May I introduce you to Bully Belle?
Bully Belle is a Mississippi State University Bulldawg. At MSU, we spell dog differently which is “dawg.” She has personality and lives her life every day as a whimsical and free-spirited real person/dawg. She adores and wears only MSU colors, maroon and white. She dresses fashionably. She’s styling.
Where did she get her special name? Years ago, MSU decided that Bully, our mascot, was lonesome out on the football field, basketball court, baseball and softball fields, and all our MSU sporting events of tennis, track, soccer, and rugby. He needed a girlfriend. Bully Belle was conceived and born and became a second mascot along with Bully. It is 2011, and according to our MSU records in the registrar’s this year including all of our MSU campuses we have 9,920 registered girls as students. The student body, at 20,000 students, is split 50/50 between males and females. Gosh, we have “come a long way baby!” My MSU college years of 1960-1964 I was often the only girl in my entire class. When I dropped my pencil it was quickly picked up and handed right back to me. You might say I thought I was “queen” of those classes.
I can see Bully Belle in her sassy, maroon and white, short cheerleader’s skirt, a maroon shirt, and a frilly maroon and white bow tied to one of her ears. She was a doll of a dawg. She would walk around blinking her long eyelashes as she flirted with Bully and became his pal. She was indeed most feminine. She was always his date especially on Saturday afternoon football games on the green Davis Wade football field. They were such a cute couple. Suddenly, Bully Belle disappeared. Where did she go? Did she find another bulldawg boyfriend? Personally I think Bully Belle should be found, dusted off, revived in 2011 to represent half of our MSU population of students, our female population, co-eds. Come on 9,920 MSU female students, let’s get Bully Belle back on the fields and courts of MSU to be our second mascot joining our number one mascot Bully. He misses his girlfriend, and we desperately need Bully Belle back to add the spice of life to our sporting events. Where are you, Bully Belle?
On Sept. 18, long before day light about 5:15 a.m. while picking up Starkville Daily News from the brick walk outside in our front yard, I twisted my left ankle. It was dark, but I had the porch light turned on. Suddenly, out of nowhere I heard a man’s voice,” Hold up”. He was walking his dog with tall legs as he turned down Wood Street. We live at 501 Louisville Street which is on the corner of Wood and Louisville Streets. I became frightened, and and made a quick turn with my left foot falling and slipping into the side of the brick walk. The unknown walker and his dog disappeared walking further down Wood Street. I felt nauseated, and limped down our drive way to our back door, screaming, “Frank, help me, I have had an accident!” My sweet husband of 47 years came immediately to my rescue. It did not begin swelling until Monday when we went on to the Oktibbeha County Emergency Room, and Tuesday to the Mississippi Bone and Joint Clinic on Hospital Road across the street from OCH to see Dr. Allen Butler, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon. “Carole, you have a hairline Fracture, and I am going to put a cast on your left leg for six weeks. Allen’s instructions were, “Behave yourself! If you know me, I walk and talk very fast. I am active and busy all day long. “Behave myself” was going to be difficult. Six weeks was a lifetime. What would I do to survive? I waved goodbye to Maggie Fair, Nurse Practioner, Brian Tehan and Kayla Lummus, technicians, Crystal Chapman, doctor’s assistant, and Regina Shumaker, the Receptionist. I was to return in three weeks.
Well, I created, designed, and gave birth to Cup-Cake. She had a hot pink leg cast with huge black moveable eyes, a multicolored pug nose, happy red lipstick on her smiling lips, and a lime green and bright yellow bow tie around her neck. Cup-Cake came to life as a real person on my chosen color of this hot pink leg cast. I loved her. She had to removed on Oct. 11 to be replaced by a real maroon colored leg cast. Now, Cup-Cake was cut into two pieces to get her off my left leg with a handheld buzz saw.I glued her back together again, and she now lives sitting on the hardwood floor of my downstairs sunroom/art studio. She is now a piece of treasured art work with a colorful hat on the tip top of her head. I miss her on my left leg, but she winks at me daily as I pass right by her, and look down at her smiling face. She is part of my past life.
My left leg is now maroon, and I have a brand new girl friend, Miss Bully Belle. She will stick with me through thick and thin for the next three weeks until Nov. 1. She will hobble along with me every minute of my waking moments. She even spends the night every night with me as my sleep over friend. She is my hobbling buddy. I am stuck with her, and she is stuck with me.Together we are going to say over and over again, “Life isn’t about waiting until the storm passes, its about learning to dance in the rain.” Together, we are going to live only one day at a time, and we are going to accept, enjoy, create, and have fun today.
On Oct. 11, I called my good and dear friend, Will Sabin, age thirty, to come over to help me glue and create Bully Belle. After all I needed someone talented with his hands to help me glue with wood glue and super glue Bully Belle on my left leg. It would be awkward and difficult to do this by myself. Thank you, Will, for coming to my rescue, and I appreciate what you did very much. I also appreciate MSU co-ed Cayla Boyd for helping with a photography design for me, too. Thanks, Cayla.
Let’s look at Bully Belle. Her face is a real painting I did years ago of Bully who is a piece of sculpture created by the very first MSU Head of the Art Department, Mr. Leonard Farley. Bully lives right by the Colvard Student Center in the middle of our MSU campus. One early spring morning, I went out to Colvard to paint Bully’s portrait. So Bully was transformed in my own imagination now as Bully Belle for me on my left leg. She is so pretty with her turquoise eyes and a typical serious expression of a Bulldawg. Her pug nose is cute, and so are her floppy ears. Her coloring is brown, black, and white. She has mixed colors of coppers, golds, and silver as the sunlight hopped and played around and on the sculpture all morning and into the early afternoon which was caught on my canvas. I got her enlarged to fit my leg perfectly, and I had her laminated to withstand the next three weeks ahead.
Bully Belle needed a dog collar. She got a gray collar with Mississippi State University written on it, and, of course, a white cowbell with a maroon dawg print on it. A cowbell is our traditional noisemaker after a touch down at a football game and all of our sporting events. We love our cowbells. She rings with every step I take. You might say she is rather noisy. Ring, ring, ring. We are learning to ring responsibly at MSU.
Find her two maroon duct-taped floppy ears. They are poking out from her face with two tiny dangling white cowbell earrings. Their ring is a softer sound, like dingle, dingle, dingle. Find the fluffy bow on the side and the top of her head. It is black and white polka-a-dotted ribbon, mixed with maroon and white polka-a-dotted ribbon, solid maroon, white, and black curled ribbons give Bully Belle her special touch of being the princess dawg of MSU.
I’m stuck with you, and you are stuck with me.
Let’s accept what happened three weeks ago, a freak accident in my own front yard, with a smile on our lips and determination in our hearts to round ‘em up, move ‘em out, and go on with living.
I love you, Bully Belle. She’s styling.
Carole Elizabeth McReynolds Davis a local artist. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org .