When we lived on the farm, my brother Jason and I liked to go on forays to collect "sand". It was, in all actuality, just really fine clay dirt but we called it sand anyway. We gathered it from places in the washed out road where the water would pool up. When the pools dried up, “sand” was left behind. We gathered this sand from all around the farm and put it in our sandbox.
On the farm aggravating Dad...you can tell from our filthy shirts that we had fun that day!
One morning, we got the notion to go collect sand before Mom was out of bed. Mind you, seldom was the time when we beat Mom out of bed but then again we did rise with the chickens. We knew it was against the rules to go outside before anyone was up but we figured if we left a note it would be all right. Well we left our note “We have went to collect sand” stuck right there on the face of the TV, and off we went to collect that sand.
Part of the farm road where we collected "sand".
We were having a good ole time, and we were accompanied by Pete, our loyal protector Border Collie. While we were collecting sand Pete ran growling and barking down into the holler near where we were gathering sand. Pete was down there in the holler, growling, barking and what sounded like fighting, the whole time we were collecting sand. By the time we had collected enough sand to return home, Mom was coming down the road looking for us. Unbeknownst to either of us, the panther had been spotted the previous evening near where we were gathering sand and Mom was concerned. She was going to tell us when we got up that morning to play near the house, but we got up before she did that day.
Since that day, we have always believed and we can’t be convinced otherwise, that Pete was down in the holler and keeping the panther away from us. As usual, he was protecting us. When Pete came home that evening, he was limping and had obviously been in a fight.
A few years later when we moved off the farm, Pete kept walking back down to the farm from up on the mountain until finally Dad just gave him to John Mallow because Pete was a farm dog, and like us, had a hard time adjusting to our new home in Monkeytown.