Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Boy, a Book, and an Old Yeller Dog

[Note: Blogger has decided that today it will not necessarily retain my paragraph breaks uniformly. Sorry.]

I am so pleased to welcome guest blogger Kristi Rice today. How do the books children read affect their lives? Read Kristi's story and find out.

My "Yeller" Dog
I can't fathom the idea of not having any children in the single digit age group. As of today, that is exactly what has happened. Where did the time go? My St. Patty's Day boy has turned ten. We thought we would do something really special to mark this occasion and so decided to give him a pup--a yeller pup.

It all started this summer when my Ethan's cat ran away for the zilynth time. Ethan decided he was fed up with cats. Dogs were the way to go. My response? Heck no! I just had brand new carpet laid. No way were we going to house break a new puppy!

Then, my big mistake. See, the fall is my absoulte favorite time of year. I am an outdoor girl. I still love to climb into big old trees with a good book. I decided it would be sooo nostalgic to take my children along with me and read a classic novel. "How about Old Yeller? I thought. Well, let me tell you, it worked out just as I had it in my mind--no, better. My children loved the book. Ethan especially loved it. At the end of the novel, he looked up at me with a tear streaked face and said, "Momma, I want a yeller dog." Oh boy, if that didn't pull at my heart strings.

That brings us to this past Saturday. I put out a search to see if anyone knew where I could find one. A fellow homeschooler emailed me that he had golden retriever pups ready to take home.

It was road trip time! My daughter Olivia and I took Ethan in the car. (My husband would have come, too, but he had to attend to some other business.) We told Ethan we were taking him to get his birthday present.

His eyes lit up. "Are we going to Wal-Mart or Target?" Olivia and I laughed. Neither, was our reply. We told him he would never guess in a bizillion years where we were going.

When we pulled into the home of the dog owners, Ethan asked, "Where are we?"

"You don't remember this place?" I said. He, of coarse, had never been there.

The front door opened, and a very smiley man invited us in.

"Ethan doesn't know why he is here," I said. "He just knows he is getting his birthday present." The man's smile broadend even wider. He said he had to go put the big dog away and then we could take a look.

As the man walked away, Ethan looked up at me with the same face I remember from right after we had read Old Yeller. My heart melted, and tears burned my eyes.

"I'm gettin' a puppy?" He spoke softly as tears leaked down his face. Oh boy, I lost it. We both stood there in this stranger's kitchen weeping. The man returned with a look of bewilderment on his face. I couldn't even speak to tell him what was happening. I'm not sure that I would have been able to explain it to him anyway.

Ethan went in to the kennel room, and within five minutes he had snuggled up to one "yeller" pup in particular. Now that pup, which he named Lady Bella Elizabeth Rice, is living in our home.

We have already had some pretty exciting adventures which I hope to write about soon.

Do, do tell us more, Kristi, as the days go by. Guests of this blog may visit Kristi's blog, also.

Now, gentle readers, would you be so kind as to comment about a book from your childhood that significantly impacted your life? If you are a writer of children's literature, how do you hope that your work will influence your readers?


  1. Thanks for posting my story! favorite childhood novel would have to be "The Bears of Blue River" or "Anne of Green Gables." Sorry, couldn't choose one! These books made me want to be outdoors everyday (more than I had already)exploring the woods and forests. I would spend days, sometimes nights, creating other worlds to explore.

  2. Uncle Wiggly books. My mom read me a story every night. He often got the Epizootic(a flulike illness, I guess) and when my kids were little, I made up a song about the Epizootic that they could sing and feel better. What wonderful books with trouble always around the corner for the rabbit gentleman, like the Skillery Skallery Alligator. And now boys and girls, if the alarm clock doesn't ring early, scaring the pollen off the daylilies, I'll tell you the story of Uncle Wiggly and his first meeting with Nurse Jane Fuzzy Wuzzy!