Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Write for the BIOGRAPHICAL Genre (12/04/14)
By Helen Curtis
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The children thought she was the “bees’ knees” and it did not take long before their father relented to their puppy-eyed impersonations of her. Yes, we can adopt the puppy. Little did he know at the time that, due to Mother’s over-active imagination and a vague report of a Fokker 27 Friendship crash-landing, somewhere, the puppy would be flying home from their country holiday location in air conditioned comfort, whilst he crammed his 6-foot-four-inch body into a hot, fly-ridden coach for some 12-plus hours. Not a good start to their relationship.
After much family discussion, it was decided to name her after her breeder, Margaret. Or as the children called her in secret, “Mad Margaret.” She was not actually mad, in the insane sense of the word, but would often appear quite so; usually after the children opened the chicken coup and proceeded to chase her poultry, their tails making quite the target. Oddly enough, that’s what “Mad” Margaret had to say about the children’s bottoms as she wielded her humungous wooden spoon over her head, screaming, “Who let the chickens out this time?! They’ll go off their laying, you mangy children, I’ll…”
Speaking of mangy, poor Mad-M, (the canine version) was suffering from a rather nasty bout of (as yet undiscovered) mange. Bathe, dry, cream, comb. Bathe, dry, cream, comb. Bathe, dry, cream, comb. Every few hours, this was the pattern until, against all odds, she was fully recovered. It was after this that the real fun began.
The family made a sea-change, returning to the children’s mother’s delightfully quaint seaside hometown. Imagine, if you can, an “agog dog” and that’s what state Mad-M was in upon their arrival. Endless mounds of seaweed formed upon an undulating, rocky beach. Off she bounded, her tan and tiny stumpy tail between her long, rather un-JRT-like legs; into the seaweed she’d go until…wait for it…wait for it… SWOOSH! Out she popped some 20 metres down the beach, scaring the seagulls and loving it!
Life was great for little Mad-M; the town had everything that she loved, as well as the one thing which she did not- cats. Mad M’s family had been warned of her disregard for felines; they were not, however, prepared for the vehemence with which their beloved pooch would act out against such creatures. In the space of 12 months Mad-M would chase innumerable cats, none of which were harmed in any way by their pocket-rocket nemesis. Not the one which was chased off a small wall adjacent to the beach, nor the one stuck in a 100-plus year old drain found in said wall, (the grate of which required sawing through the bars to remove her), nor the cat chased up and into the local Headmaster’s car engine at his child’s birthday party. Cats – 3, Dog - 0.
Yes she was a crazy little thing who adored the children and put up with all manner of prankish behaviour, from squid ink stains on her white and tan coat, to fires being lit in the middle of sewage pools at the local dump, (probably best not to ask, but rumour has it that the same child was responsible for both incidents mentioned). She was as loyal as they came, and as loveable as one family pet could be.
She did push the boundaries a little at the youngest child’s 8th birthday party. The lights were left off for an extended period, due to a poorly-timed blackout; upon their return, Mad-M was found next to a half-eaten cheesecake adorned with only four of the original 8 candles. Her father, rather furious at Mad-M’s seizing of the moment, (probably spurned on by the birthday girl’s inconsolible howling), picked Mad-M up and gave her a fair thwock! to her rear end, to which she naturally responded... by “taking a wiz” all over the floor. And all over their father.
Yes, even after all of this, the quirky little Mad-M was loved beyond words.
In the year 1995, at an amazing 18 years of age, (truly amazing given the amount of chocolate peanuts and candles she scoffed in her lifetime), Mad-M departed this world. But the immeasurable joy and delight she brought to her family; they would live on in the hearts of her family, for ever.
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