Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Peach was probably the precursor and progenitor of a plethora of present-day Purse Pups.  (Oh, My. Too much caffeine).

My Aunt Lo was a trend-setter---in more ways than a few.  In these days of purse-poodles and Chihuahuas riding around in handbags with the price tags of  SUVs, I think of her dog Peach when I see an inquisitive little face peeking out of a purse.


Some folks take it a bit far, with all the frills and furbelows and smugglings-in and those innocent  “What noise?” questions to airline stewards and hotel clerks.   The pup-jewelry alone would serve to deck chorus-lines the world over, and the jacket-and-beret sets in size 000 are the envy of Barbies far and wide.  I swear, some of the little fellas reflect their owners’  ennui, and it’s a certainty that  perfectly-cooked salmon and breast-of-chicken are sent back on their tiny Limoge, if Fido shows a sign of disdain.


Bruiser was a cutie, and Elle the perfect Cocker-Mom, and those dogs are being cared for better than they dared dream.   Why, my OWN Lady Mother carried around a fledgling Banty Rooster in her apron pocket every day for months, for fear he’d get under our feet and be harmed.  (My sister’s childhood pet, raised in the house---a long story told in a former post).


But Aunt Lo carried that pup around in a big ole purse until she walked crooked from so much weight on one side.  She’d come staggering up the porch steps, draggin’ the bag, her little pumps straining for the next step, while that sweet little golden face looked out enthusiastically.   And when Peach saw Mammaw, she’d do such energetic squirming that Aunt Lo would fairly have to drop purse, dog and all, to keep from sprawling on the floor. 



 Peach was a gorgeous little dog right from the start, with silky long champagne hair sweeping the floor from coat and tail by the time she was a few months old.   She eventually wore her ears atop her head, the long trailing hair caught up in barrettes, for she kept stepping on them and tripping herself.


Peach later graduated to a leash---but not just ANY leash.   Most of the leashes had a cover made-to-match Aunt Lo’s outfit.    She’d save a bit of the material from every good dress she made, cutting a long strip of the fabric and sewing it together lengthwise.  Then she’d take a huge safety pin and run it through to turn the tube inside out, then hem the ends.    Every time she washed and ironed her clothes or sent them to the dry cleaner, she included the matching strip, and when she hung the garments away, the strip went around the neck of the hanger to keep the matches together.   Once she even cut a big slice off the bottom of the jacket of a “bought” outfit, shortening it almost into bolero length, just to make that fancy cover.


Down over the leash went the cover-of-the-day, plumped out in little poufs like a pinafored chandelier chain, and the two ladies were ready to step out, even for a trip to the grocery store---which, in their case, meant spending the afternoon, for the only real store in town was Aunt Lou’s, and the three sisters had a visit in the little front heater-space every day except Sundays.


  Well, Aunt Lo and Mammaw did, for Aunt Lou was the dashabout, running to reach down this and get that and slice some steaks or a “nickel worfa bloney.”  Her visiting was limited to stopping long enough for two puffs off a Chesterfield as she vaguely tried to catch up with the conversation, then off she’d go, her quick steps responding to that little jingly-bell over the door.


And little Peach would sit at those two ladies’ feet or nearest the stove, receiving guests for the whole afternoon.   She lived a wonderful life as an only dog, pampered and petted and treated with more love and care than I believe ANY of her court-bred ancestors ever knew.  They might have sat on embroidered cushions, being carried around in ornate silky sleeves, but Peach traveled in STYLE.  




Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Rachel:
What a dash your Aunt Lo and her handbagged dog must have cut when they strolled around town. A trendsetter most certainly and, as they say,only true originals set the style, all the rest merely copy!

We have never owned dogs, only cats and we have to admit that we did consider walking them around town on fancy looking leads. We thought that we could get away with it as foreigners since all our habits are thought to be strange but, in the end, we did not have the courage as Aunt Lo to carry it off.

The stories of your family members can surely be material for a wonderful book. Do people like this exist these days.......we are desperate to meet them if they do!!!

mississippi artist said...

Lord this sounds like my spoiled dogs. I have carried them in handbags and even one of those baby carriers that straps on and the baby is in front of you strapped in.They all have a suitcase of clothes and hats and leashes and collars-and the toys!

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

As small as Mele is, I've stopped trying to carry her with me in a she is on a diet! The love and dedication your Aunt must have had for her little dog warmed my heart. It was her child.
Mele is mine. I know I am in for more pain and I dread it. I know it is just part of life...but it's a part I could do without. I loved every moment reading this story.
You wrote it beautifully! I was right there. I saw it all.

Have I ever told you that you are one of my very favorite bloggers? :)

Jeanne, backyard neighbor said...

Good morning my dear Rachel, I have missed you. We are glad to be home after a fun nine days with our son and Beverly. Thank you for your many kind comments as always.

I find a very big admiration for Aunt Lo and her devotion to her Peachy pup. I get it. Smile. This story was so much fun to read. Your love of family and your wonderful memories are a constant source of the best read that I know. You should be published. Maybe you are. Your stories are a delight. I know, I am repeating myself. I can't help myself. Smile!


Beverly said...

Ah, Aunt Lo and Peach sound like a match made in Heaven. Just the thought of them makes me smile. Two beauties shining for the world.

Thanks for sharing, sweet friend.♥

Kim Shook said...

What a gift you have, Rachel! I can SEE your aunts and grandmother and Peach! Like Jane and Lance, I want to meet these folks. More, more!!! I want to inhabit this small town and meet these very real people.