The Early Times 5

Aunt Georgia, she didn’t like being called “Aunt,” had a toy Boston Bull Terrier named “Peggy.” She was a pretty dog, deep chocolate brown almost black fur with snow white markings on her face and chest. She was small and lively.
Peggy took her position as pet and guard dog seriously, letting us know whenever any one approached the house.
Her favorite post was in the front window where she could see the sidewalk and street about 15 feet away. In the winter time, she slept on the furnace register where the warm air came in.
About a mile away, the Bergdoll family had a farm where they raised Great Danes. Each afternoon, trainers would walk the huge dogs for miles, some coming passed our house on East Lake Drive.Usually they just raced past because the dogs liked to run.
The scion the Danes was a big dog named Rajah. The handlers walked him solo, not with other dogs, and Rajah didn’t run, he paraded down the street.
One day, he discovered Peggy watching him. He stopped, came into the yard and stood on his hind legs with his front paws on the outside sill of the window. The two dogs touched noses through the screen and spent some time staring at each other. Then his handler coaxed into the leaving.
After that, every afternoon Rajah would come to visit. Grandmother said she thought they were in love.
Peggy also was a big part of our lives. In Spring and Summer, we played chase and catch the ball with her. In winter, when it got cold in Atlanta she figured in another recreation.
Georgia was a book lover first class and on cold nights after we had done homework, chores and had dinner, she would read to us. It was not a passive process, we had to act out what she was reading.
One night it was a story about lion hunting in Africa. The house became Africa, couches were mountains, chairs were hills and tables were caves. Peggy didn’t know it but she was cast in the role of the lion. She slept blissfully on the register was we kids, armed with broomstick rifles, crept and crawled over hills into caves in Africa. Georgia would direct us where to go.
Finally, we were grouped in front of a “mountain” behind which Peggy slept unawares.
At Georgia’s signal, we three boys went over the couch, shouting “Bang! Bang!” Peggy was startled and fled into the pantry and hid under a shelf of home canned peaches.
The hunt was over and we were sent off to bed. I don’t know when Peggy came out of the pantry.

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