A dog can make all the difference. Here she was sitting on the floor surrounded by photos, each one staring up at her wakening another wave of regret, but that dog, what did Tyler call him? Roady. He sat there eyes following her every move, cocking his head just so as she told him the stories behind the images.
“You’re a right, good companion Roady,” Gertie Miller said. She bundled the pictures back up and tucked them into the dusty cardboard box. He gave her a quick bark as she got to her feet.
“I know you understand. I expect you’ve seen a fair number of years yourself though you’re not an old dog.” She patted the dog’s head. “Don’t get old.” She laughed. “Like there’s a way to stop it. Nope.” She headed down the creaky stairs. “One day you’re young trying to figure stuff out, the next your old thinking about how it could have all gone differently.”
Gertie puttered into the kitchen. She picked up the grease spattered tea kettle. “Should be keeping things tidy,” she scolded herself. “But then again, why?” She turned to the dog. “Why?”
Roady barked back.“Exactly. The only visitor I’ve had in a long while was young Tyler.”
Roady barked twice at that comment. Gertie filled the kettle with water and put it on the stove.
“He’s a good one.”
“You miss him pup?” Roady sat on the floor, head down. “Sure you do.”
Gertie went about making a cup of tea. She sat down at the kitchen table with her hands around the warm cup. She took a sip, her thoughts drifting to the darkening sky outside. She remembered the kids complaining about chores on chilly evenings like this but then coming into the kitchen to a pot of her stew, they would change their tune. At least when they didn’t have their eyes on leaving the farm. She couldn’t keep one of them around once they got the bug to make their own lives. But John would have done it. Gertie knew the farm was in his heart. He wanted to build his own house. That was fine. Would have been fine if he hadn’t had a wife and a baby at the alter. No, it wasn’t that. That first child brought him so much joy. If they had only lived with them, not tried to work so hard to provide it all. But his wife, Tyler’s mama would have none of it.
“Too much control. Too much judgement”. Gertie had overheard her say that. What really kept them living in a rental house was that in those days the alcohol was spare at her house. And Gertie would never tolerate drinking with the kids around.
What was she doing? Pulling up pieces of the story again, fitting them together a different way each time. Just depended on what kind of mood she was in who was to blame. Who could know why this choice was made or that one. Who could know? No one. The days were spent and here she was keeping company with the dog of her adopted grandson. That’s where she should begin.
“Maybe,” she said suddenly. “Instead of lamenting how I failed in the past, maybe it’s time to do something in the present. What do you think?” Roady sat up. Gertie tossed him a biscuit from her pocket. “We’ve got some work to do before your master returns.”
Roady couldn’t agree more.
Read the series from the beginning, choose “Roady Series” in categories. Be a fan and ‘Like’ this post. Join the fan family and ‘follow’ this blog. For more from the author, go to ClareGraith.com. Thanks, Clare.