Have You Seen My False Teeth?

Paul Marion Fleetwood

Copyright 2016 by  Paul Marion Fleetwood


Photo of a dog digging a hole.

    In 1942 when I was 12 years old we lived in Gary, Texas.  Gary was half a square with the other side closed in by railroad tracks.  We moved there from Southern Missouri when my Dad became disabled and needed to catch up with the rest of the clan who were in the sawmill business. 

    Being mostly destitute we rented a small four room shack about a mile out of town on a blacktop road.  A corn patch was on one side and a neighbor lived on the other side.  Interestingly enough the neighbor was a first cousin of Tex Ritter, the old time cowboy movie star.  I eventually went to High School in the neighboring town of Carthage, Texas, where Tex had gone a generation earlier.

    One day a pretty black and white collie-shepard came by and decided to make our home his home.  That was OK with us until we discovered "Old Shep" had an unusual personality.  He decided that the neighbors chickens were not welcome in our yard.  So when chickens wandered in they very quickly became headless.  This chicken thing that he had eventually led to his demise when he started going to the neighbors chicken house early in the morning before daylight to roust them out and get their day started.  Farmer Ritter took care of that problem with buckshot.

    But before that happened he did the darndest thing.  We didn't know it until Mrs. Cozart, who lived up the road a piece, came by and asked Mom if she had seen her false teeth.  Of course Mom had no idea what had happened to the lady's teeth and told her so. 

    Mrs. Cozart said that she had put her teeth in a glass of water to soak and put them on a shelf on the front porch.  Well, she went back inside to do some work while they were soaking.  When she came out to get them they were gone.  The only thing she could think of was the old dog she saw sneaking around must have got them.

    Of course, we didn't have a clue but she persevered and somehow tracked that dog out in the corn patch where the dirt had been plowed and was somewhat soft until she found them neatly buried.  I guess they looked like a bone to Shep and he was just doing his dog thing.

    Mrs. Cozart was greatly relieved because they were expensive fourty dollar teeth.  We all were amazed that she was able to track that dog to where he had buried her teeth.  But forty bucks was a lot of money in 1942.  

    This is a true story.

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