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Posted July 3, 2009

Everybody Needs a Tootie

Meet Duchess Tula Belle of Oxford, Mississippi, aka "Tootie." Wonder how she got that nom de plume? I'm sure you've guessed correctly.

She's an English bulldog. She is also bull-headed and a creature of God. So, how can I say she's not beautiful in a traditional Great Britain Royalty kind of way? Truly, she is just a big girl who knows what she wants and goes after it. She's a girl who loves to have fun.

I try to tell her it doesn't do any good to miss her mama who is off on vacation with heaven knows who, in some hot steamy place that probably requires roach hotels because the critters there are too large to squeeze into roach motels. Not that I have anything against a good source of protein. Once again, we're all God's creatures. Somebody has to be on the lower end of the food chain.

And sorry she gets stuck with Grandma. Not that I'm a volunteer, but since she's here, we have to make the best of her visit.

Like the cat.

I haven't seen Sweet Pea since Tootie chased her behind the yaupon holly and received a backside swat with the broom for brawling. Not a Southern Lady-like attribute. It probably hurt her feelings, but Tootie has to remember that I am Sweet Pea's Grandma just like I am hers. Grandmas can't play favorites.

For awhile, Tootie went on a hunger strike and refused to eat her food, she was so lonesome for her galavanting mama. It had been a long time since I had to cheer up a canine, and the only cheer I could think of was one I used while trying out for cheerleader in junior high school. It goes like this:

Ahhhh, beep, beep!

Ahhhh, beep, beep, quack-quack!

And give me some slack

And if you don't, I won't

Scratch your back!

And if you do, I swear, I'll cheer for you!

Ahhhh, beep, beep!

Ahhhh, beep, beep!

Tootie must have liked the cheer. It made her ears flop when she ran to scout for ducks. However, I told her it wasn't polite to swear - but she could ask me to scratch her back nicely. She grinned, rolled over and wiggled , and I promise I heard her say, "You scratch the front side while I scratch the back side." She then developed a huge case of the munchies.

When I walked Tootie to take care of girl business, she did the same thing her mama used to do when shopping. She hid beneath the dress racks so I couldn't find her. But instead of a dress rack, Tootie hid beneath the Tiger Lilies as if I couldn't see her. She thought she blended in with the skinny green foliage. She refused to come when I called her, until she saw me returning to the garden gate. Then she charged like a Sherman Tank thinking I was going to get away and she would be left behind. Just like her mama.

I said Tootie, "We have to stop tooting around. We have to get busy and write. We have to crank out stories. Agents and editors are waiting to hear from us - especially the ones on my "They Really Want Me" list. This is serious business." Tootie bigged her eyes at me and then chased down a terrified lizard.

It was then that I yelled, "Tootie!"

Tootie stopped dead in her bulldog tracks as the terrified lizard squirmed to freedom beneath giant paws. She looked at me as if to say, "Grandma, what did I do now? This isn't a cat!"

"Tootie, you just gave me a new story! We can name that lizard Terri because it is so terrified of you! And we can write a story about Tootie and Terri and how they become friends and how Terri helps Tootie find her mama by cold tracking her all of the way across the continent to the Big Pond where they rent a yacht and sail to the exotic hot steamy land. We can call it Tootie and Terri Track Mama. And the editors will love it because it has the use of alliteration and voice and - TOOTIE as a 12-year-old protagonist - even though you're only three and really a teen in dog years! Shall we wax poetic and write in rhyme, or prose?"

Tootie let out a big sigh. Of course, all Tootie wanted was someone other than Grandma to play with.

Ahhhh beep-beep quack-quack!

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