The first few days of summer vacation were hard on Billy. He was there, at his appointed post - that being the school crossing - at the right time of morning, but look as he may, he couldn't find any kids.
He couldn't find Martin, either. The perennial crossing guard, with his vest, sign and whistle, was home for the summer. So were the kids. School was out.
Billy, being the official town dog since Sally passed away on Doc's porch, decided on the fourth day of no kids that he might as well do something else.
He cruised on down to the Rest of Your Life retirement home and got ear rumples from all the residents there. That's a good way to start summer vacation. Then he dropped over to the Gates of Heaven Chinese Restaurant, and Delbert Chin gave him some scraps out the back door.
On his way to the Mule Barn truck stop at the edge of town, Billy came across Dud Campbell, walking slowly and being very quiet. Dud rubbed Billy's ears, then sat on a low wall. Billy rested his chin on Dud's leg and looked up at his face in admiration.
"Why is it," Dud asked this big brown dog, "that you always know the right thing to do to help people? I think it's a gift and you have it."
Billy wagged his tail slowly and kept looking up into Dud's face.
"You just keep going on, don't you," Dud said, "no matter what else happens."
Dud sighed and stood up. "I guess there's a lesson there for all of us, Billy. Thank you."
Billy continued on toward whatever lunch scraps might be available at the back door to the Mule Barn. Smelled like chicken fried steak from here. Chicken fried steak is good. Any scraps usually has some French fries with it, too. And gravy.
Ear rumples, Chinese breakfast, helping a friend, and then cream gravy? Nothing wrong with being the town dog.