Maggie, the heroine of Autumn Dreams is a teacher in a 1940s one room country school. While writing this story I spent a lot of time thumbing through old photo albums. I was raised on a quarter section farm, and attended a school much like the one where Maggie taught. The one difference is that unlike Maggie who had a fear of horses, I have loved them since I was first able to say "horsie."
In these old albums are pictures of me with horses, dogs, cats, chickens and pigs. The picture above is of me with my old friend Laddie. He used to love following us when we left the farm. We did our shopping at Skublin's General Store about two miles away in Deepdale, where we also got our mail, took our grain and went to school and church.
Laddie was a bright dog, especially when it came to sensing our plans to leave the farm. We tried cooping him up in a granary or the barn when we left, but that only worked once. We tried to be nonchalant about our plans, but he knew. Maybe he saw Dad's old work jacket coming off or Mom's apron being set aside. When the time came for us to go, there would be no Laddie no matter how much we called. Then a half mile down the road we'd look over to the field and there would be Laddie crouched low, running fast, trying to keep up. Alas once too often he followed a car and tracked it to the highway where traffic was faster than he was used to on our country road.
We had farm dogs since and I loved them all, but Laddie was my first BFF and I missed him terribly. Maggie's young friend Emma in Autumn Dreams has a canine best friend as well, Trigger. Dogs were such an essential part of the family farm. They were cow herders and child minders, friends and co-workers.
I hope you join me for a little nostalgia at my release party for Autumn Dreams on October 22nd at 2 pm central.