“Rinny Did It”
Rinny was a hunting dog. Not purebred but better for it, though he was pointedly proud of a small helping of blue tick.
Norman could shoot, nothing like Irene’s brothers and she had several. He brought home a few ducks with Rinny’s help. Squirrels were too easy, but provided an occasional spark of sport for both. They were never wasted but not really needed. So Rinny spent most of his days retrieving the love of two little boys.
Irene met Norman in church youth group. He was already hunting for his supper, not with gunpowder but newsprint on his fingers in exchange for nickels and dimes on a busy corner. They married on the unfortunate cusp of the Depression.
The family printing business must have felt like shooting squirrels in the backyard. Mr. Swift didn’t understand why the competition’s legacy wanted to work for him, but good ink sets deeply into a quality bond, and they prospered together in spite of hardening times.
Norman gambled like he shot and laid ink. Irene’s face shed 50 years recalling the night he came home with so many bills they covered the bed and fell into it laughing. Norman, Jr., was born within a year.
Billy came a few years later, a few months before Norman died. Cancer. 1938 was a bad year to have two little kids and lose a breadwinner.
A big family helped, so did Rinny, as only a dog can. Toddler Billy didn’t like having his diaper changed and would shake the contents out when he could. Confronted once by the evidence, he confessed boldly, “Rinny did it!”
My kids, four of Norman and Irene’s 15 great-grandkids, love that story about their grandpa. The fifth generation is now arriving, securely. Norman not only left his boys a good dog, he had $50,000 of life insurance – about $1-million worth today. It takes a lot of quality ink and strong paper to write an everlasting love story.
– Bill Comfort, Jr.
St. Louis, Missouri