Buckwheat, the Singing Dog
The dog that gave Pavarotti a run for his money.
Several days later a representative from a Martinsburg, West Virginia, television station phoned. Could Buckwheat and I appear on their talk show? I thought my sons would do a better job, but the station manager insisted on me. My personal apprehension about appearing on television was diminished by my great concern as to how Buckwheat would respond. There was no guarantee how he would act under the lights. Suppose he barked, or worse yet, suppose he wouldn’t do anything?
I should have refused the offer, but the boys were high-fiving and jumping all over the place at the prospect of having Buckwheat on TV. I couldn’t let everyone down just because of my misgivings. At least I had the presence of mind to insist that they tape a video of “the singing dog”before the live show...just in case.
My television interview went well. Buckwheat didn’t bark at anyone. But Buckwheat proved himself to be a temperamental tenor and refused to sing. I was glad we had the video backup. Buckwheat’s television career ended in Martinsburg.
An emergency room doctor recalls over 25 years of inspiring true stories of everyday “angels.”
However, our local radio station must have been hard up for programming. To this day, I still don’t know where my brain was when I agreed to pick up the phone and go on the air with Buckwheat. I had no desire for the community to know how flat I could sing “Happy Birthday.” But I sang—solo. Buckwheat refused to perform.
I couldn’t understand why Buckwheat was so provincial. Why didn’t he want to share his talent with the world? Why was he so uncooperative? My opinion of him flagged. I hadn’t expected him to provide income for the family, but I thought he could have been more responsive. I was disappointed. However, Buckwheat was a wonderful part of our family for fourteen years.
One evening, several years after his death, John, the boys’ guitar teacher, stopped by. We all gathered around the kitchen table, reminiscing. I mentioned that I never did understand why Buckwheat would sing only for us.
It was John who put things in a different perspective. John, who sought fame and fortune with his music...who worked menial jobs to have more time to polish his stage performance...John, who wanted more than anything to be a successful musician...it was John who understood.
John explained that there are many who have talent and who want to reach the top, to be a star, to bask in the adulation of others. But there are very few who, like Buckwheat, have a gift that they enjoy sharing only with the ones they truly love. They don’t need the praise of the rest of the world.
I think John was right. Buckwheat didn’t need the limelight. He was content to share his talent with his family and friends, down on the farm. And how blessed we were to have had a singing dog!
Excerpted from Phyllis Hobe's Angels in Disguise, ©2009 by Guideposts.