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Great Scott! Dog Lips

This article first appeared in issue 33, and was written by Judy Somerville.

To say that we were "poor" when I was growing up would be somewhat misleading for there are all types, and varying degrees, of poor. One could be physically poor (ill of health), spiritually poor (lost with little hope or zeal), or financially poor (limited in money and material possessions).

The latter type of poor described my family more closely, for we were all healthy, most of the time, and most of us were saved and heaven bound! We just didn't have a lot of money. We had all the necessities but few of the frills. However, we were blessed with two things - imagination and creativity. My siblings and I could take almost nothing and make something special out of it. I tell you this to better explain the event I am about to relay.

It was summertime, the year I'm not sure about, but it must have been 1968 or '69 for I was married and my daughter Kim was a toddler. My baby sister Peggy would have been seven or eight years old. And this child was "rich" with imagination. She was never one to say, "there ain't nothin' to do", because Peggy was a creator of happenings.

I don't recall when or how Peggy acquired Scott, but he was such a trusting and faithful dog. He was just a tiny collie-like pup when she got him and right from the start he seemed to believe his only purpose on this earth was to cater to Peggy's every whim and to be at her constant beck and call. When she went in at night, Scott would lie down at the door, waiting for her return at first light.

Poor Scott! When he was no more than just an armful of blond fur, Peggy would put a baby bonnet on him, stick him in her doll buggy, and push him around the yard. At first he tried to jump out at every opportunity, but Peggy would pick him up and put him right back in the buggy. He soon resigned himself to the daily ordeal of the "buggy ride". To add insult to injury, she made him suck water out of the little doll bottle. Poor Scott tried to do as Peggy instructed, but he never quite got the hang of closing his lips around the plastic nipple, and, consequently he always looked as if he had peanut butter stuck to the roof of his mouth.

The bonnet she made him wear was too big for his little head and the brim would periodically drop down over his eyes, causing him to blink in rapid succession as though he suffered from astigmatism. It was such a funny sight, and yet I couldn't help feeling sorry for poor Scott. He was growing up quickly and was beginning to outgrow the buggy. The bonnet was fitting better now but his backside was bigger and his tail long and bushy. When he sat in the buggy his hind legs were nearly the length of the buggy and he was so tall he sat precariously high in the buggy and toppled over more and more frequently. Finally Peggy abandoned the buggy ride and Scott graduated to tea parties.

One day while mom was at work Peggy threw a grand affair, complete with table and chairs, dolls galore, dishes and teapot and leftover biscuits from breakfast. Of course you know who the guest of honor was. Yep, poor old Scott. Peggy outdid herself that day and Scott was dressed to the "nines"! Time flies when you're having fun, and Peggy got so involved with her gala affair that she didn't realize till she saw Mom's car coming up the road that she didn't have time to clean up. Peggy ran inside and shut the door!

Mom pulled into the yard, turned off the engine and got out. Now you need to understand that Mom was about two-thirds of the way through raising seven children, and worked as a nurse's aid at the local hospital. So there was very little that Mom had not seen or smelled! It was difficult to put Mom at a loss for words. She'd seen it all at least once. Or so she thought.

Mom slammed the car door, turned around and was met with a full head-on view of Scott, sitting obediently beside the table as if waiting for someone to pour.

Scott was wearing one of Mom's old sweaters, which Peggy had put over his back and had threaded his front legs through the sleeves, buttoning only the top button. She had found an old hat of Aunt Daisy's and pinned it on the back of Scott's head with several of Mom's bobby pins. Scott's outfit was now completed with a matching pair of rhinestone clip earrings which dangled from Scott's ears catching and reflecting the early afternoon sun. But the crowning touch was the liberal application of Mom's best lipstick (Rocket Red was the color, I believe) and smeared on Scott's upper and lower lips!

Mom stopped dead in her tracks! She looked at Scott, not quite sure of what she was seeing. Scott never moved except for the occasional fit of rapid eye-blinking, an acquired habit from the baby bonnet/buggy ride days. Mom stepped around Scott, first one side, and then the other.

Almost to herself, Mom said, "What the...?" , "Who in the world...?", "Why is this...?" , "How did...?", "Somebody's gonna...!", "Is this my new lipstick?!?"

For a long moment Mom stood silent and then she exploded, "Peggeeeeey!!!!!!!"

Now I didn't see this with my own eyes, but I was told that Peggy met with "the switch" that afternoon and ate supper standing up. But later that evening just before dark, my family and I arrived to visit a while. My husband and I spotted Scott about the same time. All that was left of his ordeal was the bright red stain of the lipstick. We looked at each other and simultaneously said, "Peggy".

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

NOTE: By the way, Mom told Peggy, "I absolutely refuse to share my lipstick with a dog -- you go get it right now and throw it over the hillside!" Instead of following her mother's directions, she has since confessed to having hidden the tube under the front porch. Every few days thereafter she freshened Scott's lipstick so that for about a year the dog walked around with red stained lips and a mysterious smile.

This story was posted on 2001-02-15 12:01:01
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