Walker Dog and Stormy Judy

52ancestors-2015Stormy Weather is an apropos theme for the Week 10 52 Ancestors Challenge. It’s March and, in southern Illinois, we would normally be headed into spring and well on our way to “tornado season”.

Not this year … our only two snow storms of the winter have happened in the last two weeks. They’ve been doozies. I’m ready to open my back deck and swimming pool, and mix up a pitcher of sangria to share with friends!

Spring is one of my favorite times of year … when everything begins to awaken after a long … cold … winter’s nap. Bird chirps wake me up in the morning and, eventually, the sound of crickets put me to sleep at night. Somewhere in the middle of the day, a variety of critters scurry through the yard. Everything is awake and new.

And then there are the storms. Oh, the storms. They begin in March, coming and going through May or June. Thunderstorms, hail storms, wind storms, tornados … I’m used to it. We’ve had a few historically significant storms, too.

The spring and summer bring rebirth right along with stormy weather, and so it was one summer in 1980-something when Stormy Judy was born … in the middle of a horrible thunderstorms that dropped limbs from trees like they were feathers. The grandkids were allowed to name the pup that Grandpa would keep, and, naturally, Stormy fit.

Stormy Judy Raines

Stormy, on the left, with Jody, named after my daddy!

My Grandpa Raines was an avid hunter … mostly raccoon and squirrel. He raised Treeing Walker Coonhounds until he became too old to physically hunt. He was known for this, so much that his CB handle was Walker Dog. Mine, incidentally … Walker Puppy.

Jim Raines with Walker Dog

Grandpa Raines with Joe Dog, Stormy’s daddy. Joe Dog was also named after my dad.

Stormy Judy was his last hound. She was special. She was my baby as much as she was his hunting partner. The Raines Clan are dog people … except my grandma. She never really liked dogs, so Stormy had to live outside unless the weather was bad. On July 4th, Grandpa would let her sleep in the basement because the fireworks scared her! She had a fierce name, but her personality was anything but.

Stormy’s middle name comes from my Aunt Judy. Grandpa always named his dogs after his children’s wives and husbands. Many were named after my dad, Joe … and I’ve named many after Grandpa and Dad! It’s just one of those silly family traditions … and I’ll never break it, even though they’re both gone.

Stormy is one of the first dogs I remember, which might be why she’s imprinted so strongly on my mind. She lived until I was an adult … a long life for a large dog. She and Walker Dog made a pretty good pair.

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