by Judith Allen
Giving a speech for the first time with an unexpected furry friend at your feet.
An Appalachian Tale
The Speech and a Redbone Hound
Sara had never given a speech to a class before. She certainly could talk and wasn’t really shy with people she knew. But, this was the first time she had to stand in front of strangers and say something without stammering and losing her place in the notes she had worked so hard to make. It was Freshman year at the local college. A night class. It was in town and she was a country girl.
Before class began she was standing alone looking over her speech and trying to be calm when something touched her ankle. She jumped and looked down into the eyes of a beautiful Redbone Hound. He nudged her ankle with his cold, wet nose and licked her hand as she reached to pat his head. Sara loved dogs and spent some time talking to the pup, forgetting her speech for a little while,
Then it was time for class. Sara moved forward toward the door. So did the dog. In the group of students gathering, Sara walked into the building. So did the dog. And, horror of horrors, when Sara went to her desk, the dog followed. He folded himself up contentedly at her feet. Sara was getting more nervous. What was going to happen next? The time finally came and Sara had to get up from her desk and walk to the front of the class to give her first speech. Her new friend followed her. She doesn’t remember the speech today. She has no idea what she said. She only remembers that no one said a word about the Redbone Hound. He lay with his head on her feet and licked her hand when she went back to her seat. She decided she would take him home with her. At the break she went outside for some air. The pup followed her, wagged his tail and disappeared into the night. She never saw him again, but when she made other speeches she remembered his cold nose and warm heart.