Alexander Graham Bell never said that. So don't quote me as quoting him.
Hick took a little trip last week, out to Oklahoma to build a device for The Pony and his professor, in their lab. He did some research, spent money on the part, devoted three days time, and received nothing in return. It's a long and convoluted story, told elsewhere, but the point is... Hick was gone Monday thru Wednesday last week. And I survived!
In fact, I thrived. Did as I pleased, without trying to please anyone else. Oh, come on! Don't act like I never do anything for Hick anyway. He's back now, and our routine has resumed. I have stopped bagging up the trash for myself, and he has returned to ignoring it until not a single plastic drinking straw can be placed atop the jenga-summit.
The heat has been oppressive. I even cautioned Hick to stay inside and NOT mow the yard on Thursday or Friday. It's about six acres, not a little patch of grass. It takes him several hours on the riding mower. I didn't want him getting heat stroke, which could cut into my time, what with applying cold wet towels to his flushed flesh, or driving him to the hospital. He agreed not to mow. He messed with a few of his treasures over in the BARn or Freight Container Garage, getting ready for weekend business at his Storage Unit Store. Then he came inside to do some laundry (you know why he does his own).
Hick was already gone up to the storage lockers on Friday morning when I left to mail the boys' weekly letters. The heat hit me when I stepped out the kitchen door. Took my breath away. Only my Sweet, Sweet Juno greeted me, with a lackluster sweep of her feathery tail. She plodded to the side porch for a few crumbs of cat kibble. None of her usual exuberance. No jumping or yelping or wiggling or doggy-smiling.
When I came home, T-Hoe's mirror thermometer said 98 degrees. Juno was standing at the edge of the BARn field, and took off for the house. Copper Jack was by her, at the edge of the largest sinkhole, by the driveway. That was unusual for them. They generally don't hang out there, unless the crazy deadly (to chickens) neighbor dogs are loose and plotting attack. My little spotted Jack was nowhere to be seen. So he missed a tasty stale hamburger bun that Juno and Copper Jack had for their treat.
When Hick came home from his weekly doctor appointment and two-hour bull-shooting session with his machine shop buddy, I asked if he'd seen Jack.
"No, but I think he was out there this morning."
"Okay. Because I didn't see him when I left OR came home. Juno and the other Jack were there, though."
"I'm sure he'll turn up."
"Yeah. I hate to think of him jumping in the creek for a swim, and getting swept away. You know how high it got."
"He'll be fine."
"Well, he missed his treat this afternoon!"
Hick left for the auction around 6:00. At 6:15, he called me.
"I found your dog Jack! He was in the BARn. He tore up my insulation! Now I have to clean up the mess."
"So you LOCKED HIM IN THE BARn? Like you've done to Juno so many times?"
"Yeah. But Jack usually runs out. I pull the door closed real slow, so he has time. I guess he didn't get out last night."
"WAIT! You mean Jack was locked up in the BARn for over 24 HOURS? You came in the house around 4:00 yesterday. He was in there all that time, with no food or water? In this heat?"
"It's not that hot in there."
"Oh, so houses don't get hot inside in this weather? Why do people even have air conditioners? That is a METAL BARn, with a metal roof! But you're telling me it's not that hot?"
"Not really. It's not like he was out in the sun. That dang dog! You should see the mess he made! I'll send you a picture when I get to the auction. Oh! Here he is now. I'm up by HOS's old place. I guess Jack and Other Jack followed me up here."
"In this heat? After no food or water for 24 hours? I hope he doesn't have heat stroke! Running that far (half mile) can't be good for him right now! I hope they don't try to follow you all the way out to the county road (two miles)."
"Nah. They follow me over to Back Creek Neighbor Bev's all the time. That's where they think I'm going. They'll stop when I go past there."
"I feel so bad for little Jack."
"Why? You should SEE the mess he made! He destroyed my door!"
"I don't know how you can blame HIM! He's just a dog. When that door closes, he has no idea that you'll ever come back. To him, he's shut up in a cage, and he has to escape or die! No wonder Marley was going crazy last night. Probably heard Jack howling. And Juno and big Jack had probably been over by the BARn when I came home, and ran up to the road to meet me. THEY knew you'd locked up Jack! How many times have I told you to make sure they're out? Good thing you went to check!"
"Well... I didn't see him, and I got to thinking maybe he'd got locked in last night..."
Here's the damage:
He's also pretty mouthy, being half dachshund and half heeler. Always nipping and chewing.
A dog is meant to be free, looking up at you lovingly, not shut away in a dark BARn!
Available to greet you! Ready to adore you, even if you might not deserve it!