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How Hangdog Got His Name

January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

I’ve got a couple of rants rambling in my head about cows and butter etc., so what else is new?  I thought it wouldn’t be best to start the new year off with my belly aching – so, since Chris asked a few posts back about Hangdog, I thought I would tell the story.  Not really farm stuff, but definitely funny, small-town fare.

"Look, there's our place!"

A little background about my dear hubby, ever since we met, it was apparent that people thought he was scary looking.  When he would walk down the street,  little old ladies would grab their purses and cross to the other side and scurry away.  I never really thought he looked too scary, and I think it must be his blue-green eye color, and the fact that he really looks intently at you when he is talking to you, (and also if he is mad :O. )  Part of that intent look is from so many eye injuries that he really has to look hard to see what he is seeing.  As my dear, departed brother would say, “he’s hard of seeing.”

Until the Hangdog incident, we called him Mr. Scary because while working at a construction job at the Portland State University daycare center, all the little kids would come out for recess and call to him, “Mr. Scary, come over here a tell us what you’re hammering on.”  We never could figure out the fact, if they thought he was so scary how they mustered up the courage to come and hang on the fence each and every day to find out what the guys were working on.  And all this got worse when he broke his neck, because he didn’t want to shave, so he grew a beard.  Beard + piercing hard looks = scary and scruffy!!  Since he didn’t have a town beard, I think people really thought he was a scruffball.

I live in the same  fish bowl small town that I grew up in, so people either know me, or know my older siblings.  Pretty much until the late 60’s and early 70’s our town didn’t see too many new people, and then the onslaught of subdividing and hobby farm building started.  So you have the old-time families, and the newbies.  When I was a freshman in high school, my class consisted of 26 students, and it was for the most part the same 26 we started out with in first grade.  By the time I was senior, the incoming freshman class had about 60 kids.   My hubby is considered a newbie since he has only lived here 30 years!  And the other funny thing, is that the gossipers at the Creep Feeder Cafe (name has been changed to protect the gossipers, and we had already dubbed the portable sawmill lash-up nearby, The Rumor Mill) don’t really know what they think they know.  Most think I was a spinster, and didn’t get married until this guy (Mr. Scary/Hangdog) started working for my brother, somehow I snared him and we had to get married.  When really what happened was that I met Mr. Scary first, and then years later he went to work for my brother, then we finally got married after a tiff during a stressful haying season.

But I digress, here is the cast of characters:

♦  Phil and Judy the husband and wife owners of the Creep Feeder, (Judy went to school with my sisters.)

♦  Al, our friend, (a Guernsey owner, I might add.)

♦  And of course, DH, also known as Mr. Scary.

One day Mr. Scary stopped at the Creep Feeder to buy a Coke.  As he went in, the usual hushed silence that ensued fell over the tables.  He was used to that treatment and glanced over to see who was at the tables.   The breakfast rush was over and it was too soon for the lunch crowd just yet.  He spied Al, sitting with Judy at a table towards the back, he waved hello with a nod of his head.  Phil was manning the cash register.

Judy leaned toward Al conspiratorially and whispered in a low tone.   “What’s that creep doing out here?”

“Nah, that’s Loren, he’s OK.” Al answered, relaxing deeper into his chair.

Judy was unconvinced.  “I just saw his picture in the paper, he just got out of prison for murder!”

Al was laughing by this time, “That’s Nita’s husband…”

“No, it can’t be.”

“You wanna bet $5.00?”

“Sure, you’re on!”

While Mr. Scary was in the back getting his Coke, Judy marched up to the cash register to lay in wait for the inquisition.  Before Mr. Scary could get out his wallet to pay for his drink, Judy started peppering him with questions, and Al had sidled up too, to watch the scene unfold and relish his win.

“Are you married?” Judy, never one to mince words, asked point-blank.

Mr. Scary decided to play coy.  “Why, Judy! Not in front of Phil.”

Phil piped up, “well, of course, he’s married!  Look how hangdog he looks!”

“Who are you married to?”

“My wife,”  Mr. Scary answered literally.

Judy suppressed a sigh and asked the next logical question:   “Who is your wife?”


With that, Judy flung open the register and pulled out a $5.00 bill and slapped it into Al’s hand.  “There!”

The whole exchange had Mr. Scary wondering what was up, but he had to be on his way.  Several days later he ran into Al and got the whole story.

Hangdog and Ruthless.

Does he really look that scary or hangdog?

29 Comments leave one →
  1. January 1, 2011 4:04 pm

    Love the story…and I don’t think he looks a bit scary!! 🙂

  2. January 1, 2011 4:20 pm

    Hangdog. But I have to admit I like the name Mr. Scary.

    • January 2, 2011 7:08 am

      Paula, oh those little kids were so cute, chanting Mr. Scary! Mr. Scary!

      When he finally shaved his beard off after 17 years, Ruthless cried and couldn’t look at him. She would sneak a glance and then look away. Too funny!

  3. January 1, 2011 4:22 pm

    Thanks for posting the story – I’m shaking my head, laughing.

    I was just wondering about this last week…

    • January 2, 2011 7:13 am

      Hayden, the things people in this town come up with, one time when Ruthless was a baby, he stopped at local vegetable stand (to buy red licorice) and the clerk (I went to high school with her but hadn’t seen her in 20 years) who didn’t know him, asked him, “Is that Nita’s baby?”

      He stoically replied, “No, it’s my baby!” She wasn’t too happy with his reply.

      One other guy argued with him about my age, mind you I don’t really know that guy but he thought for sure my husband married a much older woman, and I was pulling the wool over his eyes and lying about my age! We still laugh about that one 🙂

  4. January 1, 2011 5:12 pm

    Your story made me giggle, and I think that your Hangdog looks loving and kind… (it is the squeeky-clean straightlaced cleanshaven ones that I find scary)

    Is that beautiful flower all around you two amaranth?

    • January 2, 2011 7:16 am

      Alison, yeah he’s pretty sweet. Ahem, I wish I looked that young – that’s our kid. And that is Hangdog’s Love Lies Bleeding patch. It’s a volunteer patch, and where we place the cosmic pipe. I usually weed and thin the spot, but I leave a few extra, so if I get mad at him, I can quietly go out and yank a plant out by the roots and get some satisfaction. 😉 Works like a charm!

      • January 2, 2011 2:22 pm

        silly me, if I’d read the caption I’d have realised that it was your daughter! (and love-lies-bleeding is ornamental amaranth)

  5. January 1, 2011 8:07 pm

    Funny story. Powell River is a small town and “old timers” from the mill are notorious for not being too welcoming to newbies. Fortunately, we’ve met a few key people who have made us feel very welcome. – Margy

    • January 2, 2011 7:18 am

      Margy, that is funny, I’m an old-timer living on the original homestead, but I find I get along with some of the newbies better. All our customers here in town, are of the newer ilk, the regulars would never buy from us, not because they raise their own, but they have the perception that the store is better… oh well.

  6. spence permalink
    January 1, 2011 9:12 pm

    I’m thinking he qualifies as clean cut in the Ozarks!

    Awesome story. Love to hear about the haying incident that ended in marriage!

    • January 2, 2011 7:20 am

      Spence, yeah he’s pretty cleaned up now, but the ponytail and full beard put some people off. He used to work with a very slick guy that just was grossed out by his beard, so he would grab his comb and run it through his beard, the guy would quickly grab back the comb and go wash it.

      The haying thing wasn’t all that good of a story, just a dare!

  7. January 2, 2011 3:30 am

    I know the newbies in a small town thing. We’ve only lived here 27 years and it took 10 whole years, after stopping in every morning for coffee, for the gossipers at our version of the Creep Feeder to call DH by his first name. And he was clean cut and shaven during that period. (Now has a full beard and hair down his back.)

    Our local butcher, now in his 80’s and retired, has only lived here 50 years and he says he’s also considered a newby.

    I think the stare would do it. I’m partially deaf so I tend to watch people and their faces very closely as I lip read and body language read. It does make people uncomfortable.

    I loved this story, and would some day like to hear the one about:

    “then we finally got married after a tiff during a stressful haying season.”

    That sounds like it would be a good one….

    • January 2, 2011 7:23 am

      Pam, I don’t know what is it about being fearful of the new people in town. Some of our best friends are “new” people. Of course, I have old friends too, but we don’t even bother with the Creep Feeder anymore. Too much gossip, and just more fuel for the fire, they only sell junk food anyway, so if I want junk food I’ll just go somewhere else.

  8. Mareena permalink
    January 2, 2011 5:36 am

    He’s gorgeous! and I think Hangdog is cuter than Mr. Scary.

    • January 2, 2011 7:24 am

      Mareena, I would have to agree 🙂 He likes that Hangdog badge for sure, he is so whipped you know!

  9. January 2, 2011 6:49 am

    You just have to love small towns! I think your hubby is rather good looking. And Ruthless is just beautiful! That picture is fantastic by the way.

  10. Chris permalink
    January 2, 2011 9:45 am

    Great story about Mr. Scary-Hangdog! Now I know! 🙂 Don’t ya just love small town mentality…Ugh!

  11. Kay permalink
    January 2, 2011 12:25 pm

    That’s funny. I have a husband w/ a scary goatee and tatoos and he wouldn’t hurt a soul. He rides a motorcycle too, so there! 🙂 People have always looked at him like he was a criminal. It is a shame how people judge a book by it’s cover, isn’t it?

  12. January 2, 2011 12:55 pm

    Thanks for sharing Hangdog’s story! I don’t think he looks mean, I see contentment and self worth, maybe that is what scared people.*wink*

    My hubby, Mike is such a tease and nobody knows how to take him, I’ve had friends that have been around him for years and they still look at me to see if he’s teasing or serious.

    We too live in “small town mentality ville” and it’s amazing to know how much people think they know about us. It’s when they actually take the time to get to know us that they admit we are fun to be around. LOL!!!

    Take care and many blessing to you, Hangdog and your fur buddies in 2011

    • January 2, 2011 2:43 pm

      Kelle, so true, we’re so boring I have no idea why anyone would even care to speculate what we’re up to. It takes all kinds to make the world I guess.

      The teasing goes on a lot here too – sure does make life interesting.

      Best wishes for a great 2011!

  13. January 2, 2011 2:18 pm

    He ain’t scary….and now I know “the rest of the story”. I’ve always wondered.

  14. January 3, 2011 7:14 am

    People get scared of my Andrew, too. Big, bald, with an earring and a goatee, and a broken nose. Looks like he’s tough and fights and you better not mess with him– especially when he has his sunglasses on. I’ve watched men(!) hold doors open for him when he goes in the store, and yes, I’ve also seen women grab their purses close and their children closer! So funny. When he has one of the kids in his arm, though, it’s the total opposite– the ladies give him googly eyes!!

    That’s a lovely picture of Ruthless and Hangdog… You’re a good looking family! :o)

  15. January 4, 2011 12:56 pm

    HE ain’t scary…he is just right for you and your town. All towns need to grow, you…had grown already.


  16. January 8, 2011 6:48 pm

    I LOVE this post, and think Loren looks great with his beard and fact, I really prefer men who wear beards. Jack did when we first married, before he got the job he has now where they have a “dress code” that excludes beards (hmmm). It was funny though…you could forget getting through the airport quickly when he had his beard…he ALWAYS got pulled over and doublechecked, ha!

  17. January 14, 2011 7:05 am

    😉 Nah, he doesn’t look scary, but I’m biased. I like my guys tall dark and hairy. When hubby and I handfasted he had black curly hair longer than mine, that I would comb and braid for him.
    Loren looks like a sweetheart to me. 🙂
    Loved the story.

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