Friday, July 12, 2013

Ol' Buther

It has been hot, painfully hot, in Bluff this week. In spite of the 108-degree temperature reading, however, Buffy the Wonder Dog is at her station in front of Twin Rocks Trading Post.

For the past nine years Buffy has maintained a steady vigil on the cement porch, greeting customers and overseeing day-to-day operations, rain or shine. With equal enthusiasm, Buffy welcomes artists selling their work and the tourists, travelers and collectors looking to acquire Navajo baskets, turquoise jewelry and Navajo rugs. She does not care whether the guest is red, yellow, black or white, young or old, tall or small, rich or poor, republican or democrat. To her it is all the same, if the visitor loves her, she loves them back. Few are immune to her outreach, and many have traveled miles out of their way to give Buffy a scratch and a kind word.

As I walked back to the trading post after a discussion with the manager of Twin Rocks Cafe about daily specials, I noticed Buffy panting at her post. She was obviously affected by the heat, but held steady. Reaching down to give her a bit of moral support and assure her the monsoons would soon be arriving, I heard the voice of my paternal grandfather, Woodrow Wilson “Woody” Simpson floating in from the parking lot. Although he has been gone over 25 years, his words were as clear as if he was standing just a few feet away. He was singing a song about his favorite canine, Buther. “Old Buther, that’s my good ol’ dog,” he sang. Woody was good at a great many things, but song writing was not one of them.

At the trading post people often ask how Barry and I came to live in Bluff. The answer lies in Woody, a Marine who had seen too much during WWII and wanted a place far from the excitement of the larger and busier communities to raise his four children. Bluff in the ‘40s fit the bill.

Woody enjoyed living in Bluff and loved dogs. I often marveled at how comfortable he was in this community, and how he talked, sang and listened to his pets as if they were human. It was not until I returned to Bluff after being away several years and Buffy came to live at the trading post that I understood his connection to the town and why his pets were so important. The dogs comforted and soothed this man who had experienced death and destruction on a massive scale, and Bluff, with its embracing, sheltering cliffs protected him from the outside world. That was a winning combination. As I talked with Buffy as though she could understand my words, I realized there must be a lot of Woody in me.

With Warm Regards;
Steve, Barry, Priscilla and Danny; the team.

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