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  • Prince was a handsome Collie and we were the tightest of friends. We had absolute trust in each other and unconditional love. While I was too young to remember it my parents tell me that I liked hickory nuts which fell from the tree between our two gardens. I was too young to crack them to get the meat out, but Prince was more than willing to help me out. I'd say, "crack 'em Bink", and Prince would take a nut from my hand, break it in his mouth and drop it on the floor for me to eat. It may not have been sanitary but the service was exceptional. The service was definitely better than any fast food joint and I'm willing to bet that Prince's mouth was cleaner than most any fast food joint. The only real question was the cleanliness of the floor of the screened in back porch where Prince dropped the cracked hickory nuts. But I'm pretty sure I was always eager enough that we observed the five second rule and I never got sick from it.

    To live in the country with its open spaces to explore with a true friend, guide, and defender such as Prince was a great blessing - one of many. Some times of the year Prince and I would move across the naked ground with the house always in sight. At other times we would travel under a canopy of corn. About 350 yards behind our house there was a railroad track. I would climb over the fence and if the time of year was right I would find wonderful wild strawberries. Prince would remain on the other side of the fence. After I had my fill of berries and exploring, or if I heard a train coming, I'd climb back over the fence. If a train did come we would stay for it to pass. I would wave and more times than not the engineer would wave back and give us a toot of the horn. I'm not sure which was better, the berries or getting the engineer to toot the horn.

    Prince and I would start back under the canopy at leisure. That might seem frightening to some - for a four year old to be wandering in a jungle. I do recall once being briefly frightened under the corn. But I quickly realized there was no danger at all. Prince would not desert me. And should I not remember the direction back all I had to do was pick a row of corn and follow it to the end. There I would find a road that would take me home. The simplicity of navigation in my young world was wonderful.
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