Josephine’s Journal, a newspaper column published in The Overton County News in Livingston, Tennessee, came about quite unexpectedly, and even though it may sound strange, the fact that it happened came as complete surprise to me.  It all began at a time when our extended family included two dogs and five cats, all of which, with the exception of one, were strays. One of the dogs, Gypsy, lived with us for about 18 years, and during that time, she led a quite pampered life in our home, not only because she was such a lovable dog, but also because of the extreme abuse she suffered wherever she lived before we took her in.
My writing career began when Gypsy became the victim of a senseless and what I believe was an intentional shooting that took place on December 15, 2001.  She was laying on our front porch after going outside to take care of her personal needs, when someone who had to be standing across the street from our home, shot her. Thank goodness she survived this vicious attack, which was the second time she had been shot.  I felt compelled that I must share Gypsy’s story for two reasons.  The first was that I know there are a lot of people who love their pets as much as we do, and secondly, I also hoped that just maybe the person or persons who did this terrible deed might read the story. When I took the story by the newspaper to ask if it could be published, I was told that my name would need to be included. I did not want my name to be included, and had almost decided just to forget the whole thing, when Rebecca Meredith Oliver, an employee at the newspaper, called to ask me if I might be able to think a pen name the story could be printed under. Immediately the name my younger brother, David McCormick, called me when we were growing up popped in my mind – Josephine Bundaberry. That name was used, and the story was published, for which there was a tremendous and completely unexpected response. Thus began a regular column that now includes sometimes historical stories of folks in and around the town of Livingston and surrounding communities, and also stories about ordinary people who might otherwise go unnoticed as they journey through life. Since beginning this hobby, I continue to be amazed at the number of people of stop me on the street or call me to let me know how much my stories are enjoyed. I am very appreciative of this totally unexpected interest. It still angers me to think about the senseless acts Gypsy endured, not once but twice, all because of some thoughtless and uncaring person or persons. However Josephine’s Journal came about from those two bad experiences, and for that I’m thankful. It still saddens me to say that after a good, long life with us, Gypsy died on April 9, 2006.  The last two or three of those years, her health had been steadily declining. It has gotten to the point she needed help in getting up, and just prior to her death, we carried her in and out of the house most of the time. The last day or two she lived, it was hard for her to stand for more than a few minutes at a time. An agonizing decision to have her put to sleep was made, and the veterinarian who looked after her all the years she lived with us, Dr. Donald Ragland, came to our home to take care of Gypsy one last time. His wife accompanied him for this task, and their presence in our home made it a little easier to let Gypsy go. We realize now that our reasons for keeping her alive as long as we did were entirely selfish, and that we should have let her go much sooner than we did. Just making the decision to say now is the time was so hard to do. Gypsy is buried in our yard, a place she loved to spend time in when her health was good.   Just as Gypsy’s arrival into our lives was unexpected, the same can be said about my writing, for which Gypsy, along with her friend, Big Dog, get all the credit.  Although Gypsy is no longer with us, we will always love her and will carry her memory in our hearts forever.

By Emily Sells