Old Bulger

by John T. Baker DDS
Old Bulger & One Christmas at the Baker farm around 1920 in Palo Pinto County.

Little sister Martha Jane was around 4 yrs old, Inez a little older-they being the youngest.
Older brothers Henry, Cleveland & Obed had been essentially gone since 1910 & 1916. All 3 came back to visit & spent most summers at the farm during summer vacations from teaching at various places. But oh the family was so glad when they did come, & especially so at Christmas time.
One Christmas, around 1920, James OBED decided to come home dressed in a Santa Claus costume on Christmas Day.  It would be so special for John Ollen, Mary Opal, Hortense, Inez & especially little Martha Jane. Well, it was Obed’s first time home since Sept 1st when he had gone to teach or back to West Texas Normal College. When he arrived at the front gate, Old Bulger & the other dogs did not recognize him or his smell in that Santa Claus Suit. They would not let him in & sort of attacked him. It was not until he took the top off & presented the dogs each with their wrapped up Christmas Packaged bones, that the dogs finally recognized Obed. And then it was a glorious family reunion indeed. 
Old Bulger was one of the old time best dogs the family ever had. He is the one that was fighting the possum the night the possum got ahold of Obeds nose & shredded it. Mother Baker molded it back together & placed a poultice made from coal oil & fireplace ashes, & then wrapped a kerosene rag around his face for a week. It healed, but was scarred forever.
Bulger was also famous for getting bit by a copperhead snake & almost died-but finally recovered. But he was most remembered for a sad event.
Henry (a serious wolf hound man), decided that Bulger was too old & decrepit. He decided that it was time for Bulger to be -by today’s terms- “Put Down”. He & Obed took Bulger down far away from the house -away from the other children- & did what ya always did-they clubbed Bulger to death with one good sound effective blow. They covered his body in a ravine & went on about several hours of chores.
To their surprise, when they got back to the house, there was Bulger on the front porch happy to see them but lookin’ pretty raged. Henry & Obed decided it must not be Bulger’s “time” yet.
Bulger lived to the ripe old age of 19 years, the families favorite dog.
Decades later, when Martha Jane was in her 80’s & James Obed was in his 90’s, Martha Jane got bit by a copperhead snake at her farm. When Obed went to the hospital to visit her, he said, “my goodness, the only members of our whole family to ever get bit by a copperhead are Old Bulger & Martha Jane.”


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