Marmalade and the Sheep
KJ Hannah Greenberg

Marmalade often became wildly excited. In his devotion to my son, William, that pastoral puppy knocked over canning jars, backed into the fire pit, peed on my rug, and otherwise proved a nuisance.  

Nonetheless, Marmalade was the highlight of William’s day. Too young to have fought in the War to End All Wars or to have participated in the Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel and Tin Workers’ strike, William culled glory from milking cows, harnessing horses, cleaning the outhouse, and safeguarding the sheep.

While he said little about his losses, William remained unwilling to go courting, disinterested in bettering his figuring skills, and offended by things of beauty. For instance, when Clarence brought that bouquet of lupines and poppies, William harrumphed. When I baked Clarence both blueberry and pecan pies, William accepted a small piece and then ran, with Marmalade, to our outermost pasture. My son didn’t care about getting a new daddy.

Only last week did he show vitality. William’s awakening occurred during a storm, when a corral gate had been left open and Marmalade had guided that entire pen’s worth of sheep into our dry, warm house.

William returned our woolies to their rightful place and then cleaned up their mud, pee, and poo, laughing as he worked. Thereafter, he consented to go with Clarence to church and to help me cook and freeze the wedding feast. He said he could become an eager sheepdog, too.

First published: February 2018
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