Walking With Jackie the Ripper

Thursday, June 17, 2004

It's amazing how much it costs to keep a dog. I'll bet I've spent more money on Jackie in her short life than was spent on me in my childhood in an equal amount of time.

She's always into something requiring a trip to the vet. For instance, the other day we were visiting a neighbor and I heard a crunch, crunch, crunch similar to what she makes when eating hard candy. (Once in a while I succumb to her little whining entries and share a peppermint with her, but don't tell the vet.)

Only imagine if you can my horror when realized she had found the mouse poison and was mightily enjoying it. Obviously this required an emergency visit to the vet and she got a shot which must have been the right thing for him to do because she never looked back.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying my parents would have just ignored it had I eaten D-Con as a child, but I don't know what they would have done. There were lots of home remedies in those days, and in all probability the neighbors would have been called in for a meeting before such extreme measures as calling the doctor.

Once Mama left a fruit jar containing a small amount of kerosene on top of a book case, and ever a curious child, I managed to reach it. Just as I was saying "What is this stuff?" I tipped it into my mouth and swallowed a good bit. The community consensus was that it wouldn't hurt me. So far as I know they were right.

The fact that there wasn't much money in those days had a lot to do with it, I'm sure. All of us knew cash was hard to come by, and we tried to earn what we could for a little spending money. Personally, I would have done almost anything for a dime. In my childhood, for 10 cents you could have two double-dip ice cream cones, (which now would cost two bucks fifty each at Baskin-Robbins) see a Saturday afternoon double-feature, (no popcorn, but what the heck?) or best of all, save it for Le Fleur's School Store and be the most popular kid in class with a big sack of jellybeans or 10 B.B. Bat Suckers, available in strawberry, chocolate or banana, each one guaranteed to last all afternoon or until the teacher caught you, whichever came first.

In my middle years I fell victim to a sucker. I can't remember what they are called but they are good. I bit on one the wrong way and quickly realized it had captured a filing. My dentist was appalled. Called me ugly names, like a"blithering idiot," and he charged a lot. Broke me of biting on suckers, I'll tell you that.

Back in the '30s we were given 2 cents for our Sunday School collection. There were several of us to attend Woodside Memorial and I guess every little bit helped provide the small cards we used for our classes. Nowadays, it has become a very common practice for people to throw away pennies and I have found as many as nine in a small area at Wal-Mart. You bet I pick them up and I think about Sunday School every time I bend over.

Perhaps that in part explains why I was led as a youth into so many and varied schemes to earn money. My entrepreneurship knew no bounds.

But let me tell you of the least favorite of my endeavors which involved picking blackberries which were sold around the neighborhood for 10 cents a gallon. (The same quantity now costs $10 and they aren't even sweet.) Picking them was an excruciating ordeal for me because I have ever been allergic to chiggers and they somehow seemed aware of my problems and sought me out for special treatment. I really suffered because allergy shots were an unknown in those days of the Great Depression. It was just assumed we had sense enough to scratch.