Alright, alright. So, it’s more than occasionally. But, this one’s pretty amusing. Really.
A dozen or so years ago, son Weston and our “adopted son” Heath Taylor, were roommates in their early-days assault on the real world. Both were just out of teendom, working and going to college.
Being small town/country boys they had to have dogs. Each one. No sharing of pups.
Weston had a Catahoula Cur. The dog is named for its place of origin, Catahoula Parish in Louisiana. Catahoula Curs were used in hunting wild boars and are believed to be the first dog breed developed in North America.
He chose the name Kosby for his pup.
Roomie Heath picked a pit bull puppy for his pet. Not knowing anything other than the pit bull’s reputation for extreme toughness, I became a little concerned.
Not to worry. “Adopted son” Heath had done his homework.
Heath is a girl-swooning Leonardo di Caprio look-alike (‘cepting Heath’s more handsome) who’s built like a fullback. He added to his natural athletic look by lifting weights rather than beating his brains out lugging a football like his “adopted daddy.”
He and Weston were active in drama in high school and both excelled in that undertaking.
At any rate, that acting bent and an inclination to refer to me as “Second Dad” would to some degree explain Heath’s choice of names for his dog. Yeah, I know, it’s a dog. Well, puppies are revered in this household, and that applies to adoptive members as well.
So, this supposedly ferocious breed of dog was dubbed with a literary handle. Well, at least you can make a legitimate argument for the pit bull’s first name, Chaucer.
GEOFFREY CHAUCER was a 14th Century poet and is acknowledged as the father of English literature and considered the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages. He was the first poet to have been buried in Poet’s Corner of Westminster Abbey.
As for the peaceful pit bull’s second name, Willis, I suppose Heath thought of me as some sort of literary figure in addition to my telling him he was an adopted son and would be treated as a member of our family. The family part will always hold true.
Fifty-five years of editing and publishing country newspapers plus seven more continuing this weekly column, doesn’t qualify me in literary circles. I mean a literary society meeting discussion of one column might consist of this exchange:
“Well, Mr. Webb, this kolyum on drunken newsmen and body odor isn’t quite what we had in mind for an, er, uh, ahem, in-depth literary examination.”
“Awright, Madame chairperson, er, uh, whatever. Thank you for your time and consideration.”
HMM. There’s a group that meets at the Dew Drop Inn ...
Poets and playwrights fit the “Chaucer” mold for the pit bull owner’s acting abilities, even if the second name can only claim adoptive family familiarity with a country literary bent as a small town newspaperman and self-syndicated columnist.
Son and Adoptive Son had to surrender their dogs when college living quarters requirements forbade canine residency.
Weston’s dog, Kosby, went to a west Jasper County justice of the peace and met a horrible fate as the JP lived on a busy highway and the clever Catahoula Cur couldn’t outsmart the traffic.
Heath’s pup, Chaucer Willis, went to some nice woman in Jasper. When we moved away not too long after that, the poet-country-columnist-dubbed pit bull was thriving, but we ultimately lost track. Hopefully, he has lived a long, productive life.
Maybe I have some “granddogs.” Perhaps one of them will be a country canine columnist and write shaggy dog columns.
Willis Webb is a retired community newspaper editor-publisher of more than 50 years experience. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.