Thursday, February 8, 2018

On Being a Stray - A Story from Small Town Roads

All of my writing seems to involve a pet, this one Clyde a lab mix rescue adopted by the main character. a young female rookie police officer in a small farm town (not based on me, I've always been federal and in huge cities though my Mom used to be a Deputy Sheriff).

I hope this brings a few smiles - LB
This book won first place for Fiction - Religous Theme - at the International Reader's Favorite Book Award. 

For anyone new here:  Book description as follows:

Let go of the life you wanted to get the one that you were meant for.

With a fresh college degree in Criminal Justice, young Rachel Raines is looking for a place to hide a heart full of loss, and a quieter police patrol than Chicago. The bequest of her late aunt's house seems like the perfect opportunity for both if she can survive the gigantic spiders, creaky plumbing, and inevitable challenges of being the rookie on a small town force.  It's a place unlike any she has lived in - a tiny rural town with no coffee baristas and one single restaurant that has a giant cow perched on the roof.

Sometimes God has other plans for us.

Down the street, her aunt's best friend, Evelyn Ahlgren, marks the passing of seasons and neighbors, long mired in her loneliness as a widow. When the young woman with scars of her own befriends her, they strike up an unlikely friendship across generations that just might help them both heal with a little help from heaven above.

Chapter 11

Clyde was doing pretty well, having only chewed up one pair of shoes, after which he gave me that doggie look that would seem to say, well, if you didn’t want it chewed up, you shouldn’t have left it on the floor.

I hadn’t done anything on the job that would cause me to be injured or fired, though there was one day this week I was worried.

I was on patrol by myself for the first time after assisting the elementary school as an extra crossing guard when classes ended. It didn’t take long to cover the whole town. There was Main Street, on which there was the family-owned supermarket. There was the beauty salon, which I’d braved post-academy to find out they had a couple of stylists there that knew all the latest haircuts, not just styles for the grandmothers. Plus I learned more about what was going on in this town than on any police scanner, as few events or inappropriate actions were missed by these women, and the information was always passed around. Note to self, if I’m going to buy wine to take to  my friend Evelyn’s for dinner, don’t buy it in town, I could just hear them now, “Look there’s Officer Raines—she bought a bottle of wine last year as well.”

There was an ice cream place, closed until summer, a tiny chiropractor’s office, the bank, the diner, and a little place you could walk in and buy a big piece of pizza by the slice. There was the liquor store which had never been robbed, and there were the shuttered remnants of the only realtor in town.

The second block of Main Street had the post office, an office of an attorney, another chiropractor’s office, and several shuttered small businesses with “for lease” signs in the window. One was a neat and brightly painted business that just had the words “hot dogs” on a sign that looked like it was from the 1970s in that carefully-maintained but long-shuttered building. There are probably some stories there. I’ll have to ask Evelyn next time we share a meal.

Between the two sections was the town square. It sat in the middle of a big roundabout which was about as close to gambling as you’d find in this place. Cars come in from six different directions, as the town was laid out almost like a star. You’re supposed to yield to the cars already in the roundabout but everyone cheats, darting in when there was barely enough room like it was that old retro video game Frogger. My mom used to play that silly game, and every time I entered the intersection in the police car, I’d hear the music from it in my head.

That spot had a lot of fender benders and resultant tickets for failure to yield. I think I now know why this little town had two chiropractors and an attorney.

I’d survived another trip through it, so I headed on down toward the train tracks, near which the only local pub sits. On the other side of the tracks stood our police station and an old railroad station that had been converted into a small museum. That road got a fair bit of traffic as it goes on down south toward the Catholic Church, behind which is a small neighborhood with some families with children. Beyond that, there is a drugstore, a small doctor’s office, an auto repair shop, a gas station, and then you’re in the open country.

As I got to the four-way stop, looking into the neighborhood, I saw an arm waving and turned to see what was up. There were some children that looked to be young siblings who frantically waved when they saw the police car. This neighborhood had several families with children and just as many dogs. The first time I got a barking dog complaint when out with my training officer, I pulled up to the address in question to find the only non-barking dog on the street.

The children were still waving when I came to a stop and got out. I noted no one was injured, but they were pretty worked up about something as their mom watched with concern from the porch.

“Please, please help, our dog got away! The gate was open. We called for him; he always comes if you call, but he must be too far away to hear!”

Just as I’m a sucker for those looks from Clyde; I couldn’t ignore the plaintive plea of a child. They were all so cute in their winter gear.

I said, “What’s your dog’s name?” The oldest little boy said, “Walter.”


So I did what any other self-respecting law officer would do. I immediately got in the squad car, turned on the lights, and over the speaker called out, “Walter, come here boy! Good dog, Walter. Come here, Walter, good dog.”

You could probably hear that a mile away.

People started coming out of their houses, laughing at me, but a minute later here came this little white puffball of a dog racing toward the kids. I tipped my hat to them and drove away as soon as all were safely inside their fenced yard.

I understand, now that I’ve got a dog, how easy it is to get attached. Hopefully, when news of that got back to the station I would not get in trouble for the unusual use of the vehicle’s equipment but, as I know how we all are with kids and dogs, I’m sure I would just be teased a little bit.


  1. Mom so enjoyed this book, and she smiled again tonight when she read the passage about Walter.

    Woos - Lightning, Misty, and Timber

  2. Aww, what a sweet story! We think any good police officer would've done the same thing.

    1. Thank you - I think I have your new address. I'll send you a copy of the book. My Mom was the first female Deputy Sheriff in Multnomah County (Portland). The Fictional character is loosely based on her personality (but not her life story).

  3. That sounds really nice. (Ghostwriter has never lived in any town smaller than Niagara Falls NY.)


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