Saturday, July 30, 2005


By Marion Kelley Bullock

Barbara, my sister, and I loved our cat. It never came inside, because our parents didn’t believe in animals coming inside. But we enjoyed playing with it outside on those occasions when we could catch it. I remember the picture of my smugly smiling little sister grasping our current cat in a life-defying stranglehold. In her arms, it dangled helplessly, gasping for breath. I don’t know how long the cat lived after that. But one thing I know. It didn’t die from lack of affection.
Poochie was another story. We loved her (or was it him?) with all our hearts. I guess she was the first real pet we could remember having, in our early years, besides the strangled cat, which I tried to forget.
Thurlow, who worked as house help for our mother, gave us Poochie. She was from a litter that Thurlow’s family’s mama dog had whelped. She was wonderful. As well as I can remember, she was sort of spotted, tan, brown, black, and white . . . maybe.
We were so used to her. She was always there for us. We lived out in the country, about a mile from Coleman. When we played outside, Mother probably thought Poochie would keep us from getting snake bit.
I really thought she’d be part of our family forever. But one day Thurlow told us that her family’s dog had been run over and killed. Poochie looked just like her and was also the only pup in the litter that they could locate. The upshot of it was that Thurlow’s family wanted her back, Indian givers that they were.
I can barely remember Poochie, but I remember my grief over her. Even today, I can’t imagine giving a pet to two little girls and then, later, asking for its return.
After Poochie, there was Bobby. We may not have had him very long before he was run over by a car and killed. I think he was white with black spots and looked like a collie.
Two telephone men crossed our front yard and knocked at the door. My little sister and I clung to our mother’s skirts as she talked to them. Then we saw their offering. Two tiny wild rabbits nestled in one of the men’s big hands.
“Could your little girls have them?” he asked.
They had dug them up when they were replacing
a telephone pole “up the rode yonder.”
Barbara and I waited with bated breath. When Mother agreed, we held the little creatures in our hands, hugged up against us, so they wouldn’t get away. Later, Mother or Daddy helped us outfit a box for them and we gave them our undivided attention, offering them water, grass, and any other tidbits we were given for them. Anything to make them comfortable and happy.
They must have been miserable. Instead of thriving, with the care we lavished on them, they moped, refusing to eat. Finally, we were forced to accept that turning them loose was the only solution. I’m not sure how this was accomplished, but I visualize our daddy telling us that wild creatures don’t thrive if they’re caged and deprived of their natural habitat. I see him taking us out into the field and letting us turn them loose.

"God made the wild animals according to their kinds . . . and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good." Genesis 1:25 NIV

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


By Marion Kelley Bullock

Memories are elusive. Sometimes they hide right around the corner and refuse to appear. At other times, they simply pop up, unannounced, surprising us with their clarity.
In writing this, I recalled some things almost verbatim, but others were shrouded with a fine mist. At times such as that, I had to go by instinct, saying “I think this is the way it is.” You see, no two persons remember everything the same way. This is what I remember.
I don’t know when I first realized it wasn’t just me anymore. But I do remember helping take care of someone smaller than I. This actually began when I was fourteen months of age, because that’s when my little sister was born. I suppose, since I was underfoot anyway, Mother appealed to me to help with my new Baby Sister. “Bring me a diaper,” she probably said, and I soon began to get the hang of it. “Baby It-ta wet,” I chirped, when I touched a soggy cloth diaper. “Baby It-ta want nim-bot,” I appealed, when she cried for her bottle. I was given what my parents termed a ninny-bottle when I was hungry, so I had to make sure my little sister fared as well. I addressed any number of needs. In fact, I took my job so seriously that Barbara didn’t ask for anything. She simply pointed and I told Mother what she wanted.
Years later, Mother confided that they had feared Barbara might never learn to talk, because she didn’t have to. I did all her talking for her.
It could have been claimed that I kept my sister from learning to talk, by second-guessing her every time she opened her little mouth. But think of it this way. I had experience. I was more than a year ahead of her, so I merely wanted to pave the way.
I protected my sister on any number of occasions. I’m sure I did, even though I don’t remember specifics. That’s what older siblings are for.
When I was very small, even before I had a little sister, Mother left me sitting in the kitchen floor, one day, chomping on dry cornflakes. They were in my little orchid potty, which I was allowed to carry around with me, since it was no longer used for its original purpose. When she returned to the kitchen, I was actually chewing pieces of a green glass ash tray, which I had broken into my potty. I was rushed to the hospital, in case any of the glass was ingested, and I never repeated that blunder. Neither did my sister. I watched her like a hawk and kept her from such foolishness.

God is in the business of protecting His children. Parents, brothers and sisters, and friends can only do so much. It's God to whom we turn for the ultimate protection.
"God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble." Psalm 46:1 NIV