Excerpt from Chapter – “Welcome Guest”

Published February 19, 2017

From the low fields, Tommie was first to notice a movement high
on the lane. As if triggered by a voice, Tucker looked up and at
once discovered a little stick thing with wheels against the skyline, and
the small boy. The dog stayed near the tractor until the bridge, then
began to weave forward and swing away from their course, as if for a
better view. Though distant, Tucker knew who and what it was as it
sped down the final slope, then suddenly slowed and labored in the
loose dirt and sand behind the shop. Generations of rain and wear
had created a softness, now a comedy of effort, as if driving into a pot
of honey. Spokes pulled up sand and the boy stood to gain power and
keep pushing forward.

Tucker pondered: Should he allow the collie to run ahead?

The bike would get knocked down or a tail pinched under its
tires.

As if he were concerned over a coming traffic, Tucker pulled to
the side of his hay field road and invited his companion to hop on
the wagon. “Load up,” he directed without looking. Seconds later
he turned to study the dog—standing on four spread feet, swaying
and absorbing the ruts with his total attention one-quarter mile
away. The tractor patiently putted. The wheels slowly turned. The
collie’s self-control was impeccable, as long as his paws were off
the ground.