By SLIM RANDLES
Billy’s been a busy guy ever since he became the official town dog here. Sally had been the town dog until she passed away on Doc’s porch, and then Billy’s owner died just two weeks after that, so it was something of a natural progression. Sometimes offices are filled without an election.
The high school wood shop boys built Billy a dog house next to the school crossing, but Billy preferred Aunt Ada’s couch in the cold months and a nice dog depression under an oak tree when it’s warm.
Billy was making the rounds this morning. He had snacks at the Gates of Heaven Chinese café (back door, of course) and the Mule Barn truck stop, and conned a granola bar out of some kids just leaving the convenience store. Then he headed down the main street, turned right at the drug store, and ended up on the porch of The Rest of Your Life Retirement Home. A brief scratching and whining gave him access, and he cruised around, being petted and loved, until he found Pop Walker.
Pop can remember what happened in World War II right down to the mess hall menu, but he has a tough time with names and whether he’s had breakfast today or not.
“Uh …?” Pop looked at the lady in the nurse’s uniform.
“I’m Jean, Pop.”
“Oh sure … Jean, okay if I go outside with the dog?”
“Only in the back yard, Pop. Okay?”
He grinned. “Okay.”
Pop and Billy walked around back there for a while, and Pop found a stick and threw it for Billy a few times. Then they went to a bench in the shade and Billy laid his head on Pop’s knee and got some free ear rumples.
Pop looked down at the dog.
“I’m glad you came over today … Billy,” Pop said.
Pop remembers World War II, also.