In 1871, Women sew more than quilts for a change.
“Can you stitch up the dog?”
That’s what every woman wants to hear when she’s cooking dinner. The kids were poking each other with sticks and into this chaos, Henry put the hound dog on the table. I swear my husband grew up in a cow pasture.
The dog lay there, quaking, with a big flap of skin hanging off his side. The children began crying.
Kaiser, the dog, who was savvy enough to avoid oxen hooves and coyote teeth for 2,000 miles across the Oregon trail, wasn’t quick enough to avoid the horns of our bull.
This was the kind of thing Roxie Poley enjoys. “Haul the hound over to her,” I said. They have a coyote that helps her husband track bears. She’d love stitching fur together.
Besides….tromping to this isolated place was never my idea. I wasn’t even asked. Henry just showed me a flyer and announced we were moving to Oregon.
I finally poured carbolic acid and warm water over the wound and sewed the flesh shut with big Xs.
All I could think was: This dog better not break my only needle. I covered the stitches with turpentine and lard when I finished so flies wouldn’t get into the wound.
That mutt lay around for two weeks, barely eating, before he decided to live. I threatened the boys with a whooping if they told anyone I stitched up the dog.
There are only 4 darning needles in the valley. We women lend them to one another. The needle is threaded with a long measure of thread then stuck in a potato for transport.
I don’t want people referring to my needle as the Dog Needle. I’d die of shame. I’m trying to bring a bit of culture the the settlers, whores, and dirt of Two Pan.