Old Sport Loved Peanuts
The peanuts grew on the bank of a stream that gurgled through the south pasture of our farm at Tame Valley. My siblings and I had to help pick the peanuts when it was harvest time. I hated pulling the vines from the clinging, dark soil. I didn’t like shaking the dirt from the plants. So I complained a lot. Didn’t do any good. I still had to help.
I preferred playing with our dogs, Old Sport and little Brownie. But I couldn’t play until all the peanuts were harvested. Mama told me not to let Sport eat the peanuts. He liked peanuts. But I knew Mama thought our big family would need them for snacks. So I obeyed.
Later, that winter our family gathered in the living room when snow fell like goose feathers flying through the air. Mama parched peanuts in a tin pan on the wood stove. The peanuts tasted so good, warm and salted. When Mama wasn’t looking, I was tempted to drop some peanuts on the floor for Sport. But I didn’t.
And I regretted it because Sport died the next spring before planting time. When I got older, I knew that if Mama had known Sport would die, she would have given him her share of the peanuts. And I would have given him mine also. © Freeda Baker Nichols