My friend Timothy.
You see, me, Jason and Timothy all went out to play with the dog in the doghouse one morning before breakfast. We lived at the old farmhouse up Johnson Holler then, and the doghouse was out on the hill from the back porch. Mom would never let us play out there alone because of the huge rattlesnakes that sometimes lay out there. But that morning while Mom was making breakfast, we all sneaked out the back door and went out the play with the dog. Well, we had a good old time rolling around with the dog and getting all dirty. Looking back, we were usually so filthy when we came back inside was probably the reason Mom didn’t want us to go out to the doghouse more often because at that time, she had to haul buckets of water up from the creek and then heat the water just to give us a bath. But that morning, we managed to get out to the doghouse without Mom seeing us. Well, when Mom hollered for us to come in, that breakfast was ready, all three of us were so filthy, and covered with flea’s, that Mom wouldn’t even let us in the back door. She said we needed a bath (and this included Timothy).
Well, we all pitched in and helped Mom carry the water up the hill from the creek (I’m sure we were more of a hindrance) and waited impatiently for the water to heat on the stove. Mom then filled the old galvanized tub that sat on the back porch and gave us a bath. She even gave Timothy a bath and hung him up by his ears on the clothesline to dry. While Timothy dried, me and Jason went in and ate our breakfast.
The back porch where we ate breakfast, and where we were given our bath in this story.
Well, in the meantime the dog got loose, probably from where we had been out playing with him and accidentally assisted in his escape, and when we came back outside after eating, Timothy was missing. Oh, I moaned and carried on something fierce, you’d have thought someone was taking a razor strop to me. We searched high and low for Timothy but couldn’t find him anywhere. I remember Jason and I walking all around the house calling out Timothy’s name like he could answer us. At that time, we didn’t realize that the dog was loose, so that thought didn’t even enter our minds. I was just sure that old Roscoe Johnson who lived up the holler had carried off Timothy and I wanted Mom to take me to his house so I could confront him. Well, of course Mom wouldn’t take me to confront Roscoe and told me that Timothy had to be there somewhere, and told me and Jason to look for him some more.
In the meantime, Mom cleaned up breakfast and put the scraps in a bowl to take out to the dog. It was then that she noticed that the dog was loose, and she ascertained that is where Timothy was too. Sure enough, Mom looked around for the dog and saw him up at the end of the garden chewing on something. It was Timothy. Poor little Timothy had been disemboweled, and was missing an eye. I saw Mom walking up in the garden towards the dog so I followed her and saw the gruesome scene firsthand. Once again there was a great weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth coming out of Johnson Holler. Timothy was dead. I had lost my best friend. What I didn’t count on was that before becoming a parent, Mom was employed as a miracle worker. She told me that she would give Timothy some surgery and that she thought he’d pull through the ordeal, but that me and Jason would have to be really quiet while she done it, like we were when she’d take us to the doctor.
Well, Mom sat down that the kitchen table and sewed and stitched and stuffed and studied, and after what seemed to be a lifetime, she announced that Timothy was going to live, but that he had lost an eye. Mom told me that she could take an eye off of another of our stuffed animals or buy one at the store, or even make Timothy an eye patch. But nope, I wanted Timothy just the way that he was. Mom told me that Timothy had to have another bath, since he had just been through surgery, but that he could play after he dried. Well after that bath, Timothy was once again hung out to dry on the clothesline, and this time I got a chair and sat up residence under the clothesline. I wasn’t going to take any chances that Timothy would get kidnapped again.
After Timothy’s recovery, we once again became inseparable in our escapades, and Timothy remained close to me for the rest of my childhood. I’d like to add that after all of these years, Timothy is still in my bedroom at Mom and Dad’s house, and we had a nice long visit over Thanksgiving. I asked Timothy if he wanted to come back to Charleston with me, but he declined saying he was really looking forward to Christmas on the mountain. That Timothy, he always was one that liked to be where the action takes place.