Luke Batdorf was soon to to learn that his election to the position of Justice of the Peace in Vinemont, was not all glory. There were more to the job than merely practicing with the new notary seal and remanding rail-riding bums who were unceremoniously kicked off of the Columbia branch of the Reading Railroad when the trains stopped at Vinemont station His next door neighbor “Potsy Flohr”, was a fancier of dogs, mostly mongrels, and mutts. The Flohr backyard was a veritable dog pound, self-supporting but unlicensed.
Villagers complained about the nocturnal concerts away off key; about the stench which rose from decaying meat scraps and bones; about the dangers to small children, the threat of rabies and hydrophobia, and yet, there was little that Luke could do about it. “Potsy” went about his business as a mender of umbrellas, traveling from town to town with an army of dogs following him wherever he went. Many of the newer acquisitions of the “Potsy” kennels were tied to leaches fastened to the master’s belt, yelping, barking, yapping, as the umbrella mender walked through the country side. “Potsy” paid his taxes; never broke any laws and always gave generously to all church campaigns even though he never attended services. Vinemont had no ordinances against the possession of dogs; “Potsy” was a good citizen – so that was all there was to it.
So reasoned the new justice of the peace.
Disliked Boys on Stilts
“Potsy” ahd one other idiosyncrasy; he did not like to see small boys walk on stilts. For some reason such activities always annoyed him and he rebuked the boys in vituperative language, especially when they attempted to walk on the pavement in front of his house. For then, he claimed, the stilts dislodged the bricks of the pavement.
Because boys will be boys, the lads of Vinemont taunted the old umbrella mender by marching on stilts just to the edge of the Flohr pavement, bringing down upon themselves a torrent of reprimand. On one of these baiting ventures a small boy was injured by falling from his stilts when his laughter got the better of him. “Potsy” ire turned to solicitation and he did his best to relieve the boy’s pain, but soon a bevy of women came upon the scene, charging that “Potsy” was thrashing the helpless child.
Luke Batdorf had witnessed the whole scene from his bedroom window. Out into the crowd he charged while irate townspeople shouted:
“Arrest Potsy.” But Luke shook Potsy’s hand instead.
Dogs to the rescue
Several weeks passed. Then the new justice of Vinemont found himself performing a very unpleasant duty. A suspected murdered had been apprehended near Blainsport and it was Luke’s duty to bring him to the Vinemont Station. It appeared that everyone was too busy to go with him and he faced the task alone.
The road was rugged and lonely. The prisoner chafed at the ropes which bound his hands as, doggedly he walked in front of his erstwhile captor who trudged along unarmed. Suddenly, in a shaded bend in the road the rogue turned upon his frail captor and by kicking and clawing soon overpowered the justice of the peace. Half consciously Batdorf held on to the trouser leg of his prisoner, felling his strength ebbing; it was only his resolution the name of duty which enabled him to hold on. When suddenly there came the eerie sounds:
Yip! Yi! Br-r Yip! Wuf! A dozen hounds, shepards, spaniels, mutts, and mongrels were pouncing upon the scoundrel who was trying frantically to get away. A few feet away was the Huns-Johnny, shouting “Sick em; Sick em.”
“Gosh, neighbor,” exclaimed Batdorf, “You were just in the nick of time.”
“Yep, Me and the dogs figured you might be coming along this way, so we came to help bring that rascal in.”