Tales from the Bark Side - Buck's special delivery service
DETROIT LAKES - Welcome back to the bark side of life here in Ottertail, where the faint echo of children's laughter still quietly resonates within the walls of our home. Easter has come and gone here at Rosswood, and we cherished the time together with family and friends... I trust you all spent the time well.
The blustery winds of spring -- or winter, as it seems -- blow cruel and hard against the windowpane here in the upstairs office. Whatever happened to "in like a lion, out like a lamb?" Specks of the white stuff slam into the out buildings like Forrest Gump's rain... sideways.
This week, I have another treat for you. Ike Fischer of Frazee has sent in an entry for the "Logic vs. Instinct" contest. He writes for the Frazee Forum and has been a contributor to this column on more than one occasion. I was delighted (do men get delighted?) to see his letter, and have been looking forward to see what our friend has to say about the subject. Here's Ike's tale about an animal that, so far, has been touted as the epitome of cunning and also about man's best friend.
I have a couple of hanging quarter-inch mesh wire bird feeders hanging from the porch roof, filled with sunflower seeds with a dish on the bottom that catches spilled seeds. Some fall on the ground beneath it also. Several squirrels come to pick up the spilled seeds. Only one, the largest and oldest I suppose, climbs up the supporting post, reaches out and tips the nearest feeder, then rushes down the post to chase away the other squirrels before picking up the spilled seeds. When they are gone, he repeats the process.
Obviously, the squirrel had to use "reason" in order to figure that out.
When I was 16, on my birthday, my oldest sister gave me my first golden Labrador pup, Buck No. 1. We were inseparable. He loved to help carry anything -- milk pails, wood, and the mail. When we would feed calves pails of skim milk, he would carry a pail half full of milk and watch anxiously while the calf stuck its head into the pail to drink the milk. When I would say OK, he would nip the calf's forehead. It would jerk its head out of the pail and Buck would pull the pail away, then finish licking up whatever milk was left before helping to carry the pail back to the milk house to be washed.
When I would carry an arm full of wood to the house, he would eagerly grab a stick out of my hand to carry along to the house. When I took the stick from him and say, "go get another one," he would get as many as I needed. He loved getting the mail. He would run ahead and jump up and push open the box with his front paws, then wait until I got there to give him his piece, usually some junk mail -- but a package was special and he would carry it with pride. He passed away while I was in the Army. I had three other "Buckshots" after coming home, but none ever as good.
There is more to Ike's letter that space doesn't allow me to fully share. Thanks a lot, Ike, for a peek into the past and a glimpse at your bushy-tailed friends and their antics. In the future, I will share more tales about Buckshot No. 1 and how he hunted with Ike for pheasants and other fowl.
Have a tale to submit to the "Logic vs. Instinct" contest? You can enter in one of three ways. You can em-ail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, write to me at Keith Alan Ross, Richville MN 56576, or phone me at 218-495-2195.
Bark Side book on sale
Tales From The Bark Side (the book) is my first book to be published. A second one is being put together now, and I hope to have it out sometime around the end of summer. You can purchase the current book at the Red Willow in Detroit Lakes at both locations, one at the Washington Square Mall and the other down the hill at the corner of Willow and Washington. That does it for this week. Until next time...