Tuesday, I had a chance to escape my icy prison when temps rose into the upper 30s. The blacktop county road was 95% clear, and I only had the ice-compacted gravel road to deal with. T-Hoe performed admirably. Good thing, because my mind was not on my driving like it should have been.
Puppy Jack was missing!
When I left the Mansion through the kitchen door at noon-thirty, I was greeted by my Sweet, Sweet Juno. She was not as boisterous as usual. She was still glad to see me, but it's not like she'd thought I was gone to Oklahoma for several days. She could hear me inside. And she'd gotten a grease bread treat Sunday evening when I went out to look for the eclipse. She trotted ahead of me to the side porch, where I gave her a handful of cat kibble. I looked for (formerly known as Puppy) Jack, but he wasn't around. I DID see Copper Jack waiting on the sidewalk. So I gave him a dose of cat kibble, too.
It's very unusual to see Copper Jack without (formerly known as Puppy) Jack. They are fast friends, romping together every day, laying around under the big cedar tree, and chasing squirrels and rabbits with the assistance of Juno. So Jack's absence made me worry.
I was gone two hours, and upon return, was again greeted by Juno and Copper Jack. Once inside, I asked Farmer H if he'd seen Jack. Had he, perhaps, locked him in the BARn? Or the Freight Container Garage? Farmer H said he'd seen Jack earlier in the day. Over around the BARn. But he was sure he hadn't locked him inside.
I guess Farmer H was feeling guilty, because when he got ready to head to town a few minutes later, he said, "I'll start up the Gator. That always brings him running." Indeed, I heard Farmer H calling for Jack. Then I heard the Gator start. About 5 minutes later, I saw the Gator returning from the BARn area. Juno ran ahead, barking. Copper Jack followed, at a reasonable distance from Juno, who hates him. Copper Jack paused in front of the house, looking back towards the BARn. I fully expected to see my little Jack run up to greet him. But he didn't.
Farmer H came to the kitchen door while I was still putting away groceries. "I opened up the BARn, but Jack wasn't in there. He'll turn up."
I wasn't as optimistic. Was Jack hurt? Did somebody shoot him? He DOES roam around with Copper Jack, and they go down into the Crazy Rottweiler's field. Did she or the Killer Poodle get ahold of my Jack? It would break my heart, but sometimes Jack is asking for it, his yippy mouth writing checks his short-legged butt can't cash.
As I sat in the La-Z-Boy, waiting for my toilet cleaner to soak a few minutes before scrubbing, and my clothes in the washer to finish their cycle...I saw Jack run across the front yard, from the direction of the BARn towards the driveway. His nose was to the ground. I'm thinking that he had heard Farmer H call for him, heard the Gator, and it took a while for his short legs to carry him back home. Maybe he was up at HOS's place. We'll never know. But Copper Jack, his buddy, had looked in that direction earlier.
I am SO relieved to have my Jack back!