I am Dog

I am Dog , and I am a good deal older than 70ish. My recent memories go back to 1933. I was originally placed on a wooden plank in a small carnival. Our carnival traveled all through the midwest, usually stopping just outside of small towns in Iowa, Nebraska and the Dakotas.

On this occasion we had set up in Calome, South Dakota. On my right was a small shooting gallery and to my left was a ferris wheel. There were just fields beyond that. I didn’t have any friends; I was an ugly lonely plaster dog. The people who came to my booth tossed small balls at some cans (three for a nickel.) Sometimes a ball would land in a can, and a jubilant thrower got to select a dog as their prize. It’s natural that all the pretty dogs were selected first. I had been there a long time. I had seen a lot.

Then came the day that everything changed …. I saw a little girl, probably about 8 years old, and her big brother, probably about 12, both very excited, pointing this way and that. Obviously the little girl had never seen a carnival before. Family chores at that time placed demands on everyone. Music was playing and they wandered my way. The little girl pulled her brother’s head down and whispered in his ear while pointing at my booth. Big brother began searching in all of his pockets, finally found a nickel, walked up to the booth, slapped down his nickel, picked up three balls…. The third ball landed in a can, and he held his head up like there was nothing to it, pretending that it was all a simple task. While I prepared to say good-bye to one of my handsome companions, the little girl pointed at me, obviously the ugliest, but most loving dog on the shelf. Now she had me – (She had very little else.)

Ultimately that little boy would go on to survive the WWII Island Hopping Campaign as an Army Ranger, wounded three times and still standing on Okinawa when the bomb was dropped that shook the world.

The little girl’s story continued. Her family’s crops failed, the depression lingered and they slowly traveled to California. Never once did the little girl forget me or where we came from. She never set me aside when things became confused; we were together for her lifetime.

She grew up and raised a fine family, who are 70ish now with children and grandchildren of their own. They have (I hope) inherited and passed on her simple, honest values.

That is how I eventually achieved the honored spot on your desk: chipped, faded and broken.

I sit here proudly.


One Comment

  1. Yo Dog, It didn’t take me long to figure out who Elmer was. I know the family tree. I have do doubt about the story. They are part of my wonderful family, and I love them very much. Don’t mean to get mushy but as one gets older family takes on more deeper meanings. Also, those carts those Mormons used were called “handcarts” and there are some real heart wrenching stories about them and the other pioneers also. If those who ever saw the movie “grapes of wrath” know how some of our families got to LA from Nebraska, they would be thankful for our pioneer heritage. All I can say is I am very grateful and proud of my family and heritage. God bless. <.p>


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