By Charles Towne
As dogs go Lucky was most unique.
One of his traits was his gentle, laid back character, sort of a cross between a manic crocodile and a T-Rex on uppers.
Lucky would challenge all comers and fight at the drop of a hat but his sweet disposition, though endearing was not his most attractive characteristic.
What really set Lucky apart was his physical appearance.
He had one blind, white eye, his face was covered with scars from fighting with everything and anything, one of his long ears had been split down the middle and half of his tail was gone. On top of all that he had obviously been in some sort of accident because one of his hind legs had been broken and when it healed it ended up crooked. And oh yes, he had a bad case of doggy leprosy or mange.
By now I am sure you have figured out why we called him Lucky.
When Lucky first arrived at the old home place daddy explained to him that there were several things that were off-limits and there were seven specific rules that must never be violated. Daddy also explained to him that violation of these rules would reap a dire and terrible reward.
The rules, known as the ‘SHALT NOTS’ were as follows:
Rule # 1 Thou shalt not kill chickens under any circumstances or for any reason even if said chicken attacks, assaults, mugs, brutalizes, or attempts to murder thou.
Rule # 2 Thou shalt not suck eggs.
Rule # 3 Thou shalt not molest chickens. (Refer to Rule # 1)
Rule # 4 Thou shalt not chase chickens. (Refer to Rule # 3)
Rule # 5 Thou shalt not play with chickens. (Refer to rule # 1)
Rule # 6 Thou shalt not try to coax, lure or otherwise entice, chickens out of sight of the house under any circumstances. (Refer to rule # 3)
Rule # 7 Thou shalt not trespass, break, ignore, neglect, reject, forget, or otherwise violate, intentionally, mistakenly or otherwise these seven rules which are indisputable, irrefutable, irrevocable and immutable. (Refer to rules # 1 through # 6:
Violation of these rules shall result in immediate punishment so terrible, unforgettable, horrible and disgusting that the miscreant shall carry the memory forever. AMEN!
These rules were explained to Lucky in very great and specific detail and a copy of them was nailed to the barn door but obviously, he had either a very bad memory or a very good forgetter.
Time passed as it usually does and as much as I hate to say it, Lucky broke the first rule. Yes, Lucky did, he killed a chicken.
Lucky was guilty of breaking the greatest commandment of the seven commandments. Lucky was guilty of an unforgivable crime and as such must be punished.
You might very well ask how daddy knew that Lucky was the guilty party. Well now, that is a very good question and best answered by saying that when the dead chicken was discovered it was in Lucky’s possession.
Not only that but good old Lucky was in the process of defoliating said bird. When discovered, Lucky looked at daddy, wagged his stump of a tail and grinned as if to say, “Hey, I know the law and you can’t condemn a guy on circumstantial evidence.”
The problem was that when Lucky grinned his mouth was full of feathers and he had chicken on his breath.
Guilty, guilty, guilty!!!
Daddy grabbed Lucky by the scruff of the neck, (poor Lucky, I remember well the old “scruff of the neck” routine from personal experience.)
The dead chicken was tied securely around his neck with a piece of twine and Lucky was released. Lucky, true to type, nonchalantly walked off a few paces and went berserk in his endeavors to rid himself of the offending burden of the freshly killed chicken carcass.
Three days passed and lucky was still possessed by his trophy. An exorcism was definitely in order. Oh, I forgot to mention that it was July. It gets very warm in Illinois during the month of July. The hot July sun beat down upon the land. It also beat down on Lucky and the dead chicken.
Lucky was not feeling very lucky anymore. Three more days passed.
Lucky no longer walked around with a debonair air. In fact, he gave new meaning to the expression, “hang dog.”
Everywhere he went lucky left a trail of feathers reminiscent of a fallen doggy angel. And there was that piquant, delicate aroma of rotting and very putrid chicken flesh that needs to be realized to really be appreciated!
It was sometime on the eighth day that our miserable, misbegotten, maggoty, malodorous mutt lost his nemesis. The chicken simply disintegrated and fell away. From that day Lucky avoided chickens at all costs.
Break one of the seven commandments? You have got to be kidding!
A mild-mannered hen would walk across the yard minding her own business, eating the chance choice bug and in passing her shadow would fall upon the sleeping Lucky. He would open his one good eye; see the hen, gag, yelp, and run and hide, trembling, under the porch.
Poor Lucky, he never did learn and his luck finally ran out.
Oh no, he never chased another chicken but he loved to nip at the horse’s hooves until one day a well-aimed hind hoof sent Lucky to doggy heaven.
I sure wouldn’t want any of my “mistakes” tied around my neck, I’d probably still be wearing the nasty things.
AN OUTDOORSMAN’S PRAYER
Dear God, help me to avoid anything and everything that you would consider a sin. Help me to be pure of heart. Free me from the stench of sin. Wash me, teach me, and give me a pure heart. Instruct me in righteousness. In Jesus’ holy name I ask it, Amen
Charles Towne is first and foremost a Christian. An octogenarian, author, journalist, wildlife photographer, naturalist, caregiver, and survivor, his life has been and continues to be, a never-ending adventure filled with possibilities never imagined. He has adopted the philosophy that to Live fully, laugh uproariously, love passionately, and learn like there is no tomorrow, is a formula for a long and joy-filled life.