By Ruth A. Ringelstetter
On April 21, 2010, Joann and I began our trip to North Carolina. I always make a plan for our trips and this one included a stay on the first night in Shelbyville, Kentucky, where we could have dinner with an old friend of Joann’s. We went out for Chinese buffet and had a great time catching up with her.
The next morning we awoke with enough time to quickly load the car and get on the road in the dark to make our way to Penn’s store by dawn. Even though Irwin (our trusty GPS) didn’t know exactly how to find Penn’s store, we managed to get him to take us close. That is another one of the pluses to having the GPS. We travel in the dark much more now than we used to, and we get less frustrated since we can read the road names on Irwin’s display when it is too dark to see the actual road signs.
As we neared the road to the store our conversation turned to our last visit. We remembered all the cats and kittens that were on the porch of the store and wondered what we would find this time. As we neared the store, we could see movement on the porch, and soon we were close enough for me to exclaim “We have puppies!”
Lying on blankets on the front porch of the store was a family of Yellow Labradors. There was Boston, the dad, Dixie, the mom, and three puppies.
Once we had parked the car, the puppies bounded off the porch and began to circle the car waiting for us to get out and play with them. Being puppies, they were jumping up and dancing around us. Joann was trying to take pictures of them, but whenever a puppy would sit still for a couple of seconds and she started to get a shot lined up, they would think it was a game and they would run up to her and ruin her shot. But who could get upset with a puppy?
There were two larger puppies and then there was the runt of the litter. After a while, Dixie and the puppies got off the porch and started to head off into the field between the store and the North Rolling Fork River.
Dixie made the runt of the litter go back to the porch to stay with Boston. He was an older dog and didn’t move much from his position on the porch. The littlest puppy seemed very sad to be left behind.
Joann continued to take pictures of the store and the remaining puppy and Boston while the others were off playing near the river. When they came back across the field, the puppies were soaked either from playing in the river or from the early morning dew in the field. Dixie managed to stay much drier than they did.
Once back on the porch, the puppies started to roughhouse with each other, pulling at their toys and tumbling over each other and into Boston and Dixie, who were very tolerant of the shenanigans as most parents tend to be.
Soon you could tell that they had tuckered themselves out between their trip to the river and their roughhousing on the porch, and they flopped down onto a blanket to rest.
When they were all settled back on the porch and ready to snooze for a while, we decided that it was time for us to get on the road. We had plans to make it to North Carolina by dark, so we knew we had to be on our way.
Some of the best times we have on the backroads are when we meet fun pets like the ones we’ve met at Penn’s store. So, when you find yourself out on the backroads and a dog or cat comes up to you, give them a chance. Most of them just want a little attention.
And for those of you who read our first blog post on Penn's Store, where we explained that the store had been heavily damaged in a 2010 flood, we have a bit of encouraging news. According to their website and Facebook page, they are undergoing a restoration process and the last day of the 2011 Kentucky Writers Day Celebration will be held at Historic Penn’s Store.