Last night on TV we were watching a 1930’s movie when the main actress appeared in a coat like one my mother also had in the 1930’s. It was a princess style which meant it was fitted at the waist with a flared skirt. Around the collar of the coat were fox fur tails. Sometimes an entire fox was curved around the neck of a coat. My mother’s coat had several fox tails artistically arranged in a circle at the top of the coat. Very stylish at that time and with real fur.
One afternoon, my mother attended a ladies function and wore her beautiful fox fur-trimmed coat. It started to rain just as she returned home. Her coat was damp and not wanting to hang it in the closet she draped it over a chair. We went into another part of the house to have supper and visit. Later when mother went to get her coat, the fox furs were in shreds all over the floor. My little fox terrier dog, Betsy, had attacked the “foxes” and had completely annihilated them. What an awful sight—to see a beautiful, expensive coat ruined especially in the 1930’s depression days. The coat was beyond any kind of repair. I was terrified!
My mother never let my brother, Tucker, or me escape if we had been naughty. When Tucker took the world globe out of its stand and rolled it outside to play ball at four years of age, he was promptly and sternly corrected. I was about six or seven years old and got my mouth washed out. I announced in front of company that my “belly” hurt. Mother said for me to say “stomach” as “belly” wasn’t a nice word. I indignantly responded “My belly does too hurt,” and was immediately marched off to the bathroom.
What would she do to poor little Betsy for such a disastrous act?
Betsy was a sweet little dog and always behaved not being any trouble. Now to cause such a catastrophe to my mother’s coat! All in pieces! That is when I found out what a unique and very special person my mother was. It was astonishing and amazing for me as I witnessed her reaction, she accepted the happening without temper or anger. After all, Betsy was a fox terrier dog and that is what they do—catch foxes. Betsy didn’t know that it wasn’t a real fox. It would not be appropriate to punish a dog for doing what they are bred to do. You couldn’t expect to teach a fox terrier to not attack foxes, but Tucker and I could learn “better” how to act.
This story is to be continued. Many people in the Birmingham area know my mother. I want to tell more “tales” about her that I believe would be enjoyed by our readers. But this one about a fox coat being destroyed by a fox terrier shows that animals as well as people act according to their natures no matter what.
…To be continued
P.S. Betsy, my dog, continued to play baby dolls with me, letting me put doll clothes on her and lie in my doll buggy to go for a ride. What a sweet little dog! Ever so civilized, she did not have a mean country girl bone in her body, except for foxes.
From last week: The picture in the “Coming Home” article of the man with two youngsters is of Chester Wood and the two older sons of Ann Rose. It was taken in 1957 in front of Aunt Sophie’s (Chester’s mother) home in Florida. This statement was omitted in last week’s Birmingham Weekly.