A Christmas Story.

I go out on the Levee with Skunk puppy four times a day. Morning, noon, dusk and just before we all go to bed. We spend most of the days being around one another, if she isn’t following me around she’s right on Mrs. Lebec trail. Of course at breakfast and dinner time she knows who feeds her and it isn’t me. I marvel at how the two most important things in her life are eating and chasing the ball. There are others that merely get her attention Squirrel, Biscuit and Outside are on the short list as well.

I am confident Skunk Puppy isn’t the only canine with those prompts; I would estimate the number is in the millions. She’s a stinky old dog carrying the DNA of every canine that has ever graced our green earth. I am a dog (and Cat) person, this morning I was thinking about the Dog we had when I was young. I was raised in a poor family and this is where the story begins.

My oldest brother had left home for the Navy years prior and my Oldest Sister was married before he left. My brother who was a year older than me and one, a year younger along with my youngest Sister all lived in a small house. I don’t remember where we all slept but I bet my Sister had the second bedroom us boys probably in the basement. My Dad had already been sick for years since 1962 after slipping on ice after a Halloween Party. My Mom worked in a cut-rate variety store for 35 cents an hour.

We had not received a Christmas present for several years and was not expecting one that year as well. One issue that affects poor kids more than any other is disappointment; and that year we weren’t. There were millions of kids like us in those days, our parents struggled through the Great Depression then fought in the Second World War; they had an extremely hard life. Wages stunk in the 50’s and 60’s making living hard; life was not as advertised during those decades.

It was around the year 1965 give or take a year and Christmas was headed our way. My brother and I worked so we bought presents for everyone, not expensive stuff but it was something. I know my Dad and Mom did not like being unable to provide much for us; food was enough.

We woke up that Christmas Eve to our parents rounding us to get into the car. We went to the City Pound, our Christmas Present was a Puppy. We were more excited than we were happy I remember. A surprising thing is Skunk Puppy looks just like our new Puppy we named Sam.

He was the best present we could have received, we finally had a puppy and nothing could compare to it. Five years later I enlisted into the Navy during the Vietnam War and spent 4 years wishing I hadn’t gone.

While I was in my parents moved to a neighboring City as my Older brother had moved out leaving my younger siblings at home. During the move Sam died when left in the new house, they surmised he didn’t understand what was happening and died of fear. I found out in a letter from my Mom, in the next letter I learned my Dad had another stroke. This stroke almost took his life, it would be another six years after lying in a care home when a stroke would take him.

I wasn’t at home the year was 1970 and Sam had died, I never thought of his death until it happened. I always feared my Dad would go at any time instead.

My Parents must of known Disappointment was part of our lives because no promises were ever made; because they were most likely going to be canceled. That was one Christmas we weren’t to be let down, that’s the stuff memories are made of.

These are the hardest stories to relive and tell to others; because some people just don’t get it.

Jacques Lebec natural-self-reliance.com

My photo gallery is at; jimsfluttershutter.com

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