10/06/2014 06:00 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2014

A Party Favor Is Always Necessary in the South

My Daddy had a wicked sense of humor.

When I was about four we moved to Dothan, AL, where I spent the first three years of school. We lived on the outskirts of town... and one late spring day two dogs ambled up, both female, both very much with pup. They proceeded to give birth to a total of 14.

This was about six weeks before we were getting ready for the big move from Dothan to Montgomery, AL. My mother was pretty vocal about the situation.... "I am not moving 16 dogs to a new house, we have to get rid of them," ....and so forth. Daddy didn't say too much about it.

So the end of April came and went, and the same with May. We were moving on June 3rd. 1966.

My Daddy always loved a party, and he decided to throw a going-away party for us and all of our friends... kids only! As the men were hauling boxes and furniture from the house to the moving van, the kids were all having hot dogs, chips, and six-ounce bottles of Coke on a huge blanket in the front yard surrounded by our friends.

The last box was loaded.... we were surrounded by all of our friends.... since I was nine, it meant most of the friends were nine, or a lot younger, depending on the brother or sister who had invited friends as well. Daddy asked for everyone to gather around.

"There is nothing nicer to remember people by than with a nice present" he said. "And I have a very special present for everyone here today!"

With that, he opened the front door of the house, reached in and pulled the big box full of puppies to the stoop and started passing them out to all of our visitors.

"One for you, and one for you, and one for you".... until there were none left. Some families were lucky and got two.

Mom is watching all of this, saying things like, "the parents are going to kill you Bill Hitchcock.... I won't be able to face them,'.... and a lot of other tiresome things.

Well the kids were just thrilled, Daddy packed us all in the car and we left following the moving van down the dirt road, waving to our friends, each holding a puppy.

I can just hear the exchanges when the kids got home.

"But Mommy, Mr. Hitchcock said we could have it."

"I don't care, take it back."

"But they moved a few minutes ago."

"Yeah, right, take it back".

And of course we had moved. And every puppy had a new home that night... my dad just smiled... and as it happened, not one parent in Dothan, AL was amused.