May I introduce you to a very, very, âspecialâ chocolate colored Labrador Retriever, âBud ll!â
A retriever dog was developed to retrieve game. âBudâsâ bestest friend... Mr. Larry Bell, who one might say...retrieved... âBudâ when Larry picked him out among the litter of Labrador Retrievers when he was merely a baby puppy, and has loved and raised from his very âpuppy hood!â As the old saying goes... âa dog is a manâs best friend!!â Around town, Starkville if you see âBudâ...youâll see Larry Bell...you can not separate the two!!
May I also introduce you to a very, very, âspecialâ gentleman, Mr. Larry Bell!!â Larry is a native Starkvillian as is his wife, Mary Sudduth Bell, who just happens to be my cousin on the Pearson side of our family.
Larry is a couple of years older than I am, and Mary is only one year older than I am...she happens to share the same birthday as my own Moma had...which is July 9. I have known and loved Larry and Mary all of my life!
In good âole Starkville High School Larry Bell was known as one of the âtip topâ âScrappyâ... âYellow Jacket players to ever play at SHS!â
Later in life, Larry Bell became one of the very best football officials in this state of Mississippi dressing in that black and white football official outfit every Friday and sometimes Saturday nights. He and Mary would head off to âcall a gameâ...somewhere in this state or another state.
For years Larry was the head of the City of Starkville Building Department, and he was the best building department head Starkville ever had.
Mary and Larry are the proud parents of Laura, Susan, Julia,Loren, Leah, and Allen...all grown up now...parents themselves .. are the grandparents of 17 or 19 delightful grandchildren (I lost count years ago of their exact number of grandchildren!) Without a doubt, they love their wonderful and beautiful six children and all of their grandchildren!
As an artist sometimes another person might inspire you to paint a subject. It was my own husband, Frank Davis of 46 years, who said âCarole, you must see this scene..and ...paint two people...this is impossible! A dog is a person?
I phoned Mary and Larry, âHey, Iâm dropping over to see and visit yâall in a few minutes, will this be okay?â
âSure, Carole, come on over!â
Frank was 100 percent correct. When I got there and pulled my car up their hill at the big old Sudduth home which is the big lovely family home that sits on top of a hill that faces Hospital Road.
Each Spring time the most gorgeous and gigantic Wisteria blooms right in the front and to the left side of the beautiful home where Mary and Larry now live. It was the old Wilburn Pearson Sudduth and Etoile Hull Sudduth Home on North Jackson Street. The three Sudduth daughters, Mary, Margaret, and Ann all grew up here, and I use to go and play with them as a little girl.
I had just pulled into the drive way, when right behind me pulled up... âBudâ driving Mr. Larry Bell!!â Frank had found me not only one portrait...but âtwo portraits in one paintingâ to paint!!
Larry use to drive an old turquoise interior color (inside this old worn out, beat up truck...maybe one could call it an âantique truckâ with great âcharacter!â I could hardly wait to capture this scene on my canvas. It was painted in the spring time of the year, 2008. Lets look at the portraits together!
Larry is really the driver, but âBudâ is close to Larry, that one would say that it is really âBudâ driving... the faded turquoise seats and head rest inside his old truck. There sits Larry holding on to the black steering wheel with his strong, muscular arm that use to catch a football for SHS every Friday night, and he would run to the gold post to score a touch down and a big âwinâ for the Starkville High School Football team!
Larry has on a blue shirt with a collar and the symbol of a building department emblem on the pocket area.
Larry use to have sort of reddish hair, and this red âgave wayâ to grey hair. His determined but sweet and caring eyes are looking forward and his cute almost pug nose and his slightly opened mouth. He is talking to âBudâ... âwhere are we driving off to today? What âfun troubleâ can the two of us get into today?â
âWant to go the farm...check on our little horses... on down Highway 398? âDo you and I want to go by the Starkville Cafe to eat breakfast first?â âHey letâs go eat breakfast first, remember we will bring Mary hers back before we head out to see about our miniature horses and those cows too...they are hungry and need their breakfast tooâ
âNow, Bud, you know that you have to stay in this truck, but Joyce, inside will for sure fix you a very special âBud Boxâ with everything you love for breakfast inside a white box just for you! Just be inside a few minutes catching up on all the gossip around town, and Iâll come back and tell you all about what is really going on around town and out at the college.. I know everything you like to eat and Liz will prepare it all just the way you like it!!!â
The driverâs door slams, and âBudâ scoots over to the driverâs seat as he watches Larry open and close the old red Starkville Cafe door and disappears back to the large âLiarâs Table!!!â
Itâs true. The Starkville Cafe has a sure enough real wooden, hand-crafted by 92 year old Mr. Buck Swain, a fine craftsman. This table with cafe seats has the number 1 âliarsâ in all of Starkville sitting and sipping coffee each morning at day light and can and do tell lies? Why, the best lies in town are told by these âregular liarsâ who occupy those chairs lined up around this large âLiarâs table!â
It is made up of all men... occasionally youâll spot a âbrave ladyâ who has asked politely, âMay I join you, men today?â Iâve ask permission before and been graciously granted this permission, and one gentleman even got up and âpulled my chair outâ for me to sit down at the Liarâs Table! What an honor! And did I hear some lies! After all..it is,the Starkville Cafeâs special Liarâs Table!
Breakfast is over, and Larry goes up to the counter to pay for his meal, Maryâs breakfast to be âhand deliveredâ back home to her by Larry and âBud,â and of course âBudâs Box!!!â He gives John Lee and âJimboâ the correct amount, and the Starkville Cafe door slams shut, and Larry gets back into his âantiqueâ turquoise colored truck. âTheyâ crank it up and head back home to make a delivery of Maryâs hot breakfast to her. Larry glances over at âBud.â
âHey Bud...good âole buddy of mine...you look sharp today, with your brown-black fur which is shinning and glossy. Still got your red collar on with the gold bell hanging down from it...sit up there straight and tall, watch for me any cars that might be pulling out in front of us, we donât want to wreck this fine antique truck of ours...be looking carefully in the rear view mirror for me. Iâll look forward...you, Budâ be looking backwards for me. Gosh Bud, it a pretty Spring day today. Look I see new buds coming out on this tree and look at that tree up there ahead of us. Itâll be an early Spring for us, I think. About time to get out the old fishing boat, and weâll take stop by the old fishing pond, and see if the fish might just be biting today, what do your think, âBudâ...I know you are hungry for breakfast, but weâll stop by with our delivery to Mary, and youâll eat your breakfast out at the farm, I promise...donât get too hungry ...we shall be there soon enough!â
What a relationship that Larry and âBudâ have cultivated! I often have wondered, if something happens to Bud first and âheâ is called to go on to âdog heavenâ...will we have to bury Larry beside Bud? Maybe so!!
I had the wonderful, happy honor to paint the two on my white canvas. I attempted to capture the very personalities of two breathing living people on this canvas of mine. âBudâ Bell is not just an ordinary chocolate brown labrador retriever dog, but he is a âliving, talking (barking) human being who drives an antique truck with turquoise interior that is sagging from age!
Larry Bell is not just the âmasterâ of his a dog, but he and âBudâ are the best of the very best friends to each other. âBudâ would lay down his life for Larry, and Larry would lay down his life for âBud!â Is this not what best friends do for each other?
Hey, I just passed them on North Jackson Street âtrucking along!!!â Sure enough I witnessed with my own two eyes...Larry Bell sitting on the passenger side of his antique truck.
âBudâ...driving Mr. Larry Bell and âBudâ waved with his paw and Larry waved with is hand!