Puppy Stuffing

It was right after New Year’s Day, 1965. Warm temperatures, continuous rain showers and snow melt has washed much of the township of Klamath away before Christmas.

By the time Dad decided to take Mom, Adam and I down to where our little house sat behind the Three Seven’s and Tony’s Market, men with heavy equipment had already began clearing away the mud, the logs and the debris of home’s that washed down from the Klamath Glen.

“Don’t leave my sight,” Dad warned as I scampered over a pile of fractured cement walls and sidewalks.

At only four-and-a-half, nothing looked the same to me and I had no real idea where our house had once stood. All I could do was remember back to the day I saw the water rise up, lifting the two room building off it’s foundation.

It took Mom and Dad standing near a low-laying crumbled wall for me to understand that this was once where the house stood. Mom was carrying Adam as I ran around inside the square outline of our former home.

Soon my parent’s were walking around, picking items up, looking them over then tossing them aside. I had no idea what they were searching for, but I figured I help by looking too.

That’s how I came to find the white stuffed dog that had been on my bed when we left in such a hurry. The dog was a gift given to me by my God-parents when we were still in France.

Excited, I raced back to Mom and Dad, to show them. Caked with mud, still wet, it smelled like mildew.

Dad immediately directed me to get rid of it, “It’s no good.”

Perhaps it was my bitter crying that prompted Dad to change his mind. That evening Mom pulled all the batting out of the toy and put it in a bowl of hot water and soapy suds, letting it soak over night.

Over the next few days Mom worked on cleaning, repairing and eventually re-stuffing the dog with clean cotton batting Ma Sanders had come up with. Then one evening when Adam and I were getting ready for bed, I climbed up onto the feather mattress, pulled back the covers and found my stuffed dog already tucked in.

And though I no longer sleep with it as I did as a child, I still have it tucked in a wooden box where I know it’s safe.


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