Summer on the farm in 1940 could be joyful and full of delightful activity. But that was not always the case, for it was also a place of hard work, long days and sometimes painful events.
I knew it was coming; mom told me the Rendering Works would arrive today. Presently, I was upstairs in my bedroom waiting -- waiting for the sound I DID NOT WANT TO HEAR! My parents had been discussing it for some time, saying things like, "Rex can't live like this any longer; it's almost impossible for Rex to walk; he needs to go to doggie heaven". Even though I was only nine years old, I understood because I had observed the decline in our farm dog's mobility and found him to be unresponsive when I called to him. I was frightened; Rex had been my friend for as long as I could remember. The day was warm and sunny, but I could only think grey thoughts.
Rex was a big dog with soft curly brown fur. He loved to be hugged and he followed me all around the farm yard. When it was time to bring the cattle in from the pasture, Rex ran ahead and rounded up those cows in short order. I could depend on Rex to be there waiting when I returned home from school, his fuzzy tail wagging all over the place. It made me feel warm and loved.
Rex was never allowed in the house because mom would not allow that, but he had a dog house and in the winter months he was allowed to sleep in the barn where it was warm and cozy. But now Rex was sick and I was aching inside for the thought of what would be happening today. I knew about the Rendering Works because last fall the big truck had come into the yard and left with dad's favorite field horse named "Dolly". I had heard a shot -- then the big truck left the yard. When dad came in for dinner, his eyes were red and there were tears on his cheeks. I could feel my eyes get prickly; I did not like seeing my dad hurting from the loss of his beloved horse.
This morning I had found Rex lying panting in the yard barely able to raise his head. I rubbed his curly fur, patted his head and said, "Goodbye". Life would never be the same; sure, dad would find another farm dog but it would not be Rex!
Suddenly, out of the quiet came a single shot -- that loud noise would insure I would never, ever again see my beloved Rex! Through my tears, I looked out the window and watched the big truck race out of the driveway. Sobbing and blubbering, I silently took comfort that now Rex had arrived in doggie heaven.
Respectfully submitted,
Laura W. Berglund
copyright Oct. 2018
Laura Berglund is a former Afton area resident who writes post-depression stories of her childhood living in rural southern Minnesota. Her husband, Harold, (other than two years in the Army), has spent his entire life in the St. Croix Valley/Afton area, never more than 12 miles from his birthplace.