Author Archives: Nodebud5512

Winning the Doggie-Lottery

On October 28, 2003, I went to visit a dog at the Bowling Green Warren County Humane Society. They brought the three-year-old dog, Duchess, who’d been at the shelter longer than any other dog, out to play with me in a grassy area. But Duchess didn’t play. Instead, she came to sit next to me, leaning her entire body against me, in a sort of armless hug.

I called my husband, Mark, to inform him that I couldn’t possibly live another day without this dog. Mark, an extremely wise man, said, “Okay then.”

Turned out, I had to live two more days without Duchess–which was hard, very hard, but I made it: I loaded Duchess into my car immediately after she was spayed on October 30th, when she was still woozy from anesthesia, and made the hour drive home, amazed that no one else had adopted her during her months at the shelter–I couldn’t believe my luck!–I felt like I’d won the doggie-lottery!

Upon arriving home, I learned that I couldn’t lift a 100 pound dog out of the car. I went to get Mark, who came right out to help me. He leaned into the backseat, took a good look at Duchess, and then stood up again. “God Almighty,” he said, “that’s the ugliest dog I’ve ever seen in my life.”

I was like, “Huh? What’re you talking about?! Look again!”

Mark carried Duchess into the house. She immediately went to the darkest, quietest, least-used room, the dining room, and hunkered down for the rest of the night.

Later, when I went to check on our six-year-old daughter, Laurel, she wasn’t in her bed. I found her curled up next to Duchess, both of them asleep on the dining room floor.

After that, in return for us choosing her, Duchess chose us right back. She went everywhere we went–to visit family in Kentucky, to the beach for vacations, and to the bathroom (yes, really)–she always stayed close by, never had to be leashed, and obeyed our every command.

We knew it was time to get up when we heard her tail thumping against the floor. We knew it was time for bed when grizzly-bear-worthy snoring filled our room and vibrated our bed–literally. And at all times in between, we knew she was watching over us. Duchess once leapt into the air and ate a bumble bee that had been buzzing around Laurel, scaring her, and causing her to stand frozen and crying. She stood stubbornly between me and every workman that ever came to the house.

It wasn’t long before Mark recognized Duchess for what she was: the most gentle, loyal, loving, and beautiful creature on four legs. He painted a portrait of her soon after, as a Christmas gift for me.


I have always cherished the painting and I cherish it even more today. The night before last was Duchess’s last night with us. As on her first night with us, she chose a place that was dark, quiet, and lonely, to rest: my closet. But, just like that first night, she soon had a friend sleeping on the floor beside her: me.

I will miss her. I do miss her. Painfully. (Did you know that it’s possible to cry so much that your eyes get chapped? Well, it is. Apparently.) But more than that, I am so grateful for the life of Duchess, so glad we found her, so glad she got to be our dog, and we got to be her people. In other words, I still think we won the doggie-lottery. No, I KNOW we did.

Readers Rock!

How so? Well, for starters, readers tend to be very well-traveled. For them, a trip to Venice, Paris, or New Orleans is as close as the local library. I, personally, have traveled the world many times over through books.   Also, readers are never alone–unless they choose to be. I always carry a whole cast of fascinating… Continue Reading

An Interactive Thanksgiving

Oh how I wish I could invite every single one of you to my house for Thanksgiving, so that I could thank you in person for your friendship, readership, support, and encouragement! I would feed you and fuss over you until both your belly and your heart are full to bursting–and then I would load you up with… Continue Reading

I would’ve called you but . . .

I’m busy showing you how much I love you. See, like most children of the South, I was raised not to be bothersome to other people–outside of my own home. In public, I was taught not to trouble anybody by asking for anything (I could accept whatever might be offered–a drink, for example, but I… Continue Reading

It all comes down to lunch.

In two weeks, my new novel, Lula Bell on Geekdom, Freakdom & and the Challenges of Bad Hair will be released. It took a dozen or so grown folks on both sides of the Mason Dixon, four years, and two dogs (dogs are very encouraging) to get to this point. And here we are. Lula Bell… Continue Reading


This morning, my husband pointed out some glitter that had fallen out of our daughter’s backpack on her way down the stairs. But I didn’t rush to get the vacuum cleaner. Instead I said, “Aawww, how cute! Our little girl left behind a trail of fairy dust—don’t our stairs look…magical?” Well, I think they do.… Continue Reading

The Magic Words

Recently, I learned THE magic words, from my beautiful and brilliant friend, Rosemary. No, the magic words aren’t, “I love you,” although those are good words, too. No, they aren’t, “I’m absolutely wrong and you’re absolutely right,” although these are also among my favorite words to hear—but not to say—ick! Basically, Rosemary was running down… Continue Reading

Lula Bell Takes Manhattan!

Hey, y’all! Lula Bell Bonner here! Some call me the “protagonist” of C. C. Payne’s new novel, Lula Bell on Geekdom, Freakdom & the Challenges of Bad Hair, but I prefer “star”. Actually, I really prefer “super-star”! What? You don’t believe that I’m a star? I am totally a star. Why, here I am at… Continue Reading

From The Queen Mother

Since it’s Mother’s Weekend—because one day is obviously not enough to adequately recognize and honor mothers—and since I am a mother, I have pretty much declared myself The Queen Mother of this weekend (at my house, at least). Look, it’s not like I’m asking anyone to bow at my feet, or massage my feet, or… Continue Reading

Letting In Light

It has been said that anyone who survived childhood has enough material for a novel–or ten. (Flannery O’Connor has said that many a bestselling novel could have been prevented by a good teacher.) While I believe this to be true, I have to admit that it sounds easier than it is, at least in my… Continue Reading