Floyd Mooneyham, aka Cotton Rocket
‘F’ is for Senator Floyd Mooneyham, and how he came into our lives.
My husband loves to walk. Sunday afternoon, just a little over two years ago, he was eager to get out, but the weather was not cooperative. It was late March, very cold, and also icy, rainy. He suggested we drive north a little way to a mall that we seldom visit. Once inside Steven said, “Let’s look at the pet store.”
“I don’t think they have those places any more."
“Let’s go see.”
“I’ve never seen a pet store here.”
“We’ll find out.”
We looked at the directory, and sure enough, there was a pet store, on the other side of the mall.
“I wish we could have another dog,” I said. “I miss Einstein. And I love spending time with Charley and Tobey at Ann's.” I looked at the other mall walkers and wondered why they were there.
The small store was overrun with people who were looking at puppies. I walked through the door and headed towards the back. “I want to see if they had Cock-a-poos.”
“I want to see this little guy,” Steven stopped at the first window inside the store. “Look at this tiny white snow ball.”
I continued towards the back. There were no Cock-a-poo’s but there were two beautiful Labradoodles. I moved back to the front of the store where Steven stood looking at the white puppy. “They have Labradoodles,” I said.
Steven stared through the glass, “I like this little guy.”
“But Labradoodles are hypoallergenic...” I said, “and they don’t shed.”
“But look at this little ball of fluff. Isn't he the cutest thing you've ever seen?"
“Do you want to look at him?”
We were placed inside a tiny grass green stall where we sat and waited for an attendant. A young woman opened the door and handed me a beautiful white American Eskimo Puppy. “She’s a sweetheart,” the woman said.
I held the puppy and fell in love. “She’s beautiful! Let's take her home."
“No,” Steven shook his head. “I wanted to look at the boy. He’s the one I wanted to see.”
“But this one's so pretty. She’s adorable. He can't be any cuter than this one.”
“The boy's older. He’s marked down.”
“You want to see the boy because he’s marked down?”
“No, I want to see the boy because he’s the one I asked to see.”
The attendant returned. We explained that we would prefer to see the boy puppy. It was hard saying good-bye to the sweet little female. She was extra playful, and very pretty.
We waited again. The woman returned this time with the boy puppy. “That’s the one," Steven said, nodding.
I looked at the puppy. He was very shy, and he seemed to be afraid. At first, he didn't want to be held.
“I don’t know,” Steven said. “He’s not making eye contact. I’m not sure that’s a good sign.”
“Maybe he needs us.” I looked at my husband and wondered why we were there. “We can’t have a dog now. And it's not right to buy a dog from a pet shop. We don't know where he came from.”
Steven shook his head, “He’s already been marked down twice."
"What are you saying?"
"What’s going to happen to him if he doesn’t find a home?”
Steven bought everything and more that a new puppy could want. He took care of the paperwork, and then said I could wait by the mall entry with all of the packages. He wanted to walk the little fellow through the mall to the car. That didn’t work. The puppy sat firmly at the edge of the pet shop doors and refused to budge.
At the store entrance I stood with the puppy, a new crate, a teddy bear that had a heart beat, puppy food, puppy wash, puppy bones, puppy toys, puppy enzyme cleaner, puppy toothpaste, a puppy tooth brush, and a University of Michigan puppy baseball cap as we waited for Steven to bring the car around.
An attendant I hadn’t spoken with until that moment walked over and said, “We’re so happy he came back for this baby.”
“Your husband, we’re happy he came back.”
Another attendant walked over and joined in the conversation. “He was in here earlier this week looking at this one for the longest time. We hoped he’d come back.”
Once settled in the car I asked, “Where was your medical meeting this week?”
“It was across the street at the Baronette.”
“You picked him out the other day?”
“No. Today was my first time in the store. What would you like to name him?"