how driving by certain places can bring out the stories Charles can otherwise not remember. Like the day he pointed to a white shuttered house set back behind large pecan trees and said, “That’s where I had to come that Sunday we were all at Revonda’s for Mother’s Day. There was a dog with a fish hook.”
I remembered it as he began to retell the story.
We’d just arrived at Charles’ sister Revonda’s for a wonderful family gathering. We greeted Papa Graham merrily as he patrolled the large carefree yard, Tammy’s small Boston terrier snorting around his feet. I went on in the house with my big bowl of potato salad. I’d made it the night before and its flavors would have had time to blend well. Stepping into the cheery kitchen, I found myself well hugged by Revonda and Mama Graham who’d already been at work lining up various culinary creations including Mama’s fantastic creamed corn and Revonda’s fruit salad complete with pineapple and strawberries. We often joked that we needn’t confer at all about a menu if we decided to get together. We’d just each bring our usual dishes and our dinner would be made.
“Oh,” said Revonda suddenly remembering as she handed me a slip of paper. “Charles left our number with the answering service, I guess. He needs to call that number.”
I went back outside speaking to a bevy of nieces and nephews on the way and noticing that our William had already instigated a football throwing with Mike and Ken while Julie and Tammy were settled in front of the den television.
I handed Charles the slip of paper and leaned over to pet Daffy, the Boston terrier while he went off to return the call.
Starting back up the porch steps, I met Charles. “I’ve got to go,” he said.
“Oh, no, not now!”
“Afraid so. All the way over on the north county line road. I’ll be back as soon as I can. I told Revonda not to wait dinner for me. It’s a dog with a fish hook. Why crazy people leave things like that lying around I’ll never know.” But then he grinned. “Have truck, will travel.”
And he was gone.
Dinner was over and the ice cream churn humming when he finally returned. He told us all about the dog between bites.
“Poor fellow. They’d been down by the pond fishing and that hound was sniffing around as they always do. Suddenly Pete heard the dog yowling in an awful kind of way. Said he was afraid he’d been snakebitten but when he got to him he wondered if a snakebite might not have been kinder. The poor thing had gotten a fish hook in his lip.”
“Oh, I’ve seen that before,” interrupted Marcus. “Not pretty.”
Charles lifted a finger. “In his back paw, too,” he added. “Same fish hook.”
“Oh, no,” everyone groaned.
“And that’s not all,” said Charles with a climactic note in his voice. “He’d evidently tried to get loose from one place only to get himself tangled elsewhere. That fish hook had him three ways.”
“Three ways?” Ken asked. “How, Uncle Charles? What was the third?”
“In his scrotum,” said Charles.
The boys giggled. Tammy put her hand over her mouth and Julie looked mystified. Most of us had a picture immediately of a large red hound wound up in a painful position. No wonder his yowl sounded strange and pitiful!
“So what did you do?” somebody asked as Charles practically licked the last bit of corn from his plate.
“Got out my pliers and tweezers and relieved the poor thing. It wasn’t easy. Took two big guys holding him down but I finally set him free. He ran off with his tail between his legs looking totally ashamed.”