By gina below
The giant willow tree branches danced in the afternoon breeze and reached out to touch me as I walked by. The birds called greetings to one another and the bees danced on the flowers. White clouds slowly made their way across a Southern blue sky, as the Humming birds flittered to the Mimosa tree blooms on the fence line ever searching for sweet nectar. Morning glories wound around fences and post, draping it in glorious green, with purple and pink blooms. Sometimes if you were lucky they would bloom blue. The Red Breasted Robin hopped in the green grass looking for a meal and paid no attention to my fuzzy brown companion and me. She trotted ahead of me as if charting our course. A green lizard darted from its hiding place and she stopped in her tracks to access the danger, sensing none she continued on her way, expecting me to follow. Occasionally she would look over her shoulder to confirm I was still there and if I had been waylaid by a flower to pick or an interesting rock she would sit and wait in whatever shade was available to continue on with our journey. Her sharp eyes scanning the seemingly benign back yard. But this was a rural landscape and danger could be as close as a snake in the grass, which was her specialty in more ways than one. Strangers were not allowed in her yard uninvited either; she seemed to know who belonged. She was not a large dog but her ninja tactics were fierce and she evoked her stealth to make up for her size. We were her girls and therefore under her protection.
Darkness was her best cover as she could pretend to be as big as necessary. More than one foolish intruder had attempted to sneak into our dark yard for nefarious reasons and regretted it. Her brown coat blended perfectly with the shadows, and stories of her ferociousness spread rapidly. Somehow a rumor circulated that she was vicious.
She and my Mother had an understanding, they both loved us and they barely tolerated each other. The pros outweighed the cons in their relationship. We could not go far from home without our shadow tailing us and our Mother was happy with that unspoken arrangement. If somehow we managed to wonder off without her knowledge, she had a nose like a bloodhound and would find us before our Mother could call out our names across the field. She would scold us fiercely when she found us, for making her worry and also to let our Mother know our whereabouts.
Her reputation preceded her in our rural community and her deep cover as a poor pitiful ragamuffin served her higher purpose. No one but us wanted such a pathetic creature and she could go about her business uninterrupted. Occasionally some well-meaning soul would try to save her only to be outsmarted by her cleverness and uncanny speed. Only later when they realized their error and that we were hers would we hear the sordid details of her cleverness, and the fool she had made of them.
In her younger years she would follow us the half mile to church and wait in the parking lot for a ride home, at some point she decided she would rather be a heathen and that we could find our own way home without her assistance. We were sure she knew every curse word known to man.
She was my Daddy’s frequent companion in his pick-up truck on his treks to town; she was at her happiest when she was with him. On the days he left for work driving a semi-truck and he left her at home she would angrily try to follow him walking the many miles to town. We often wonder if she made it, many, many times a friend or neighbor or even one of us would pick her up along the route and bring her home. Needless to say she would pout all the way there and her smell was so unique you would have to ride with the windows down even in the winter months. Her perfume of choice was Road Kill de Jour or Cow Pie on the Green.
I was very young when she came to be our protector and she watched over us for more than 15 years before she moved on to her next assignment. One day she was just gone, never to return. That was like her though she was funny about good-bys. As they say ninjas never die, they just fade into the shadows.