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Country Echoes

By MAE BABER, R.D.2, Brandon, Wisconsin

Do you know - it is a difficult thing to keep wondering if you are guilty of a certain thing, yes, even if it was unintentional, did I do it? It has been a year now that I have been turning this over and over in my mind - am I responsible for Blacky having a bobbed tail?

To say the least, we are well supplied with dogs and cats. They sort of come to us as the animals approached the ark. Neighbors have too many kittens our children can't resist. My husband walks in the field someone abused and forsook a pleading-eyed pup. He brings Pal home. A hunter departs without his cocker spaniel, golden as sunshine. He come to us and we watch the ads -No one advertises. Rusty has won our hearts. Finally we give him away but he finds his way back and his eyes of disillusioned trust make one turn away in shame. They seem to say, 'How could you have done such a thing?' I decide we should have named the farm HOMELESS HAVEN instead of EDGEWOOD ACRES.

Now getting back to Blacky black as coal he is. He had a habit of hugging the back door tenaciously. I fell over him so many times that I was utterly surprised when he went out after a mouse.

One day he appeared at my back door and he looked simply horrible. Mid-way his tail was broken and the end which had suffered the threatened separation was completely stripped of hair. What a sad sight! In a matter of a few days he lost the dreadful eyesore. My family made it all the rougher for me by making sly hints.

My beautiful ebony, slinky cat Now had a tail like a scrounging rat. My family said 'Have no delusion For there is only one conclusion. You closed the door so tight and pat Upon that charming, loving cat.' They sort of hinted that women are cruel

I moped upon my kitchen stool. The cat can't talk, I'm in a stew, Are all their accusations true?

Then there is Nifty. She was a he they all said, and Jim, who is now in the ministry, declared in his college days that he would have six children before Nifty ever had kittens. One surprising day Nifty presented us with four little fluff balls, and she has repeated the feat several times. The next day a letter went off to Jim who by now has acquired a wife but up to now hasn't lived up to his end of the bargain. It is a family joke along with Blacky's half a tail. Now -- let me see there are Blacky, Tommer, Tom Junior, Tippy Tail, Nifty, Whitey, Hilda and a variety of unnamed kittens which will do well to escape when they decide to sleep under the cows. The dogs are Pal and Rusty. One thing I know -- we are


Our profit goes to cats and dogs
Their offspring is terrific --
On merit of their residence
One can't be too specific.

They meow, they bark, they howl, They fuss;
Their appetite insatient;
Perhaps their only value is
They teach me to be patient.

Even amid the annoyances which our menagerie sometimes causes surely they have their compensations and I felt rather badly one day very recently to find a car had run over and killed my Blackie with her half a tail. Is there anything on earth that looks much happier than a child with a soft kitten curled up next to them under an old blanket. No child should miss this and this is one of those things country living makes possible. It is just another blessing from God for those of us who can hear the Country Echoes and find here real peace and contentment.