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Poncho and the preacher’s wife

Poncho and the preacher’s wife

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BILL KING

I know, there is a song about Poncho and Lefty, but that’s not what this is — I don’t know if the preacher’s wife was left handed.

Since Poncho was a dog, I would call him quadextrous. Poncho was my dog, long, long ago, and the preacher’s wife was my pastor’s wife, Mrs. Hodgens. This is a story of firsts.

Poncho was my first small dog, Rev. Hodgens was my first pastor, and what happened to Mrs. Hodgens on that cold winter’s day was probably a first for her. I know it was for me, but many years later it happened again — not to her, but to me. 

I think I was 8 years old on the day in question. My brother, Briggs, and his first wife, Bobbie, were expecting their first child. Paul David King was born on March 3, 1964. Sometime prior to Paul’s arrival, some ladies of our church and community gave Bobbie a baby shower. The event took place in our home. I was not invited, and neither was Poncho, a Chihuahua. My oldest brother, Elbert, had a Chihuahua that I loved named Tiny, so he bought me one. Chihuahua’s are tiny dogs, and they obviously have tiny bladders too. They are typically nervous type dogs, and a nervous little dog with a tiny bladder, a rambunctious boy and a house filled with ladies is not a good combination.   

It was a cold winter’s day…too cold for Poncho and me to go play outside while the ladies showered my sister-in-law. Mama sent us out to stay at Elbert’s house with instructions to stay there until the ladies had all left. Elbert had set up the original tiny home on the backside of our backyard. They didn’t call them “tiny homes” back then, but that’s exactly what it was. He had bought an old truck box bed, that had once been part of Corbin’s Rolling Store, and transformed it into a tiny house. He made one end into a bedroom and the rest into a living area.

Poncho and I stayed out there until the following summer! Okay, I’m exaggerating. It was probably only a couple of hours, but it seemed like an eternity. There was no television, no radio and no cookies and punch like the ladies were having. Even though Poncho was small, there wasn’t enough space in there for us to play catch, chase or ice-hockey. I had petted Poncho until even he had grown tired of it. I knew some of the ladies had already left, so I decided to go home. Almost as soon as we went inside, Poncho jumped up in Mrs. Hodgen’s lap and…well, I told you he was nervous and had a small bladder. Mrs. Hodgen’s was kind about it, but Mama was not. Poncho and I got sent back to the tiny house until we were told to come home…still with no cookies or punch!

Fast forward about 30-something years to when I was a pastor in Rainbow City. Our associate pastor, Fred, and I had gone to visit a family who had been attending our church. While we sat on their sofa, their two dogs, which happened to be Chihuahuas, jumped up on the sofa. As I petted one of them, he crawled over into my lap, where he mimicked Poncho’s action from many years earlier! He literally soaked my pants. I didn’t know what to say or do, but Fred was dying with laughter! The couple said nothing as if they hadn’t even noticed. If Mrs. Hodgens could have seen that, she might have thought I had gotten my long-over-due payback. She has been long gone, and I don’t believe in reincarnation, but if I did, well, you know. As the old saying goes, “What goes around, comes around.”              

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