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by Tumbleweed Smith

Carl Prewit has taught English and coached tennis at the same high school for thirty-one years. He lives in Portland, near Corpus Christi and rides a bicycle all over the Texas coast. He collects stories about his family and is beginning to put them in a book.

“One of my favorite stories is one titled ‘Seven Dead Puppies.’ It occurred while I was growing up in Rule, near Stamford, where everybody knew everybody and their kids. They also knew which dog belonged to whom. We always had dogs and we had a dog named Rosie who had seven puppies.

“Dad worked in the oil field so Mom and the other ladies in the neighborhood played Canasta probably every two weeks or so. They’d meet at each other’s house. When my mother was hosting the group it was my job to watch my little four-year-old brother and his friend, who was also four years old. His mother was one of the Canasta players.

“So I’m supposed to be watching these two little kids. It was summertime and I didn’t want to have to do that. So I ignored them for a little bit. That’s when they pulled a tub up and filled it with water. It wasn’t long before they had all seven of Rosie’s puppies in the water. I don’t know if they were baptizing them or what. They didn’t really know what they were doing. Anyway, these little puppies were drowning.

“My mother and another woman came out and saw what was going on. I’ve gotta tell you my mother was one resourceful person. She never never never gave up on anything or anybody. I had trouble with math in school and she stayed up till midnight with me showing me how to do those problems.

“Anyway she dashed outside and took those puppies out of that tub and got some towels and started drying off these little puppies. They rubbed their stomachs and even gave them artificial respiration, but got no response. The little dogs appeared to be dead.

“Finally, talking about my mother never giving up, she ran into the kitchen and we heard her banging around in there and I knew I was not going to survive this because I didn’t do my job.

“She came out with two big aluminum platters like you put pizza on. She put four on one, three dead puppies on the other one and went into the kitchen with that big porcelain gas oven, pulled open the door, cranked up the pilot light and put those puppies in there. She pulled up a chair and sat down in front of that stove and waited.

“One of those puppies we thought were dead started wagging its tail. Then the others slowly began to show signs of life. They all lived. Every one of those puppies lived. We gave them all away except for one that we kept. He was the runt and grew up to be a fine pet, despite getting a shaky start at life.”

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