Monday, February 9, 2015

Wrinkles

The insistent ringing of the doorbell startled me. The only unannounced visitors at our rural home are people who are lost and Jehovah’s Witnesses. I set down the clothes I was folding and hustled to the front door, wondering if I’d forgotten someone who'd said they were coming.

A rapid knocking at the back door swung me around in my tracks. I headed through the kitchen to catch who this was. I cut a glance through the kitchen window on my way through and saw a lifted ¾ ton diesel truck in the driveway, outfitted with the off road tires popular with young guys. A couple of shotguns rested on a rack inside the back window of the truck.

I pursed my lips and frowned, something I try to avoid so as to prevent new wrinkles. I imagined a hot shot young dude wanting to go dove hunting on our land, something we don’t allow because of the proximity of our cattle. Even my husband, an avid hunter, doesn’t shoot in our pastures.

And now whoever-this-was couldn’t wait for me to even get to the front door? I grimaced, thinking of other encounters with guys like this who wanted to hunt for free, tear up pasture land with their big tires, and shoot irresponsibly near the cattle. I loaded up my verbal armory, determined to teach this fellow a lesson in manners. I ditched my caution of wrinkling and steeled my face into a scowl.

I pulled the door open and a twenty-something man  in a flannel shirt tucked neatly into a pair of jeans that were tucked neatly into a pair of snake boots pulled his cap off and held it in both hands.

“Ma’am, we’re sorry to bother you. I’m Rick, this is my brother Oscar.” His brows furrowed. “Last night we were muddin’ down at our cousin’s place over there.” He pointed vaguely to the southwest. “My two dogs got loose. Have you seen them?”  

I shielded my eyes from the sun’s glare with my hand and thought. Something in me softened and I stepped back and invited them into the kitchen. I motioned for them to have a seat at the table.

“Thank you, ma’am. We’re really anxious to find them, so we won’t keep you long.” I offered them some ice cold bottles of water. “They’re Catahoula/ Heeler mixes.” I smiled as I thought of the splash of spots and colors they must be. “One is named Chico and the other is Chula. Chico’s got on a handmade leather collar and Chula has on a pink camo vest.” Oscar nodded silently at his brother’s description.

“We haven’t even gone home to sleep. We’ve stopped at every house in a five mile range. Some people have kicked us off before they even heard what we were doing. We’re not going to stop, though, until we find them.”

I explained we hadn’t seen them yet, but that we’d surely keep an eye out for them. They stood with their bottles of water and carefully pushed the chairs back under the table. I walked them out the back door.

“Thank you so much, ma’am.” Rick’s raspy voice was testament of their long night. He turned back around. “And ma’am, if they do show up, they’re really friendly dogs. If you hold out your hand to Chula she’ll shake and give you a bow.”

I watched through the window as they headed out, but then they quickly stopped. Oscar climbed out with a shovel. He moved to a rut in the side yard the truck had cut when they backed up and carefully smoothed the damp earth back into place.

I smiled and patted my cheeks. The best wrinkle prevention is watching good folks in action.

And if they do find their dogs, I will be sure and update this. I'm praying they do.

46 comments:

  1. I hope they ended up finding Chico and Chula and that there is a happy ending :)

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    1. Optimistic: I SO hope they do, too.

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  2. Prayers they find their beloveds!

    Hugs, Kelley~

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  3. A compelling story. Will there be more?

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    1. Stephen: A story I would love to write would be how they found their dogs. I'm so hoping they do~

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    1. Roshni: I am fervently hoping they do, too!

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  5. Oh, Shelly, God bless you for giving me something sweet to read, though it's sad. I hope they find their babies.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Janie: It squeezes my heart to think of how the brothers and the dogs are feeling. I so hope they find each other again!

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  6. How polite. If all people were like them, we would not even need locks on our doors.
    I hope that they find their dogs. It is amazing how they trained them to bow.
    You are very good with strangers. God Bless you.

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    1. Munir: Such well mannered and good hearted guys- they deserve to find those dogs, and soon.

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  7. Now I will be anxious for the lost ones. Hope it turns out well.

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    1. vanilla: I am so hoping they find them- there is lots of open space for those dogs to be cavorting in, so hopefully they'll get tired of that and come back to their homes soon.

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  8. Oh my. You are so brave.... seeing guns in the truck and still you opened the door!! But then it's such a different culture in America, especially rural America. So maybe I would have opened the door? Though I tend not to when the bell rings around tea-time (6 pm) ... bound to be charity callers or someone wanting something. (I've already signed up to enough charities!!)

    I'm glad you did open the door, allowing the true colours of your callers to show. It's nice to be nice, isn't it? And that eases any wrinkles by turning a scowl into a smile! xx

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    1. jazzygal: Especially in rural Texas, guns are a fact of life, whether I like them or not (I don't much). And I, too, am really glad I opened the door to them. They turned out to be so much better than I expected and show me I need to expect the best in people, instead of prejudging.

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  9. Hi, Shelly! I used to make TV commercials for mud bogging events held across West Central Florida. Monster truck exhibitions are still very popular around here. I used one of those jacked-up diesel trucks in the first commercial I ever produced which was for a custom auto accessories retailer. My script called for 50 picnic goers to scatter out of the way as the monster truck crashed the party and crushed a table covered with food. Split second timing was required and all went as planned but, looking back, I shudder to think of how many things could have gone wrong that day.

    The moral of your story is never judge a book by its cover. I can understand how you expected the worst when you spotted the truck in your driveway and flashed back to unpleasant memories of people who drove those vehicles and how they tore up your land and endangered your cattle. Your story reminds me of the rough looking members of a motorcycle gang who visited Margaret Elizabeth Brown Schneider, "The Oldest Living Dell Rat," to pay their respects and pose with her for pictures on her 102nd birthday. Sometimes good people come disguised as unsavory characters. I hope those good boys find their dogs.

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    1. Shady: I'm so grateful I keep getting reminders about not judging people by my past experiences with others or by how they look. Hopefully, someday, I'll get it right! And how very interesting about your monster trucks. I think I would have needed a ladder to get up into this one!

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  10. Those sound like boys from my hometown, and I was both relieved they treated you in a way that would make their momma proud, and sad to hear they were having so much trouble finding their dogs. I'm hoping for a happy update!

    P.S. I'm so glad you're back!

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    1. Amy: I'm hoping to hear from them soon!

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  11. First you're a very trusting woman to let complete strangers in the house with you. I wouldn't do that. But all's well with their mannerisms and true nature.

    Hope they found their furbabies.

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    1. HOOTIN ANNI: I SO hope they found those sweet dogs- and I usually wouldn't let strangers in, but I had a feeling about them.

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  12. The best stories and grace moments come when we let our judgements fall, don't they?

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  13. Aw what a sweet story - I'm a bit more leary of strangers and probably wouldn't have invited them in but I do hope they find their dogs

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    1. Saimi: I really do hope they find those pups~

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  14. Awwwww...loved this! It's that old "Can't judge a book by it's cover" so many times that happens to us all.

    I always like to think that if we don't say anything (to others) sometimes, that we are missing out. What if you'd pretended you were not home? You would have missed out on this grace filled moment with them. (you would never do that!)

    I love to ask people where they are from down here. (because everyone is from somewhere else down here in SPI) It opens the conversation and they light up.

    Thanks for sharing...brought me to tears again!

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    1. Jamie: I'm always on the lookout for those grace filled moments- they are so rich! And I'm so much richer for finally having met you and your beautiful family!

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  15. Judging by the cover. Guilty. *she raises her hand* But I am sometimes proved how absolutely wrong I was, too. I hope those sweet boys find their dogs. :)

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  16. Don't know what I was expecting, but lost dogs was not it. I sure hope they find them though...and that they let you know, so you can tell us. (:

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    1. Linda: I'm hoping they'll stop by and let us know one way or the other~

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  17. A good lesson for us all! Thank you for dropping by this morning and for your very kind comments.

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    1. Bossy Betty: I do hope your days are enveloped with a comforting grace, my friend~

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  18. I'm not sure I would've invited them into my house, but I'm glad they were polite, and not there to cause trouble. I hope they find their dogs.

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    1. Sherry: It's not a usual thing I would do, but now I'm glad I did.

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  19. Oh, I hope they find them! I know just what you mean about maybe sometimes thinking the worst of people then having them pleasantly surprise you. Restores my faith in humanity!

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    1. Dawn: I LOVE those surprises- they are the best of all.

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  20. You were kind to invite them. I think I would have been a little hesitant to do so. I hope that they found their dogs.

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    1. Dawn: Oh, I hope they have found those sweet doggies!

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    1. Simone: I haven't heard back from them, so I'm hoping no news is good news!

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  22. There are still a lot of good people out there, it is always a gift to run into them.
    GREAT post Shelly!

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    1. Pat: Thank you- I'm really glad they crossed my path.

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