After a cold winter, spring had finally come. Tender garden vegetables grew rapidly, strawberries put on their red berries, a new calf was in the barn and twenty four new baby chicks tottered about in the yard.
One day Daddy came home and told Mama a neighbor's dog had been bitten by a fox and now it had gone mad. "What's he mad about?" Charlotte had asked. Mama explained that the dog wasn't angry, but that he had rabies, a bad disease that makes an animal act crazy: it slobbers at the mouth and runs in circles like it's having a fit and would probably growl and bark a lot. Daddy had vaccinated his hunting dog, ol' Pudge, so maybe he wouldn't get the disease, but he warned us girls to get in the house quickly if we saw a fox or a dog acting strangely.
For the next few days Mama and Daddy worked in the fields, always cautious, and when nothing unusual happened, they returned to a more normal routine; the girls played in the yard again and the family walked to church at night with less fear. About two weeks later, while at church on Sunday night, we heard a distant, mournful cry. The preacher talked and the cry interrupted now and then, and after church services a man told Daddy the sound seemed to be coming from our house. "It may be a lost pup," someone said as we left church and started walking home by the light of a flashlight. The Sears family walked with us as far as the gate. The pitiful cry interrupted their conversation several times as they talked and then the men said the sound was coming from the house. Daddy carried me and Mama held Wanda's hand; Daddy used the flashlight to brighten the path, and when we reached the steps, a fox came from the shadows under the porch. It was coming toward us.
...to be continued