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Banjo — Part One

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France

Our day started at first light. Momma fed the belly of the cookstove with wood to make biscuits to go with the squirrel gravy. Ray headed to the woods with his .22 to get the squirrels. We were as poor as dirt under our bare feet. Mice gnawed up knotted crumbs stuck between the planks of the kitchen floor and stopped by once in a while to check on things. Momma swatted at them with the broom, but they were too hungry and tired to run. Beggars.

When Christmas came, we didn’t get our hopes up because we knew we might not get anything. At birthday time, Momma would ask what we wanted. Ray always said, “The only thing I want in the whole world is a dog; I’d never ask for anything else.” I told her, “All I want in the whole world is a dog for Ray.”

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