Monday, July 25, 2011

Market baskets, well trained dogs and Aunt May

Living in an 1894 farmhouse way out in the country (even now it is a 10 mile trip to town - can't imagine what it was like 100 years ago! )makes market day a special outing. I am sure that the first owner of my home loaded up a buggy or buckboard and would go to town probably once a month to purchase anything the farm could not supply. I figure she probably used baskets to carry, store and protect her purchases. Market baskets were used well into the mid 20th century. My mother's market basket will be for sale in the upcoming auction of the contents of my parent's home. She decided to keep my grandmother's basket and sell hers as it is in poor shape. However the auctioneer said market baskets sell well no matter the condition, so we shall see. I wish I lived close enough to use a market basket.

My Aunt May (Grace's sister) lived in town for all her married life. Small home towns were known to have stores open up in different neighborhoods that sold all kinds of goods. My Aunt May lived close to one of these neighborhood stores and would walk to the store daily. It just so happened that May also had a well trained dog with his 'own' miniature market basket that would accompany May on her daily excursion. After several trips to the store the dog soon learned the way and could be trusted to make the daily trip on his own!!!(much to the amusement of the neighbors!) Aunt May would put her order and some money in the basket and the dog would grasp the basket's handle in his teeth and march off to the store intent on his very important errand. The proprietor of the store would fill the order and the much cherished 4 legged member of the family would quickly return home with the goods. According to May and her husband, Lewie, it didn't matter if meat was in the basket or not the dog would not touch the contents of the basket. In fact the dog would protect its contents at all costs.
One day on his way home from the store, our canine was accosted by another dog, hell bent on acquiring the tasty contents of the market basket. According to all the neighbors and my Aunt who watched from afar, our fearless dog calmly put down the basket and watchful as to not spill the precious goods; and then proceeded to whip up on the poor hapless no doubt hungry stray. With his tail tucked, bleeding, bruised and running for dear life, the miscreant ran down the street, as our favorite pooch stood unscathed and the victor! Returning to the basket, he carefully picked it up and return to his mistress.

Following these exploits our canine family member became a legend in his own time!

My Uncle Lewie, May's husband as a youngster! Aunt May and Uncle Lewie lived a long and happy life together. Unfortunately they did not have any children but took special care of all their nieces!

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