A DOG NAMED GUS
Grandpa was as tanned as leather, browned and golden,
with eyes that blazed blue as cornflowers. His mouth set
an easy smile, framed by leathery pleated cheeks.
He was weathered and leathered, which was what happened
when you spent your days outside, hoeing a field that gave you
sod-all nothing in return but a backache. By day hoeing outside,
and by night hoeing dreams of dust storms that could bury
Gus-the-Dog before sunrise. Gus hated being inside the house.
Hated it as much as a bath after knocking about a skunk or two.
The air inside was all used up; all the purity sniffed right out of it.
At least that’s what Gus-the-Dog thought. Funny thing about
Gus, nobody knew where that dog came from. He just appeared
one day from a rolling dust cloud. An angel with an annoying bark
and a need to dig. The first anyone knew of Gus was when
Young Jake disappeared in a dust storm one July morning.
Jake had vanished, swallowed up in a cloud of sand. Gone.
And then, here comes Gus, dragging Jake by his left brown
leather shoe, pulled him out of hell’s pitched grip into Grandpa’s
waiting arms. Well that’s how he told the story anyway – that Gus
was good luck, maybe even Jake’s guardian angel, and like most
little white lies, it served a purpose, and kept Gus at Grandpa’s
side through all those long dusty days in the fields.
(And by the way, this tale is really just another little white lie.)