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Almost all of us know how to pronounce pandemic now, and we have a pretty good idea of what it means since everyone we know spent more than a year under virtual house arrest.

But that didn’t help Billy much. Billy’s our town dog, of course. He’s been our town dog since Sally passed away on Doc’s porch, and Billy’s owner died two weeks later. Sometimes an honored position doesn’t require an election.

Billy took right to it. He made his daily rounds to the back door of the Chinese restaurant and the Mule Barn coffee shop. He drifted over to the Rest of Your Life retirement home often to give the old folks another reason to enjoy life.

And there was his job, too. Every weekday morning Billy was on duty at the street crossing where the kids went to school. Martin, the crossing guard, was always there with his vest and his sign, and Billy was the official cross-the-street escort.

But when the pandemic hit, the kids were suddenly home schooled and Martin stayed home as well. This threw a big monkey wrench into Billy’s gear box.

So about once a week, a bunch of us masked coffee drinkers would go to the school intersection and stand there until Billy showed up. He’d look both ways and take us across the street, and then continue on his daily rounds.

Just because we’re in a pandemic doesn’t mean we can’t do our job.

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Brought to you by The Fly Fisherman’s Bucket List, published by Rio Grande books and written by Slim Randles, who had fun researching it.

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