RIP Hooligan Patches

Reader Contribution by Mary Carton
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The Hooligans have the run of the whole three acres I own. I installed an underground wireless fence around the whole acreage. The collars start vibrating then feet from the wire, and shock if they get with five feet of it.

My “Problem Child” Patches had it figured out just how close she could get out without being shocked. She was always testing it, so the battery wouldn’t last the normal three months. She was the master of escape. She wouldn’t tell me when the battery was dead. She would get out after I left for work and would come back home before I did.

One time she got out and head up the hill, Karen caught her and stuck her in her back yard with a bunch of new rescues. She called me at work, I said I would leave her and pick her up after work. When I pulled up to her carport, there is Patches standing up plastered to the storm door going into the back yard, with a look of save me in her eyes. She must have thought she was back in rescue, as I didn’t have problems with her for a while.

She knew the collar kept her in, so when changing the batteries, I had to tie her up. She wouldn’t let me put it back on the first time I changed the battery. When the battery was good, she figured out that she could bounce forward and back several times and overwhelm the collar just long enough to get out. When she wanted in she would stand at the end of the driveway barking for me to let her in. If she got into something that she knew she wasn’t supposed to get into while I was gone, she managed to tell on herself when I got home.

Last May she got into a neighbor burn pile and was sick the next day. We made a trip to the vet, and she got better for a week or so. Then she slowly started wasting away. We tried different medications for her heart, but I had to make a decision to let Patches go over the “rainbow bridge” on May 31. She was fourteen years old.

Blackie and Levi keep looking for her when I get home. This is the first time that I had more than one dog and didn’t realize that they mourn the loss of their buddies. They know I took her off. She wanted a lot of attention from me the last few weeks we had her. Now I understand why. I still look for her at the end of the driveway wanting back in and giving me the “look.” Her ashes will be buried near my last rescue, Casey, an Austrian Shepard. I had Casey for sixteen years.

Farmers have finished up combining wheat and have planted soybeans over it no till. Going through my pictures from last year, it looks like the wheat harvest was a couple of weeks earlier this year. Corn is over head high, tasseled out and looks like it will be a good crop again this year. We had snow in February and went from winter to August temperatures. We had a lot of rain, which delayed corn planting in some areas to hot dry weather.

Bluebirds have fledged once and are building new nests on top of the old one.

We were really needing rain, and it finally hit before the 40th Helen Keller Festival. The festival is held each year during the week of Helen Keller’s birthday. I went home every night from Spring Park muddy from the knees down from walking around the outdoor stage.

This year, it was all Muscle Shoals based music. Red Marlowe, who finished in the top four of The Voice, played Friday night. Saturday night some of the Muscle Shoals’ legends played in the headliner. Sunday, the local churches take over sponsoring concerts. This year Jamie Grace was the headliner. The Sunday attendance has been very good each year.

William Gibson’s play, The Miracle Worker, is performed during the month of June until mid-July each year, right on the grounds of Ivy Green, Helen Keller’s birthplace in Tuscumbia. Local actors do a great job in it each year. Patty Duke, who played in the movie version, was so influenced that she made several trips to Tuscumbia over the years.

The W.C. Handy Music Festival starts at the end of July, where the Shoals celebrate the “Father of the Blues,” W.C. Handy. Ten days of music. I keep several chairs in my truck. He was born in Florence, on the other side of the Tennessee River.

The Fourth of July was spent in Russellville, Ala., at their celebration at Sloss Lake. Darryl Worley was the headliner. A storm hit just before he was to play, it knocked out power to the park and damaged some of his band’s instruments. After the storm passed, they did the fireworks first.

Darryl Worley had the city bring in a flatbed trailer and did an acoustical concert with his drummer and guitar player in the dark until midnight. The only lights on were the lights around the ball field behind them. He could have collected his check and gone home. His actions speak volumes about his character.

Photos property of Mary Carton.

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