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Southern Stories
Sam's Job
Aug 26/16

Sam's Job Posted by: Aaron Stearns | 0 Comments



He was big, big enough for my little 3-year-old self to climb on his back as he patiently waited so that I could take a ride. His fur was shiny and black, the pads on his paws squishy and calloused, his tongue long and pink. If you would’ve asked Dad, he would have told you Sam’s job was to retrieve ducks on frigid mornings, but I knew the truth. Sam’s job was to sit patiently at my tea parties, run alongside me to school, listen patiently as I cried about mean friends and then boys. And he did his job brilliantly for thirteen years.

It was autumn when we had to say goodbye, before the north wind started driving the ducks down south. We all knew the year before would be his last hunt; even though his tail would wag at 5am, he could barely walk, much less run. His muzzle had turned grey, and his eyes had a milky haze to them. Dad had taken him one last time, but Sam had stayed in the duckblind the whole morning.

We buried Sam down beside the lake. Even after all these years I still think of him, tell my own children stories about him, miss him. I’m not sure you can ever really let go of a best friend. And even though he’s gone, I know that he will always be with me.


By Paula Martin
Paula Martin was born and raised in Arkansas and received her MFA in Creative Writing at the University of New Orleans. She is a writer, teacher, mom, barefoot trail runner, martial artist, and free-thinker always packed and ready for the next adventure. 



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