By Susan McCabe
My friend had a grandfather who was a genuine mountain man, complete with moonshine and shotguns. He had a hound dog named Gus. Gus was a good dog but he had two faults. He was an “egg-sucker” and he would fall down and play dead when he heard a gunshot. Grandpa decided that these traits wouldn’t do in a mountain dog and was going to put the dog down.
The children liked Gus and they set out to be his angels of mercy. While Grandpa was refilling his moonshine, the kids snuck in and replaced the shells in the shotgun with blanks. Grandpa went out and dug a shallow grave, and then took the shotgun and the dog out to the clearing. He fired the blanks and down went Gus.
Grandpa buried him in the shallow grave and then came back to the kitchen and sat down with his jug. In a few minutes he heard a scratch at the door, and looked up to see Gus standing at the door with his tongue hanging out! He let loose with a string of colorful mountain words and said to the dog, “I could have sworn I just shot you.”
Again he took the dog and the shotgun. Again he shot the dog with the blanks and buried him. Then he stomped back to the house and sat down in the living room.
He stole looks at the door and sure enough, in a few minutes Gus was back. Now his language was not only colorful but downright psychedelic! The children were hiding behind the door laughing hysterically. He took the dog to the clearing a third time and fired the gun. Gus went down and back into the grave.
When Grandpa got back to the house, Grandma decided he had had enough moonshine and gave him a beer and a bowl of peas to shell. He sat on the back porch with his peas, his beer, and his gun.
Looking out toward the grave, he told the dog, “If you come back this time, I ain’t gonna shoot you now or never. You deserve to live.” Lo and behold, he saw Gus’s front feet and then his snout poke out of the grave.
As the dog came toward him with his tail wagging happily, Grandpa picked up the gun and slammed it on the porch breaking it. Gus lived a long and happy life and was buried 15 years later in the same shallow grave.
Susan McCabe is a freelance writer from Abilene, TX. She is a regular contributor to the local newspaper and has two books in print and one in progress. She is also director of Unseen Ministries which provides freelance writing services and a weekly blog.