Lucky Charm

Image by <a href="红火-2936866/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=7698176">David Young</a> from <a href="">Pixabay</a>The Friday it happened, I went about my business as usual, helping nature beautify the world.  I’d seen a lot of strange objects in my line of work: deflated balls; rusted costume jewelry; musty leather wallets with soggy dollar bills; even a diamond ring, which I had to return to its divorced owner.

But I’d never seen what I came across on that afternoon, between the hydrangea bushes and the to-be-planted dogwood trees.

Tom Halloway had called the week before. “Joel, how’s it going, buddy,” he began. Then he asked me to clean out his Dad’s 2-acre yard. Offered me $2,000 for two days of work, so of course I accepted the job. I was known more for my landscaping business, but for the right price, I’d clean up a yard too, make it more presentable just with some digging, weeding, and mulch. I convinced Tom that for an extra $800 his dad’s land would improve with more flowering trees; we decided on a mimosa and two dogwoods. dogwood, flowering trees, landscaping

The two young Hispanic men who do the grunt work for me began to dig by the side of the house, near the rhodies and azaleas. Suddenly, José shouted for me to come over. I’d been sipping a tall glass of lemonade with Tom’s dad – 90 at least and as ornery as a wasp. He looked shrewdly toward José, who was waving frantically. sauntered over in the 85-degree heat. It was a scorcher, and I really wanted to finish my lemonade. But I stopped short as I saw the question mark in José’s eyes and then the strong white bones at his feet. They had been buried under just a foot of dirt and weeds. I gulped when Tom’s father limped toward us painfully despite his cane.

“Lucky,” he said simply. A tear escaped from one eye – his good eye I presumed. “My Lucky Charm.”

“Excuse me?” I asked. The old guy wasn’t senile, but I wondered right then if his mind was going.

“I buried Mr. Lucky Charm there half a year ago. Best damn dog a man could ask for. He was my companion for 14 years. Died of old age. Just like me, soon’s enough. I buried him near the hydrangeas. He loved to pee on ‘em, even though I told him not to.”dog days of summer, golden retriever, dog love

The tears flowed freely now. Mr. Halloway gave the sign of the cross, blew his nose, and walked away.

I took the shovel from José and began to dig a three-foot hole. Sweat streamed from my face into the black dirt. Then I buried the bones and said a prayer of thanks for good dogs and old men and summer days.

I retrieved a long wooden stick in the back of my pickup. Using my good black pen, I inscribed Lucky before sticking it into the filled-up hole. Then I whispered softly, “Rest in peace.”

HydrangeaI heard a whispered sigh behind me. As I turned toward the sound, Mr. Halloway tipped his head ever so slightly and limped back toward the front porch.

111 thoughts on “Lucky Charm

  1. A beautiful story, Pam.

    But, just to show you where my head was at, when the bones revealed themselves, I immediately thought, “Uh oh. That landscapers is working for a retired serial killer.”

    Sometimes I’m amazed that I write books for children…

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Wow, Pam, it wasn’t at all what I was expecting. Of course, I was expecting a dead body or even that there would be another body beneath the dog’s bones. But I agree with John Howell that this is a sweet story and I love that the man buried his dog where he liked to pee! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have to tell you Carol that when I began the story from the prompt to “write about a lucky charm,” I thought there was going to be a dead body too. But then the old man surprised me just as he surprised you the reader. I like the way it turned out better! Here’s to doggy love. 💗

      Liked by 2 people

  3. As a dog lover, I was touched by this story. When we had to put our last dog down (cancer), my wife talked about burying him in our backyard, but I couldn’t do it. (Physically and mentally, that would be hard for me.) We took Jake’s passing hard, as he was the best dog of the eight we’ve owned.

    Great job on the simile—”Tom’s dad was as ornery as a wasp.” 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’m not gonna lie…. for a fraction of a minute, I worried about what kind of bones those were! This is much better and I went from fear to feeling all fuzzy and warm with the kindness shown here. Our pets are members of our family and dear to us.
    Have a lovely weekend.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Honestly, Dale, when Joel found the bones, I was stupefied. Whaaaa? But then the old man (characters DO tell us writers their stories) set me straight. This is why I feel that fiction is more truth, sometimes, than non-fiction. xo

      Liked by 1 person

      • You have to give time to the old men and listen their stories – they really are such a wonderful source of history and such. Yes, fiction is so often more true than truth!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Another of your most excellent tales Pam. and those bones in the picture had me worried for a moment LOL…. Wondering what was Un-earthed from that beautiful imagination of yours..
    Sending love and hugs from the UK.. x x ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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