I have a couple of corrections to make from last month’s column about the good neighbors I used to have growing up on our Concord Township farm, Lewis and Doris Wenzel. As I was told by my two older sisters, I had the facts right but I had changed the names to protect the innocent. Well actually I just forgot. First was their last name; Wenzel. I had spelled it Wencel. I found a picture of their tombstone in Concord Cemetery and it definitely is with a ‘z’. I did have the years they were born pretty close. Louie Wenzel was born in 1897 and passed away in 1973. Doris Scott Wenzel was born in 1905 and passed away in 1992. The brother of Doris was Dewey Scott that many of us remember as a bus driver and he was also on the WC police department for many years. Dewey was born in 1898.
The other name I had wrong was the dog. I always thought the dog’s name was Buster but my sister Sylvia tells me the dog’s name was Pepper. I won’t even attempt to guess the year the dog was born but if I were, I would say 1950. But to be fair, that’s just a guess based on pictures.
We all have pictures of pets we used to have. My first recollection of pets was a German Shephard named Lady. When I was about 2 or 3, she had a big litter of puppies that I would be out with most of the day. We had a wooden porch on the front of the old farmhouse in the 50’s and there was one board that came loose and was off for a time. The puppies would crawl down in there so I had to follow them in. I think we all needed help to get out. My dad figured he better get those boards nailed on better than they were. It wasn’t too long after that when the porch became cement.
After Lady, we had a German Shephard named King. He was the first of two German Shepherds we had named King. The second one came along in the 70’s. It was the second King that took the blame for me when the garage window was broken. Now to be truthful, the dog was locked in the garage when I was throwing a hard rubber ball against the garage wall. Evidently, the catcher called for a pitchout and it went right through the window. I moved the evidence and made it look like the dog did it. It worked that time but never again.
King had an accomplice, a pug named Benji. Benji was not a big dog but he was a holy terror on rats. The rats weren’t all that much smaller than him at times but that didn’t stop him. He was the best hunting dog we had. He couldn’t wait to go shovel more corn in hopes of finding more prey.
We had our share of cats too. One Sunday afternoon in about 1965, my parents came home from my uncle Carl’s place in St Louis Park with a box of 6 small kittens. My sister and I named them and decided which one we would have. I took the black cat aptly named Blackie. That particular cat lived to be about 19 human years. He was a good hunting cat too as he would bring lots of mice to the front door.
I had a black and white cat recently named Jeeves as he looked like he wore a tuxedo, something like a butler. Jeeves was trained by my son’s black lab. Even the veterinarian one day commented on something he did while in his office and said that’s usually only something dogs do. I told him that’s because of his training. I called Jeeves my catdog. He had a lot of black lab traits. My current cat Lucky, a black and white female cat, is turning 20 this month. Yes that’s human years. According to what I saw on Google, a 20 year old cat is equivalent to being 97. I’m hoping I can still jump up on chairs and tables when I’m 97.
It’s amazing how pets become a big part of our lives. They really do become family and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
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