The fire did a lot of damage to the barn, but thankfully it didn’t come near the house. That night, Brad took the cow and calf to his ranch because there was a lot of damage to the barn and corral where they were kept. Arf stayed the night with Miss Bessie again, which he didn’t question because that was where he had stayed since he found her and she had taken him in.
Miss Bessie woke to the sounds of a hammer and a saw. Arf was already outside.
**I heard noise and because I’m sort of a guard dog now, I thought I should check it out. What I saw was Brad working on the corral.
“Morning Arf,” Brad said. He measured a board, sawed it off, and nailed it to the corral post.
** I sat and watched him work. I could tell he was probably fixing things so the cow and calf could come back home. I promised myself I would watch over them better.
I could hear Miss Bessie coming our way.
“Land sakes, Brad. What are you doing here so early.”
“Hi Miss Bessie, I forgot to ask you last night if you still have to milk your cow. Sometimes even though they have a calf, they have extra milk.”
“For a while, I milked her every morning, but she gave so little milk, I feared I was taking from her calf. Both of them seem to be doing fine,” Miss Bessie said. “I really do appreciate this, I was trying to figure out where I could find someone to fix the corral. I’ll have to wait on the insurance money before I rebuild the barn.”
“Well, the weather will be nice enough that she’ll be fine if we fix up a pen in the corner of the barn that wasn’t damaged so much. You know, you’re welcome to leave her at my place if that works out better for you”
“Oh no,” Miss Bessie said. “She and her calf should be here. It’s my responsibility to care for them.”
** I didn’t know what they were talking about. I was just hoping Miss Bessie would feed me soon.
“Give me a few minutes, Brad and I’ll fix up some bacon and eggs and buttermilk biskets.”
Miss Bessie went off to the house and I was right behind her. I understand food.
When Brad got back to the ranch, Jamie was sitting in the kitchen having coffee.
“The housekeeper said you had gone to Miss Bessie’s. Is everything okay over there?”
“I guess so. I’m trying to fix a place for her to keep her cow and calf until all the repairs are completed.”
“Brad, I need to ask you a question.” Jamie had been pondering something all morning.
“What is it, Jamie? You look a little upset.”
Well, as you know, I’m on spring break for the next two weeks. I haven’t mentioned this to you, but I’m in veterinarian school. After the break, I’ll go back until after exams which will be a month later. I’m taking the summer off and then I’m scheduled to do an internship in the fall.”
“Really, Jamie? You’re going to be a vet? That’s wonderful…but I don’t hear a question.” Brad leaned back in his chair and removed his hat.
“Did you really mean it when you said I could stay here as long as I liked?”
Brad sat back up in his chair. “I don’t say things I don’t mean,” he said.
“Then I would like to stay until I go back to school in two weeks.”
“No problem. I’ll tell Frances. Are you going to bring Arf over here?”
Jamie stood up and walked over to the window.
“I’ve been thinking about that,” she said. “As much as I would love to, it really wouldn’t be what’s best for Arf. My parents are always gone and I’ve just told you my schedule. He’s better off staying with Miss Bessie.”
“That had to be a tough decision. Arf loves you, too. It might confuse him to have you around but no longer be his master.”
When Jamie turned to look at him, Brad realized that might not have been the right thing to say. She had tears in her eyes.
“Arf likes to feel needed,” she said. “He’ll figure it out and he’ll be fine. He’s a smart dog. I would like to see him though, and I need to talk to Miss Bessie. Can we go over there?”
“Are you forgetting this is Easter Sunday. We’re picking Miss Bessie up for church. Can you be ready to go in an hour?”