The Tail Continues!
The Tail Continues!
And what a spectacular tail it is now! How different from that tiny white stub at the beginning and the long skinny white thing of her adolescent years. And note those pantaloons. Not a dog designed for the semitropical West Central Alabama. But she made do. We made do. Lots, and I do mean lots, of combing involved. Of course, as you might suspect, it was combing out those rear pantaloons that she was most resistant to. but it had to be done. And she endured.
Huck and Tom are on the southeast hillside out from his bedroom. The hillside is covered with daffodils, all sorts, and narcissus. My mother loved her spring bulbs and begged, borrowed, and traded bulbs constantly to increase the variety.
I have been told that the year I was born there was a bumper crop of bulbs, particularly narcissus, and when I was first brought home from the hospital every vase and container in the house had been filled with cut narcissus to welcome mother and son. Maybe that was too much for little ole me, for to this day I am allergic to narcissus. The runny nose is bad enough, but the headaches are really a problem. I try to keep windows on the east side of the house shut tight during narcissus season.
For whatever reasons now lost in time, in 1990 we somehow managed not to get any of the usual azalea pictures. In 1991 we did better in that regard.
Huckleberry seemed to understand that sitting around in front of an azalea meant you were supposed to pose. She cannot have understood photography (and by now you may well be thinking "neither do you and Tom"), and it may have been simply her realization that doing so made the other members of her pack happy. She did aim to please.
Here's another example of what I still contend are examples of Tom and Huck assuming similar facial expressions for the camera. Most of the time she was content to be held in a pose, but you will see examples when she'd rather be doing something else.
She is certainly starting to be a serious lapful by now. Some of that is, of course, the copious amount of hair. You could have stuffed pillows with the hair that would come off her during combings in high-shed periods.
That was the year we started taking her down to the river. That's the Black Warrior, originating somewhere northwest of Birmingham and winding through West Alabama to join the Tombigbee at Demopolis. Back in the high times for coal, many barges laden with same would make their way downriver to Mobile. That river was a centerpiece of my growing up, and both of my published novels feature it.
The two of them are on a table at the public park just upriver from the Selden Lock & Dam, which replaced the old Lock 7 Lock and Dam of my childhood, work on the new facility being completed in 1962. On the map below, coming downriver from upper right, we are just about where that first "Parking" is indicated.
The main river continued down the large fork on the left, making a large loop many miles long before it curved back almost on itself, as you see at lower right. The dam itself was constructed where you see that dark line across the river to the left of the fork, and a canal was excavated across the neck of the large loop with the lock itself at the lower end, as shown on the map. A sensible solution to a problem, if you ask me. We'll be returning to this area again, and I did want to give you some idea of what it is like.
Here's Huck walking down one of the cement ramps at the lock. We'd usually come down to the lock after our visit to the park, but she much preferred the feel of earth and grass at the park to the hot concrete of the lock. Of course, the lock is off-limits these days, ever since 9/11. But in the old(er) days we did love to ride down to the lock to see the boats with their barges passing through.
Somehow the concrete picnic tables didn't bother her, maybe because it was something to be on instead of walk on. And invariable either Tom or Jonathan would be up there with her.
We rarely saw anyone else down there. I believe that picnickers did show up on weekends, but we were able to manage our visits during the week. At the time the grounds were well maintained via a contract with the Army Corps of Engineers, but nowadays it is going wild again. Available funds seem to be pumped into a public campground at Roebuck Landing, several miles upriver. You have to pay to get into that one. The old Lock 7 park was free.
We didn't usually have a leash on Huck down at the river, but in that first year we did make an effort to keep her close to us. Later we trusted her to venture further out on her on.
Here she is coming down the steps from the mound where the lockmaster's house used to stand (the old lock and dam being where this park is now). One of my uncles was lockmaster there for a while in the 1940s.
Here she is standing by herself, but still fairly close to the photographer. She loved this park. Always a great adventure. I miss this park.
There is something up that yew tree in our front yard, and I'll be anything it is a chipmunk!
She did have a wonderful bark. She thought so too, and she made use of it as often as she could. My senior cousin had a dog who rarely barked, and he often said he would like to bring her out to Sawyerville to take barking lessons from Huckleberry. The problem was that Huck would be so busy barking at what she considered an intruder that she couldn't take the time to teach.
We are tiptoeing gingerly across this garden hose. We know by now what garden hoses can lead to: a bath!
And indeed it did. Note how slim she appears when that thick hair gets wetted down and pressed against her body.
The best part of a bath was when it was over and Jonathan had finished with (or given up on) the toweling process and you could roll about on the ground and scratch where that soap made you itch and put some "regular" smells on your body again. Chances are, once she was good and dry, out would come the comb.
Below is a miscellany of photos taken in August:
Below is a miscellany of photos taken in August:
Late summer or early fall the spider lilies bloom. They are sometimes referred to as hurricane lilies because often they would not pop out of the ground until the first big fall rain, which might well have been hurricane-connected.
This one was taken on a cooler day that fall, with Martin's Store (when it still had a roofed porch) and various of those who hung out there in the background. The dog in the middle ground is quite curious, but Huck is pretending not to notice. Very few pictures show Huck on a leash, but I did walk her a good bit in the Sawyerville area with a leash. Too much traffic passing through on the highway that you see as well as the county road on the west of the house to risk her outside the fence without a leash.
A foggier morning than we usually have in October in Alabama. She is no doubt watching Tom or me down with the goats. Note how the goats in their perambulations have worn down the earth on their side of the fence.
A sunny day like this one is much more usual. Actually, it is possibly this was the same day, after the fog had lifted.
That dogwood is already in the process of dying. I'm not sure whether it was a blight that affects dogwoods or the stress of hot dry summers or simply old age. This was taken on the west side of the front yard with the old store in the background.
Here we are outside the dining room in early December with the baby's breath all yellow in the background. Just ignore that nasty-looking green canvas awning. It will be replaced by a blue one before too long. Next year, in fact.
A December day as well, maybe the same one as above, but obviously not cool enough to have a fire in the fireplace. Huckleberry did love to get up in someone's lap. And both Tom and I were always willing to comply. Someone once remarked that Huck didn't have to die and go to Heaven, she was already there. Tom and I certainly felt that we were.