‘Originally posted in response to other blog by L. Stewart Marsden, “Writing Odds n Ends” See here.)
One evening my brother and I were outside playing and my brother was trying to train his beagle, Lucky, some tricks. That wasn’t going so well as he was just running away and looping back in a form of dog ‘catch me if you can’ game.
Well it was getting late and Mom came out to call us in to dinner and Lucky chose that moment to go still and stare weirdly up towards the sky, head cocked to the side. My brother and I both noticed it and looked to each other and said “What?”, at the same time.
Mom said, ” What’s he doing?”.
We replied, “Don’t know.”
Well at that moment the outdoor lamp started go on, as the evening was getting on to twilight, and then we all saw it. A little flutter off around the lamp pole. Darting back into the gloom, then back again around the light.
Fruit bat! And Lucky saw it too!
Now Lucky wasn’t a full grown beagle yet with the baying howl bark most are familiar with. Still a pup and hadn’t shown signs yet. Well Lucky started to follow the bat’s circling pattern so started running in large circles and staring up to the sky with his head cocked just so.
My brother and I started to giggle at how funny he looked chasing a bat! Not a rabbit or other animal that would be expected of a hound, but a bat.
Now what happened next was that bat wheedled the first of Lucky attempts at barking howling beagle style out of him. Still running in circles, weird short growl-like part breaking howl (gurgle-woof-aahwo-chuf-woof!). Well needless to say had to hear it to get the full effect of how funny the first attempt to bark-howl at things you’re chasing is.
Now Mom doesn’t cuss or curse anything and hated some the words we kids had picked up at school like ‘jerk’, ‘nerd’, etc…
But with that first few attempts to howl at a fruit bat Mom said ,”NERD!”.
Which just made my brother and I fall down laughing so hard, because it was Mom’s first time using anything slang and on the dog’s antics too.
…so in the time to come poor dog almost lost his name of Lucky for Nerd, every time he barked-howled at anything..
“Nerd!” became quite common for anything involving the dog barking regardless if it was weird or not.