by Arnold Dyre
Mister Jim had an answer for most everything. He was quite hard of hearing and sometimes he did not hear my questions and I suspect he sometimes pretended not to hear my questions. I do that sometimes with my wife, Beverly. But, for the most part, Mister Jim was responsive to my exceedingly inquisitive nature as a youngster. I asked a lot of "why" and "what if" questions, and Mister Jim supplied the answers. Frequently, Mister Jim answered by demonstration, seemingly initially ignoring me only to later point out the answer that was revealed through some act that he had taken pains to make sure happened solely for the benefit of my learning. What I learned from Mister Jim was generally quite interesting as well as useful. Some things were entertaining.
I had long observed the custom among dogs of sniffing the behinds of fellow canines whenever they meet. Over time, I figured the practice was something akin to hand-shaking among humans. I did not always ask Mister Jim the things I did not know, instead favoring the possibility that I might figure things out on my own and then eventually putting the question to Mister Jim for mere confirmation. Finally, one day when my dog, Mickey, had exchanged a sniff with a strange dog we encountered, I asked, "Mister Jim, why do dogs do that?"
Without hesitation, Mister Jim replied, "They’re looking for the pie."
I waited and Mister Jim said no more. He just kept on striding along with that long gait of his. Trying to keep up with a long-legged Mister Jim and talking with a hard-of-hearing Mister Jim at the same time was a quite a feat.
But my curiosity was aroused and, huffing and puffing, I managed, "What pie?"
Mister Jim slacked off with the fast walking and glanced around for a good place to sit. When he had settled himself against a good tree and had cut himself a good-sized chew from the plug of tobacco he fetched out of his pocket and chewed enough to spit one time, Mister Jim began, "Back a long time ago when dogs could talk and they went to church and had dinners-on-the-ground like people do on Memorial Day, there was this long-winded dog preacher that was saying the prayer before they were to begin eating the great feast they had laid out before them."
Mister Jim spat again and then went to whittling on a stick with his pocket knife. I waited.
Mister Jim then continued, "Someone had made a big, nice sweet potato pie, and I reckon it was about the best-looking and best-smelling sweet potato pie there ever was!"
I had to wait some more.
Mister Jim paused for only a moment before adding, "And they were using some awful language. They were fighting and cursing, and the Good Lord got right upset with the whole lot of them."
Mister Jim took the stick he had been whittling on and pointed it at my dog Mickey and explained, "The Lord pointed down from heaven with a wand of some kind and waved it over that mess of bad-mouthed, fighting dogs and took away their ability to talk!
Then, Mister Jim stood up and started out walking again as he concluded, "Dogs don’t go to church no more but they all are still looking for that pie."
The story above is an excerpt from Arnold Dyre’s second book, Home Again. Dyre, a retired lawyer from Madison, Mississippi, commented on his new book, saying, "Home Again is the result of the many favorable expressions by those who bought my first book, Home Is Where The Heart Is. Encouraged to produce a sequel, I have tried through Home Again to entertain readers with more tales of my growing-up adventures; however, I have also included a number of stories that have nothing to do with my growing-up years but that illustrate, rather, my notion that most things should not be taken too seriously."
Click HERE to order Home Again from Amazon.com.
Arnold Dyre writes:
"I live in Madison, Mississippi, and am a 60-plus Jackson attorney, retired from active law practice. I was born in Montgomery County and grew up in Grenada County and currently write a weekly column for The Daily Star, a newspaper in Grenada, Mississippi. My weekly columns, as well as some features for various special editions, are mostly anecdotal musings calculated to interest local readers and relate primarily to nostalgic memories of experiences growing up in a rural community called Gore Springs. I have had similar types of pieces published in The Oxford SO & SO, The Tombigbee Country Magazine, and Yesterday's Memories."
"Additionally, I write short stories and poetry, and I've also completed two legal thriller/police/crime novels for which I am currently seeking the representation of a literary agent and/or publisher."
Read more of Arnold Dyre's stories here at USADS!
What Happened To Supper?
Be Suspicious of a Skinny Cook
Battle of the Sexes
Thinking is Powerful Work
How Much Sense Does It Take To Fall Off A Roof?
Read many more great stories listed on our USADS Articles pages.
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