Let’s take a break from dating and talk about the people with a heart of a superhero — like Megan. As we wound our way from Arkansas to Missouri on first a Cherokee Nation toll road and then a two-lane highway, we drove by a matted, confused-looking dog trying to cross the lane. Under Meg’s command, I flipped an illegal U-turn, pulled onto a little offshoot of a drive, and Meg was out of the car and across the road faster than I could have said Jiminy Cricket.
Despite her best coaxing, the pup wasn’t accepting Megan’s open arms. As I geared up to help us become the best dog bandits this side of the Mississippi*, a fancy car pulled in next to me and a woman with the sweetest drawl hopped out and asked what we were up to. Almost before the words were out of my mouth, that woman was across the street helping Megs.
One blanket-wrapped pooch later, Meg and I were following our new friend, Darlene (who was aptly named because she was indeed darlin’) to a nearby town. The scared pup was shivering, and Megan cooed to her, pronounced her Ozzie and, despite a stench wafting up from the dog’s mangled fur, held her close.
At the town — if one can consider a single pottery shop a town — we shook hands with the storekeeper, Newt, as he was pocketing his dentures with his other hand. Newt agreed to let us water Ozzie, while Darlene produced a bag with two huge buns and an order of french fries she’d driven twenty miles to procure. Ozzie feasted, Meg washed her hands a lot, and I pondered our options while petting a no-eyed beagle who was also on the property.
In the end, after photos were taken and local gossip was divulged, Darlene lived true to her name and said she wanted to take in Ozzie, noting her home back in Arizona had a pool and lots of space and two other pups, and away they went.
Megan’s sweatshirt and shorts also really needed to go away but as we packed fairly light, building a bonfire and burning them seemed like a way to certainly be in need of a new sweatshirt ASAP. Thankfully, I remembered what Joni had provided for us in her gift basket before we departed: ziplock bags. I rummaged through the back of Huckleberry Fit, produced said bags with glee and had Meg’s belongings zipped into their own funk in a matter of minutes. Thank gosh for friends with foresight.
And then Meg and I returned to the road.
*Nope, no idea which side of that river we were on in that moment.