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Born With a Rusty Spoon: Episode 54

..."Bertie, I've accidentally killed every damned dog on the place." A strangled hiccup interrupted her teary voice...

Continuing her autobiography, aritst Bertie Stroup Marah tells of a morning of canine mayhem.

It always annoyed Reita when Don would watch sports nonstop on television, even during meals. One evening he sat mesmerized by a ball game on TV. His eyes were riveted on the action as he sat distractedly chewing and sawing at the steak on his plate. In glacial silence Reita watched his total disregard for the nice meal she had prepared.

Don's neck was craned forward, his eyes locked in on the screen, when one misguided stroke of his knife sent his steak flying off the plate across the room.

"That's it!" Reita shouted as she slammed her napkin on the table and glared at Don. "If I had a football, basketball, and baseball, I would shove them all up your ass." Without taking his eyes off the screen, Don walked to his steak lying on the floor in front of the TV, picked it up, dusted it off, backed to the table and sat down. He continued eating as though nothing had happened.

Don loved dogs and always had several on hand. Reita hated these strays and the messes they made but was not unkind to them. One morning she called me at work upset and sobbing.

"Bertie, I've accidentally killed every damned dog on the place." A strangled hiccup interrupted her teary voice. "I was in a hurry to get to work, and I backed over that spotted bitch Don brought home last week. When it yelped I gunned the car forward and hit the white one—the one with the long legs and bent ear. I killed it on the spot." She snorted as she cleared her nose. "I was so upset! I yanked the car in reverse and backed over the spotted one again. That finished her off!"

"Reita, I'm so sorry." I said. "Just calm down, things can't be that bad."

"You're right." There was a slight pause as she weighed the situation. "That spotted one was an egg-suckin' son of a bitch anyway," she said dismissively, then went back to pleading, "But I need you to come help me get 'em out from under my car."

"I can't take off work." I said. "You'll have to get hold of yourself and take care of the situation."

"OK." Then click the phone went dead.

Her morning from hell continued. After pulling the dead dogs off to the side of the driveway, she drove down the hill from her house. She was still blinded by tears when two of the neighbor dogs, as they did every morning, ran out in front of her car. This morning, however, she didn't slow down for their challenge to the right-of-way. Her car bumper struck both dogs, sending them yelping and running for cover. Not stopping to see if they, too, were dead, she just continued driving and crying. As usual she got over her emotional hysteria, later recounting the story many times without shedding a single tear.


To buy a copy of Bertie's wonderful book please visit

To see some of her pictures click on


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