Chubs, His Sidekick, and the Cornbread Incident
What do you think of when you hear the term sidekick? Maybe Tonto, Robin, Boo Boo? I wrote a story in my first book about a loyal sidekick, the most loyal “wingdog” I’ve ever seen.
One of the reviews of Lines in the Gravel (and 52 Other Re-Told Childhood Tales) that I have received called “Chubs, His Sidekick, and the Cornbread Incident” a tearjerker. I guess I can see that; after all, the first book that ever made me cry was Where the Red Fern Grows. There’s just something about a loyal dog…something that maybe the best parts of us want to latch onto. I’ll let you read the story and decide for yourself.
Purchase Lines in the Gravel to read more stories like “Chubs, His Sidekick, and the Cornbread Incident.”
Chubs, His Sidekick, and the Cornbread Incident
Chubs was probably the muttiest mutt we ever had. He was handsomely reddish in color with plenty of black and white mixed in. He was named for his plumpness in puppihood that soon gave way to a sleek, athletic build. Subject as all the humans and animals in our home were to Dad’s proclivity to bestow multiple names, Chubs was also known as Chubby, Chubby Dog, Ol’ Chubs, Chubby Ol’ Groundhog, and “that big ol’ boner boof dog.”
Chubs’s friendly nature won him many friends among people and pets alike. To no one, human or canine, was Chubs’s cheery demeanor more attractive than to Uncle Cecil’s dog Smokie. Smokie was a little beagle mix who adored Chubs, so much so that he began to follow Chubs around everywhere he went. Smokie was a smallish, mild-tempered little pup whose shadowing of Chubs always reminded me of Boo Boo following Yogi Bear.
Every evening at mealtime for Chubs, Dad would call out, “Come on, Chubs. Come get your clam chowder!” (No, we did not feed our animals gourmet meals; clam chowder was just another Abboism.) Smokie would follow Chubs to his bowl but patiently wait for Chubs to finish his meal…at least in the beginning. Smokie eventually helped himself to some of Chubs’s leftovers, and though he was run off at first, he was just too stinkin’ cute in his role as Chubs’s understudy to run off for good.
One day, I had gone over the hill to Pop and Granny’s house. Smokie had followed me while Chubs was attending to some other matters at our house. Granny had just cleaned up the kitchen and had a couple of pieces of cornbread to throw out, so Smokie was to be the lone beneficiary of this good fortune. When she tossed the cornbread out into the yard, he eagerly ran to one piece and began to sniff. He looked curiously around and then picked up the piece of cornbread and ran off with it as if another dog was hot on his heels to take it away from him. He disappeared over the hill only to return—cornbread-less—a few minutes later to calmly lie down and enjoy the remaining cornbread. Granny and I learned later from those who had been at our house that when Smokie ran away with the first piece of cornbread, he had run to our house and dropped it in front of Chubs before returning to eat his own cornbread.
Everyone on the hill, including Uncle Cecil, was aware of the special fondness that Smokie had for Chubs. Eventually, we rarely saw Chubs without his sidekick. The only time that they were separated was at the end of the day, when Smokie would saunter next door to turn in for the night. That, too, would soon change. One afternoon, Uncle Cecil was walking by where Smokie slept, and he noticed that Smokie was tugging on his blanket. He simply looked at him and asked, “You moving out?” He was, indeed, completing the move to our house that he had been making progressively over the prior few months. He dragged his blanket to our house, cementing his position as the junior partner to Ol’ Chubs.
As I remember Chubs and his little sidekick, I wonder how many of us are ever blessed to have a friend as loyal as Smokie was to Chubs. More importantly, I wonder how many of us set our own desires aside for the good of others like he did. You know, we can learn a lot from a little beagle.
Doesn’t that just make you want to…
…be that type of person today? Or truly show appreciation for someone who is that loyal to you? I hope so. Let’s get out there and change the world today.
Consider what Michael wrote in his Amazon review of the book: “There were so many embedded values and family love that it makes me want to make sure I tell my life legacy to my family.”
About Al Ainsworth
Al Ainsworth is a values storyteller. He works with individuals, businesses, churches, and other organizations to pass along their values through the stories they tell…and re-tell. Al is the author of Lines in the Gravel (and 52 Other Re-Told Childhood Tales), Stories from the Roller Coaster (of a Faith Life), and Coach Dave: Season One. Subscribe to his email list for more values storying.