Caussey's Corner

Caussey’s Corner: Days of Grand Adventure with Patso

By  | 
Tony Maples Photography


When you are five years old, the whole world is big, and sometimes frightening. Life sprinkles light like a newfound copper penny, appearing as bright as the summer sun.

Even though I am somewhat ancient, I can still remember when I was five years old. Especially that day when my folks brought home my new baby sister.

Today, my sister Dian is an attractive, intelligent lady. But back when she came home from the hospital, she was all pink and wrinkly. Plus, she was beautiful, and proceeded to get all the attention from my parents and the neighbors that I had been garnering for the last five years.

A simple cry from her got further attention. This was terribly upsetting to a little guy who had commanded center stage all his life. A few hours of this “beautiful baby stuff” was all I could emotionally handle.

Patso, my border collie, seemed to be the only person of importance that was willing to pay attention to me, and still hold me in high esteem. He appeared to really like me when it was his feeding time.


Photo: @kytawillets via Twenty20

So Patso and I got together and decided to run away from home. I was reluctant at first. But Patso kept telling me how mistreated I was. He felt we could find someone who would love us, who didn’t have some pink, baby girl to get in the way.

As darkness brush painted across the rural landscape, and night creatures were arousing from their sleep, Patso and I made our escape. With a half bottle of soda pop and two sugar biscuits, we started our journey to find a new home. A home where people lived that would love us, and not abandon us for some “new arrival.”

As the cold wind provided companionship, along with Patso, I struck out to parts unknown. We journeyed through the large cotton fields in the back of our house. Beyond the fields lay the dark woods, and beyond them a world that I knew nothing about or had ever seen.

At first, everything went pretty well. Patso chased field rabbits, and provided any other security that might be needed. Several hours later, with only eternal darkness and the steel cold encircling us, even the friendly bark of Patso caused my mood to waver. But thoughts of returning home to watch people paying attention to that baby hardly offered any regrets. I could still hear the voices of the neighbors talking about what a beautiful little girl she was.

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Photo: via Twenty20

The cold was becoming unbearable, and I could not really tell where I was or how far I had traveled.

At the edge of the dark woods, Patso and I found a deep hole filled with winter grass. With his encouragement, I decided to stay the night in that hole, covering myself with dead Johnson grass to fight the bitter cold. Tomorrow we would find our new home.

Hours passed and the night became even colder. Patso placed himself on top of me to keep me warm. Throughout the night I could hear distant voices calling my name. Car horns sounded, adding turmoil to my restless sleep.

Before daybreak, Patso left our lair and disappeared over the top of our hideout hole. He had gone for help. I awoke as voices and lights appeared overhead, serenaded by the barks of Patso. Someone crashed down into the hole and scooped me up and lifted me toward the lights.

Suddenly my Mother was there, cradling me in her arms. She was crying and laughing at the same time. She held me so tight I could hardly breathe. Refusing to give me up, she started walking across the cotton field toward home. Tears fell from her eyes, washing my face.

Feeling so snug and warm there in her arms, the rhythm of her gait made me sleepy. I could smell the cotton leaves from the field and the cologne water that Mother wore in her hair. She kissed my forehead and sang a child’s lullaby and the church song, “Jesus loves me.”


Photo: @TechWild via Twenty20

We arrived home just about sunup. On the back porch, Mother held me close and told me how much she loved me. I looked into her face and saw the look of love that all mothers have for their children. A look that I would grow to know and appreciate all the more through the passing years.

Mother tucked me into bed, allowing Patso to sleep beside me. I slept the sleep of darkness, but just as the blackness overpowered me, my Momma’s face appeared and chased the darkness away.

Years later, when I visited my Mom in the nursing home, she hugged me with the same warmth of that long ago, cold January night. The look on her face reassured me of the great love she had for me.

Sometimes, as we sat in her room and talked of the past, I could nearly smell the cotton fields behind our house. And there will always be a place in my lap for a border collie called Patso.

Durhl Caussey is a syndicated columnist who writes for papers across America. He may be reached at this paper or at [email protected].