MAGGIE – the English setter
I came in from hunting quail in January and found this letter from an old friend. I thought some of you folks might want to read it, too.
“Larry, ….I’m sure you remember old Ed Bradbury and Maggie. Years ago we hunted birds on the back of Ed’s farm over by Tyrone, where you nearly got lost in that cedar glade and then got hung up in that barbed wire fence. Well, Ed was in the pool hall last Saturday most of the afternoon and returned home to find Maggie dead on the living room couch. You probably won’t remember Ed if you don’t remember Maggie. In her younger days there wasn’t a man in these parts who didn’t envy old Ed. Everyone use to wonder how in the dickens he wound up with her. Anyway, she’s gone. Doc Dykes told Preacher Bishop this morning that he figured it was her heart but no one will ever know. Ed is taking it pretty hard, but that’s to be expected, as close as they were.”
“I talked to him just last week at the drugstore when he was in getting her some medicine and he said at the time she just didn’t feel like getting out of the pick-up. That’s not at all like Maggie; you know how outgoing she was. I said howdy to her that evening but she didn’t pay much attention, she was just sitting there looking out the window as if she didn’t even know who I was. I didn’t realize how old she was getting, but if you think about it, Ed brought her to the Ozarks from over in Kansas pretty near 15 years ago.”
“I remember she didn’t like it here at first, and Ed thought about taking her back to the city. He said he just didn’t have time for her with all the farmin’ he had to do. But Maggie was quick to make friends and in no time at all it was like she’d been here all her life.”
“The two of them were inseparable, every Saturday when Ed came in town to buy feed, she’d ride along, sitting right over next to him as if she were afraid he was going to get away from her. They’d drop by the filling station on the way home and he’d buy her some ice cream while he had a bottle of pop. Of course, she was a beauty back then, back before she put on so much weight. I’m sure that getting so heavy was hard on her health but Maggie just loved to eat, and Ed bought her anything she wanted.”
“They had her funeral on Sunday afternoon, but not too many of Ed’s friends were there and I guess Ed’s pretty upset about that, too. But shucks it was all so fast most of them were gone or didn’t know about it until Monday or Tuesday. I’d have been there if I hadn’t been hunting quail. I thought the world of her. In fact I never told anyone this, but she came over to my place once when Ed made that trip to the city and spent most of the day. But she was a smart one… she was back home an hour before Ed was. She was partial to me and one of Ed’s neighbors, old Horace Clatch. She’d get a little peeved cause she couldn’t go in the pool hall with Ed, and she’d sneak off down to the river where Horace was bank-fishing and drinking beer and not come in ‘til after dark. Ed never did know where she’d been, and still don’t I reckon. I think that Maggie loved beer even more than ice cream.”
“Some of Ed’s friends think it’s ridiculous for Ed to be carrying on this way, but I understand how much he thought of Maggie. And Ed doesn’t have anyone else. His wife left him eight or 10 years ago. She told him to choose between them and he chose Maggie. Who could blame him? That wife of his never shut up and she spent money like it grew on trees. And she constantly found fault with old Ed. Maggie never did… anything Ed did was alright with her. And if he told her to go fetch something for him, she went with never a whine nor a whimper. Well, to all those who say it’s silly for a man that age to grieve so over a dog, I say they don’t know what it’s like to lose a good English setter. That Maggie was once as good a quail dog as I have ever seen.”
“Well, I’d best sign off. I want to take a couple of these young dogs out early tomorrow and see if I can find a covey or two before spring. This nice weather needs to be enjoyed. Won’t be long ‘til the turkeys are gobblin’. Hope you can get over here to hunt next fall… the dogs all miss you.— Your old huntin’ buddy, Jim.”
Next week I will tell all of you about what we expect at our outdoorsman’s swap meet on March 23. We still have some tables available and they are free. You just have to be selling items related to the outdoors or country living. For all the details, you can see my website, www.larrydablemontoutdoors.blogspot.com.
Listen to my outdoor radio program each Sunday morning at 8:06 to 9:00 on KWTO 560 AM radio. You can hear it on the radiospringfield website. Write to me at Box 22. Bolivar, mo. 65613 or e-mail me at email@example.com.