How I Got This Way...
I just passed my 70th milestone, and it caused me to reflect on various relationships that have influenced me over the years. Here is one of them.
Judy was my closest childhood friend. A black and white, long-haired composite canine, she is part of my earliest memories, acquired for me by my grandfather who was well aware of a simple truth: dogs and kids need each other. She was the most important being in my life when I was small, and our worlds revolved around each other.
Judy was a champion listener. We would lie on the floor in front of the stove or in the yard under the big elm tree, and I would tell her my troubles and triumphs. She would pay close attention, never offer advice or criticism, and always dispense unconditional love by the cargo.
Bill “Bojangles” Robinson once said: “It’s a shame a dog don’t get to live too long, but they still gotta die old.” Judy lived for twelve years, my entire life since age two. She was ill for only a few days, and I was talking on the phone when I got the same feeling that hits the stomach when a rising elevator stops too suddenly. I knew my lifetime friend had passed. I dug her grave behind the shed and placed her blanket-wrapped body in the ground. In some unrealized way, even then, I knew my childhood had been measured by the life of that wonderful dog.
One evening, a few weeks later, my granddad sent me across the highway to get a quart of ice cream. Waiting for traffic to pass so I could cross the road to return home, I looked at the front door. There, peering out over the kick panel of the screen, silhouetted against the brightly lit living room, wagging her bushy tail as I’d seen her do so many times, was Judy. I felt as if someone had pushed against my chest. I glanced each way for traffic and sprinted across the road. When I looked again at the front door, she was gone. I mentioned what I’d seen to my grandfather.
“Coulda been just yer imagination, Boy. Could be she ain’t left yet. Don’t let it scare ya. Everthing is all right.”
Over the next two or three months, Judy made several appearances. More than once while lying in bed, I heard her rabies tag tinkle as she left her rug under the wringer washer on the back porch and came in to pace the kitchen, her claws clicking on the tiled floor. Several times I heard and felt her leave her place on the porch late at night and come into my bedroom to lie on the floor beside my bed, waiting to sneak back out to the porch before my grandmother arose in the morning. She did it nearly every night of her life. She did it nearly every week after her death.
My granddad took it all in stride.
“Ain’t to use in tryin’ to explain it, Boy. Things is the way they is.”
My grandma was another matter. The only physical evidence ever left of Judy’s nocturnal journeys was the rag rug she customarily slept on. My grandmother was a neat freak and kept the rug neatly folded under the wringer washer. Every morning after a nighttime visit by the dog, that rug would be rumpled and twisted. My grandmother, a Christian who saw herself as precariously perched between God’s wrath and the devil’s pitchfork, would straighten that rug with fleeting, jerky movements as if she were afraid to touch it, muttering under her breath all the while. She’d then get a fresh cup of coffee and read the Bible.
Late one night I rose to use the bathroom. As I prepared to return to bed, I heard Judy click her way through the kitchen, tag-tinkle across the living room, and sigh as she lay down in front of the stove, just five feet outside the bathroom door. I had no doubt then, as I have no doubt now, that if I’d walked into the living room, I would have seen her. I couldn’t do it. That beautiful dog had become shrunken and sad in death, and I was afraid that was how she would look. Instead, I spoke to her and ordered Judy back to bed. She complied. I heard her leave. As I left the bathroom, my grandpa walked out of his bedroom.
“Time to get another dog, Boy,” he said. “Go to bed. Old man Beasley’s litter of pups is about ready. We’ll get ya one tomorrow.”
I named the new addition Burford. Radically different from Judy, he was a real scrapper, a rollicking, bouncing, scrabbling, joyful, hoo-ha of a pup that eventually grew into a 20 pound, fearless, happy, chainsaw of a dog. He played with me, between naps, all afternoon and evening. When bedtime came, we placed him in a box with a couple of terrycloth towels and a ticking alarm clock to keep him company and put the box on the back porch. He cried for some time, then settled down without a peep for the rest of the night. Early the next morning, I hurried to remove him from the box; but he was not there. I found him on the other side of the porch, curled up in the folds of Judy’s rumpled rug, happily asleep. We never heard from Judy again.
Fearful, my grandmother would not talk about the strange events, but my granddad and I discussed it several months later. He said he believed that Judy stayed around to take care of things until I got another dog. I accepted his explanation completely. That first night was the only time Burford ever cried.
And Judy? From time to time I still see her in my mind’s eye, looking out over the kick panel of the front door, wagging her tail and waiting for her best friend to come back to her. Someday I will. She knew it then, as I know it now.
New Release--WRITER'S BLOCK
While appearing at a book signing, pulp fiction author Jess Quinn was approached by a disturbed woman looking for his help. The next morning, her body was found outside his hotel. Thus, Quinn found himself embroiled in an investigation into a high-level prostitution ring with a street wise police bodyguard named Shaneel Baker. Until the next murder, Quinn thought it was a great chance for research and a new plot. After that, he knew the old saw was true: You can't judge a book by its cover.
Writer's Block is available now!
That's right. Writer's Block was released May 19th on Amazon. Other major distributors should have the book now, also.
Other Release Updates!
the TRAIL series
Glory Trail Audio Production!
We have said so many times that we had plans to get things going strong. Then, we haven't been able to follow through. Now, because of more happenings beyond our control, we have decided it is time to reveal what's going on behind the scenes.
As most of you might be suspecting and some of you know, David has been struggling with some health issues. Every time it seems that things are settling down, something goes wrong. It hasn't been too much fun around Ironbear, as you can imagine. However, in the next few days, David will have what we all hope is a wonder drug in his hot little hands. The doctors believe it will help with all the issues he has been dealing with. And, don't worry, once everything levels out; he'll be choppin' at the bit to catch up with everything from audio production to getting more books written.
In the meantime, we want to thank you for your patience and understanding. David's fans mean the world to all of us.
David and the Ironbear crew
the TRAIL series: the 9th book Update
Still don't have a cover yet...BUT THERE IS A TITLE...
The Dakota Trail
David and the guys have ridden further up the trail!
Together, they have moved from around 15,000 words to a little over 19,000. (There's even a chapter that Ulva hasn't heard yet!)
We had a few bumps with getting Calico Trail ready for paperback. But, they seem to be smoothing out, now. We plan to release it in mid to late June if all goes well.
the CROCKETT series Update
The 8th, and final book, in the CROCKETT series,
Six Cut Kill
will be available on Amazon and other major distributors by the end of this year!
We named the channel David R Lewis. So, you can just type in David's name, and the YouTube search engine will pull it up, or you can click on any of the links below.
Video: Crockett Reunites with Stitch
David performs some excerpts from his books, shares some memories of his youth, and rants a little about the writing process.
AND, HERE'S A DIRECT LINK!
David R Lewis
The Crockett Series
The CROCKETT series:
Remember: eBook #1 of the CROCKETT series, FEAR OF THE FATHER, is still free everywhere. Here's the links:
Amazon Fear of the Father
Barnes and Noble Fear of the Father
iBook Fear of the Father
Kobo Fear of the Father
As we mentioned last time, David has written a total of 8 Crockett books. At present, 7 are out. Number 7, Behind the Badge, was released in eBook format, January 27, 2017 on Amazon and Smashwords and has made its way to other major distributors now.
Take to the TRAIL
DEER RUN TRAIL is free on Amazon and other distribution sites in eBook format. GLORY TRAIL was released on December 25, 2016. That makes 8 books in the TRAIL series.
Passing that information on to all your friends would sure be appreciated. Below, we've included a few of the links.
Amazon Deer Run Trail
Barnes and Noble DEER RUN TRAIL
iBook Deer Run Trail
Kobo Deer Run Trail
See ya again on July 1st! If you enjoyed this newsletter; please tell all your friends to visit our website and sign up for the fun.
Ironbear eBook Facebook link
Heartland Memories story page