Two more weeks. Friday, November 12th is my goal date, but Billy Sue has at times thought she would call the gas company, tell them to light the pilot cause she was turning that thing on. I tell her to be tough 'cause if she can make it through this short period of change, where she adjusts, then it's not so bad.
Once you turn that thing on you get downright spoiled.
Which leads me to my story.
I went home Saturday. Home is four hours south toward the ocean. It is a stop with red clay banks, enough pine to make you a living and some of the best people in the world. Beautiful, in fact.
But I didn't get there till about 6pm 'cause I didn't leave till about 2pm 'cause hell, it was Saturday and sometimes I enjoy having the opportunity to go back to bed. So that's what I did and that meant that my Daddy was standing up at the top of the driveway, or hill may we say, with his new Pit Bull, Ruby, sitting on the ground at his feet.
Backstory to say Ruby picked Daddy. About three weeks ago. On a dirt road where she was walking all beat up and battered Daddy had stopped 'cause hell, she had a collar on, she was somebody's dog and it wouldn't be right if somebody was missing their dog and here Daddy could look at the collar, give the guy a call and take him his dog.
But when Daddy got out of that truck he soon realized that the pit bull was a bit timid and didn't want him getting anywhere near her. What she did was run around Daddy and hop in the cab of the truck of which he had left the driver's door open. Daddy has a double cab so Ruby got in the backseat and stared at him. Whenever he told her that she needed to get outta the truck she responded in a low growl. So Daddy did what any sensible human would do in that situation, he got in the driver's seat and drove on home with Ruby seeming satisfied in her new ride.
I guess the big problem is Daddy already had two girlfriends at home, Susie and Josie. Black strays who have made their peace with each other and seemed to understand they had a good darn life with Patsy and Bobby. That is until Ruby drove up with Dad.
She has now made her claim to him after explaining to the other two girls she is the Alpha. Oh wait, excuse me, ALPHA. She is one bad ass dog. We all have dogs.
This is Annie, Josh and Priscilla's baby.
This is Susie, my baby. Bobby and Patsy's grandchild who got sent to the country 'cause she kept getting arrested in town. We have no idea how old she is, just that she's been around a long time.
Josie is not pictured 'cause she's a bit pissed and not as visible as she used to be. She was Daddy's main girlfriend and now Ruby is. Josie is finding that a bit hard to swallow.
Anyway, when I drive up at 6pm Daddy and his new girlfriend, Ruby, are waiting at the top of the driveway. His arms are crossed, toothpick in his mouth, solid stance with Ruby at his feet. They're both staring at my car. He's got this smirk on his face I recognize, and I already start talking to Billy Sue who has been so excited to be on a trip she hadn't sat down the entire ride.
I park, look Billy Sue in the eyes and say, Billy Sue, straight to the back porch gate. You understand me? Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. Do not even look anywhere but at the gate. Beeline. Do you understand me?
You're seriously not going to believe this. Billy Sue looked at me and pretty much said, yes. Evidenced by the fact that when we got outta that car we both took off, not so much running say, but maybe rapidly walking the twenty or so feet to safety.
That's when Daddy started laughing, giggling like a four year old boy on Christmas morning playing with a toy he's wished for all year long.
And me and Billy Sue almost make it. We get so close, almost within five feet of the gate before Daddy gets his breath long enough to say one word. One word and not even loudly. Just a normal toned, Catch.
I hear him say it. My mind screams that no which starts like a ringing in your ears and gradually explodes into an outward, expansive, NO. STOP. DADDY! GET HER! GET HER!
I'm trying not to look but can't help myself 'cause I need to know if my dog needs me but I don't want to stick my arm down in a dog fight and I know I'm gonna have to if Billy Sue is bleeding, damn it. Damn Daddy.
So I finally look down and focus, the whole time screaming 'cause I think that maybe ole' Ruby hadn't ever heard a woman scream like that before and I could at least shock her into not killing Billy Sue. Daddy is running up to where we are, still laughing. I swear. We both at the same time look down to find Ruby directly on top of Billy Sue. Just standing there like, Look. I caught her.
Billy Sue ain't hearing of it. She's pissed so she's turning around wanting to kick some ass, but Ruby couldn't care less. He just told her to catch so she has caught. I am totally grateful and respectful of the fact she didn't kill my dog. She could have.
Daddy, out of breath from laughter then says, Come on, Ruby. And she turns and goes to him. I quickly open the backyard gate for Billy Sue, the only dog who ever gets to stay on Mama's back porch. Ruby immediately goes and jumps in the passenger seat of my car, and Daddy tells me I better not stick my hand in there.
That's when I walk up to my car, look at Ruby, she looks at me and I tell her, I guess you're going home with me now. Don't bite my hand off. Then I reach in there and get my cigarettes saying to Daddy, That was just mean. I hug him, give him a kiss on the cheek and walk in to see Mom. Of course, my intention is to tell on Daddy.
She's preparing my favorite meal, fried salmon patties, dried butterbeans and cornbread. I smell it when I walk in the door so I immediately hug her when I get to the kitchen while making my case, Do you know what Daddy just did? Did you hear all that? He put Ruby on me and Billy Sue. Told her to 'Catch'.
To which she smiles and replies, Welcome home, Shea.
And we both kinda giggle.