Monday, March 8, 2010

"Here Booze!"

was a child of the Great Depression.  His family lost their farm and ended up moving several times within the Village of Waldron. My great-grandfather and my great-grandmother (GG) were both hard working people, but farming villages throughout this country were decimated by the Depression.  Keep in mind, this was also during the tail end of Prohibition, an ill-fated experiment in American history where drinking anything stronger than hot coffee was illegal.  

Now here is a hard-working poor family in the middle of a small Michigan farming community struggling to make ends meet.  My great-grandfather loved to hunt, so they ended up with a raccoon-hunting dog.  Young Elbert (Gumpy) was tasked with the job of naming the dog.  One name stuck in his mind because it seemed that everyone in town was talking about it.  Much to GG's chagrin, he named the dog Booze.  Nothing could talk Gumpy out of that name.  Nothing could save GG from the embarrassment of having to holler, "Here Booze," when she wanted the dog to come in the house.

From then on, Gumpy usually had a dog of some type.  Chico 1 was the first dog my mom, aunt and uncle remember.  A family friend, who had spent considerable money preparing Chico as a show dog, was unable to care for the young Boxer dog any longer.  After Chico 1 died of cancer, Chico 2 appeared on the scene.  Chico 2 was great a pulling the clumps of dirt out of the disc when Gumpy was plowing the field, which proved to be quite a useful and time-saving skill.

When I was young, there was Shep.  Shep was a blue-merle Australian Shepard.  Like many of the farm animals, Shep was technically a rescue.  She was the most patient and loving dog I could have hoped for, even after she was kicked in the head by a horse.  Epilepsy and the resulting seizures cut Shep's life short but fueled my love for dogs.  As always, Shep made it plain that she was Gumpy's dog first.

Gumpy even loved having my dogs around too.  When he was too frail to move around easily, I trained my dog at the time Nash to sit next to him so Gumpy had someone to pet.  Gumpy would just reach down and pet Nash without a thought.  He just loved having a dog in the house.  A dog was just another person with a few extra legs to love.