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Featured Article

The Dog Days of Childhood
















Twitching tufted tail
 YELP! ...above leaf rain patter
here, the dreams of dogs





















So many "tails" to tell...

As I write this, it's just before midnight, and to be honest I wish I could go to bed. It's been a long day. I drove down south with my two dogs to give Mom an early birthday present. I took Snoop, my nearly 19 year old beagle, and Kuma, my 9 year old Irish setter/golden retriever mix for a jaunt at my favorite park, Bush Pasture Park in Salem, Oregon. However, I cannot turn in yet because Kuma has managed to give himself, once again, a bladder infection. Something that happens at least 3 times a year. So now, every 15 to 45 minutes I have to take him down the hall to the elevator, down 15 floors, down all the way to the park across the street from my building. He lets me know when it's time by head butting the palm of my right hand so I can't touch the mouse. Great... I'll be right back...

...Okay. Where was I? Oh yeah, today's walk. As I strolled along one of the many wooded paths, Kuma chased squirrels with a reckless abandon that would have exhausted dogs half his age. He couldn't stop himself even if he wanted to. And woe it be to the hapless squirrel, either too slow or distracted, that allows itself to be caught. 

But, thankfully, none of that unpleasantness happened on today. Just a long leisurely walk on an unseasonably warm and perfectly clear March day. One of hundreds, maybe thousands, that have come before. Each one bringing echoes of the past, invading my mind whether I want them to or not. As we continue, I get whisked away within the Tardis of my imagination and suddenly, it's not Kuma strutting beside me anymore, it's any one of many old long lost friends that have come by for a visit. 

Even if only for a moment.

 









foot pads, worn, bleeding 
parched tongue dry as dessert sand
beside thee I stay















Toby, the small white poodle, in a play bow with Blenda ignoring her.


Linus (above) and Blenda (below) chillin' on the puke green shag. 

It was a magical time, those 70's, when I first came into the world. During this, the grooviest of ages, my family had three dogs: 

- A German Shepherd mutt named Blenda
- A basset hound named Linus 
- And a white miniature poodle named Toby. 

Picturing our times together through the fog of ages is now like seeing these occurrences through a rain blurred window. Colors fade. Details melt. But what does remain as clear as a Crystal Pepsi is the joy and love we shared. Fortunately for our story, there are still a few reasonably strong remembrances rattling around in my old noggin...

My earliest conscious memory is one of Toby standing by my Grandma's family room coffee table during my first birthday. Later that day, I also recall eating birthday cake with my fingers, some frosting fell onto the rim of my diaper, and when I picked it up, a dollop dropped on the floor and Toby inhaled it with the efficacy of tiny black hole. 

Later, when I was two, 
Stairway To Heaven played from a Sears console stereo while a small group of people hung out in our living room. As this occurred, I rode on Blenda's back like a horse. It was pretty late at night, or so it seemed, and everyone laughed when I fell off. The instant I hit the ground Linus stuck his cold wet nose on my cheek. 

Another time, again when I was two, Mom, for reasons which are still unclear, brought home a Doberman Pinscher. Almost predictably, the Doberman and Toby got into a serious fight, which lead to me going to my Grandma's, and Toby going to the emergency after-hours vet.

The violence stunned me, it was as sudden as it was explosively furious. Even to this day, many decades later, I can still hear echoes of the Doberman's snarling and Toby's high pitched shrieking. The incident stopped as quickly as it started, and the final mental image I carry from the whole affair is one of my Mom holding Toby, his left hip bleeding through shredded skin. 

Shortly after, the Tobster as we affectionately called him, was back home and going on our daily walks again. Mom and I would traverse, by foot, six city blocks to nearby Bush Park, the first park I can ever remember going to. A ninety acre kid's Shangri-La, filled with playgrounds, wooded trails, and a small river ideal for young legs or paws to wade. Part of the ritual was Mom carrying Linus back to the house because he was too tired to walk back on his own accord. 

The love for each member of this pack still resonates, but instinctively I was drawn to Blenda the most. She was special, smart, calm, and exceptionally intelligent... 

And there came a day when she may have even saved my life! 

Dun... Dun... Dun...


"Hi-ho Blenda! Away!" 

The first time I ever went to Bush Park alone, I was barely three years old, and I did so without my Mother's consent. It was late summer, and I kind of remember thinking  I wanted to swing on my favorite set and slide down a nearby slide. I believe I asked Mom if we could go, she blew me off, told me we'd leave later and to go play... or something... Anyway, it was unfortunate for her that no siren's song was as tempting as the thought of me jumping off those swings or burning my buns on that slide.

It seemed simple enough. After all I was three and it was time to start seeing a bit of the world on my own! In later years I learned that following rules has never been a personal strong point, and I knew how to get there because we'd worn a groove in the pavement we'd gone so many times.  All I had to do was just... leave. 

But first, I needed a faithful companion to accompany me on this perilous adventure. If not a parental unit, then it would have be another from our pack. Toby was too small and hyper. Linus, real sweet, but... Blenda was the only real choice, and even at this tender age I knew this to be the truth.

It was sometime in the early afternoon when Blenda and I trotted out the door... we didn't even have a leash!




Commercial St.


Liberty St. 


Would you want your three year old and unleashed dog walking through these intersections unaccompanied? 

I know that this is the way we went for a couple of reasons:

First, I can recall with reasonable clarity walking past a certain church at a very specific angle, which could only happen at one place, Myers Street. 

Second, I also know that once I made my first left and started heading directly toward the park, I didn't make any other turns. This was how Mom and I used to go, and I'm 99.999% sure it's how Blenda and I got to the park that day too. 

This is the actual swing set that lured me away from my house. I snapped this pic on my walk with Kuma today. To the best of my knowledge, it stands as the only original piece of playground equipment still surviving from my childhood. 

Other than the memory of the church, and my general sense of direction, the only other recollection I have of actually getting there is of holding Blenda's leather collar. Whatever the specifics, we arrived safe and sound.

Once Blenda and I reached the playground, I swung and swung to my heart's content and slid until I could slide no more. After a while I got thirsty, and drank from a nearby drinking fountain, before heading down a long cement trail that lead to yet another playground. 

Then, after an indeterminate 
amount of time, I trudged uphill along a racetrack designed for full sized derby cars. Here there is one incident, I do in fact, remember quite clearly...

Blenda pooped by the side of the path. 

Not all that momentous of an occasion, but after she had "dropped her puppies off in the park", I got down on all fours, and with my face hovering a mere inch above the still steaming pile, I completely emptied my lungs and took in a huge whiff. I offer no explanation as to why I did this, except that sometimes kids do the darndest things. 

Every so often I catch a very specific scent on the wind, and when it's just right, it'll take me right back to that moment.



This is the western half of  Bush Park.  I don't know why no one noticed that a little boy was wandering around unaccompanied. Guess they figured some other passer by was my guardian.

Eventually, I completed a circle and found myself back at the original playground with the coveted slide and swings. And while I was swinging, I saw a police cruiser slowly pass by on nearby High Street. It was mesmerizing, watching him pull over to the side of the road, park in front of the church, jump out of his car, and start walking my way! 

Again, it's the rain blurred window effect that I picture this through, but I know the cop was a man, white, and had short brown hair. He seemed big, but who doesn't when you're three? He was also wearing an all black uniform with full length pants and a short sleeved shirt. The conversation we had went something like this-

"What's your name?"
He asked.

"I'm... Ruespieler."
I somehow 
squeaked out, almost completely nonplussed.

"Is that your dog over there? The German Shepherd?"
He asked while pointing at Blenda who, in all this time, had never let me out of her sight.

"Uh-huh."

"Your mom's very worried about you. I'm going to take you home now, okay?"

"Okay."

He said something into his walkie-talkie, scooped me up in his arms, and carried me back to his cruiser. Blenda followed us on foot, still without a leash. 

When we got to the car, he let Blenda jump up into the back seat, and sat me down in the front. I can still see the diamond shaped protective metal mesh that separated the back of the car from the front. As I looked through those holes, the officer poured some water from a jug into a dish and let Blenda take a long, looooooooooooong drink. Once she had finally had her fill, he came to the front and started driving us home. 

I couldn't believe I was sitting in an actual police car! I must have been the luckiest boy alive! The bench seats were made of tan vinyl, and there was a CB radio which was the coolest thing ever. He even let me hold his white C.H.i.P.'s style helmet, and I stood up on the seat without a belt the whole way home.  

Once back at the house, I was looking out the passenger's side window, and I can still picture in perfect living detail what my Mother looked like at that exact moment. She was very young, much younger than I am now, and wearing a red tank top with faded blue bell-bottomed jeans, and sprinting towards the police car for all she was worth. She was crying and couldn't be bothered to open the car door so she pulled me though the already open window, scraping my skin and making me cry.

The last detail I recall from whole experience is looking over her shoulder, and watching as the officer let Blenda out of the back door of his prowler. She just trotted back into the house like she always did after our walks. 

Thanks Blenda. I really owe you one. I honestly don't know if I could have made it across those busy streets or avoided the "free candy" vans without you.

Blenda and me snoozin' in the back of Mom's VW bug.











My Master Fallen! 
teared eyes fill with bitter sands
BARK! BARK! Grrr!... "Oh crap!"
 















 
Hersh might have been playing a little too rough in my Grandma's backyard.


Me and Hershey sitting on the 70's version of Dad while eating a red delicious apple.

Hersh was fifty pounds of pure awesome. Technically not my dog, she belonged to my Aunt Mary and Uncle Dan. Maybe its because we grew up together, but Hershey and I were connected in a unfathomably deep, Call of the Wild type of sense. Oftentimes, on the weekends my Gram would serve as both a dog and babysitter for Hersh and I. From the nano-second we were in each others company, to the last possible instant our respective parents dragged us to our cars, we existed as a single entity.

I usually arrived at Gram's on Friday evenings, Hersh would already be there. The evening's meal typically came from Kentucky Fried Chicken, barbecued, with mashed potatoes and coleslaw. On the TV we'd watch The Incredible Hulk while we ate our dinner. Gram never let Hershey beg, but I always tossed a few bites in her 
direction when Gram wasn't looking. 

Hersh caught and swallowed the treats in one motion, her mouth snapping shut so hard it would have given Trap-Jaw a toothache. 

"I think I need to go see the dentist."

Later, as the night progressed, we'd watch the Love Boat and Fantasy Island while eating mint ice cream and/or Mr. Goodbars. Soon after the news came on at eleven, I'd get bored and fall asleep on the couch, Hersh right below me on the floor. Once I was out, Gram would go to the bedroom and turn on the electric blanket, a few minutes later she'd carry me to bed, the sheets already warm and toasty. 

I wasn't the only one who loved the heat of an electric blanket, Hersh always slept by my feet. She'd curl up into a little ball, and cozy up right next to my calves. Through the night, her snuggling gradually pushed me to the edge of the bed, so by morning I was forced to sleep on my side, because 98% of the mattress' usable surface was blocked off, the drafty floor hungry and waiting. 

At around eight-thirty the next morning, we'd spring out of bed together and watch Blackstar on CBS Saturday Supercade, while munching over-cooked Sizzlean with scrambled eggs and ketchup. Later, we'd play Frisbee at a nearby school, she could fetch like a champ and performed some pretty spectacular aerial maneuvers. As a reward I'd rub her rump, and her short stubby tail wagged so fast it took on the blur of fan blades set to high. 


'What is the meaning of life?'  

Every summer around the Fourth of July, Gram and I would spend a week together at the beach in Lincoln City, Oregon. We always stayed at the same hotel, and in the same room, #7 at the Nelscott Inn. It was a pretty nice place having two big bedrooms, a full kitchen, and was located on top of a ten-foot seawall that had a stairway on the far end leading directly onto a wide sandy beach and a nearby creek. While we were having our fun, Aunt Mary would usually come by for a visit, always bringing you know who... 

I think I was five when a large family containing a gaggle of older boys stayed in the room right next to ours. As I was playing on the beach by myself with my favorite Tonka 4x4 trucks, a bunch of those boys came down and started picking on me for some reason. To make a long story short, I ended up getting my butt kicked and sand shoved in my face. After my micro-beating, I ran back to our hotel room, told Mary, Mary told their parents, who then scolded their errant children. 

Fast forward a few hours, and I'm back on the beach playing with my trucks again, when those same kids approached me. The largest and oldest of them spat, "Hey pud! You're really gonna get it now. My mom yelled at me for twenty minutes you stupid little twerp." 

I didn't know it yet, but I had an ace in the hole. This time Hershey was with me, and as the bully reached for my shirt, Hersh lunged and snapped at his arm, causing that stupid kid to yank his hand away so fast it would have made the Flash do a double take.

"Grrrrrrr..." Hersh lowered her head and planted her feet, growling through barred teeth to show she meant business. That gang of miscreants scattered faster than a pool rack in a Paul Newman movie! I remember that big kid yelling, "Oh crap!" as he headed for the proverbial hills. 

After the incident, I always made sure to have Hershey with me at all times, and they were never able to bother me again. Hersh however, wasn't finished with them. In order for that same motley group to get back to their hotel room from the beach, they had to pass by our room via the top of the narrow cement sea wall. Every time they came by, Hershey growled, and they were forced to creep along the edge as they passed! 

Lucky for me those kids checked out the same day Mary took Hersh back home.

















withered frosted leaf,
crackled under prancing paws,
always short, our time


















Everybody gets the back to school blues. 

Little Sister was the first dog I ever raised from puppyhood. I got her a few days before Christmas vacation started, when she was just twelve weeks old. My Mother's friend's dog had given birth to an eight pup litter, and she'd asked Mom if we wanted one. 

We went over to their house one night, and I took a good gander at each of the new pups. I thought Sister was the prettiest, and her black muzzle, markings, and eyes reminded me a lot of Blenda. What cinched the deal was while she was chewing on my pinky with her sharp puppy teeth, she did so very gently and courteously. I knew then she'd be a good dog. Few weeks later, when it was time, she was back in my arms, but this time at my house. From the beginning we really were each other's best friend.

Holding your new pup in your arms, especially as a kid, is like having Christmas, the Fourth of July, and your birthday all rolled up into a squiggly, fuzzy ball of pure goodness right there in your hands. Our first few hours together were spent jumping around in the leaves in the backyard. She tore around in circles while I made loose leaf balls. When I threw them at her, they "exploded", and she jumped into the air while furiously snapping at all the flying foliage.

The first day was a blast, but that first night was a little rough. I had prepared a nice cardboard box for her to sleep in, equipped with blankets, water, and food. To make sure she was okay, I placed the whole thing right next to my bed. The plan was make her exhausted so she'd sleep through the night, but around 1 a.m. she started crying and whining. Turns out she had diarrhea and pooped in her box, something a dog will never do unless it has no choice. I took her outside and stood in the cold December night for about a twenty minutes before she settled down again. 

When I returned to the warmth of my room, I cleaned up the poop and replaced the bedding in the box. Back in she went, but forty-five minutes later she started whimpering again with surprise! ...more diarrhea. Again, I put on my clothes and let her out in the backyard. Again, I came back in, cleaned up her mess, gave her fresh bedding, then put her back in the box. 

About an hour later there was more crying and yet more poop. I was seriously beginning to wonder if this whole dog thing was worth it. After I let her out for the third time, I gave up, and decided to camp out on the living room couch with all my clothes on, ready for the next round. Of course then she didn't make a peep for the rest of the night. Mom still laughs when she thinks about the time when she got up and saw her young son fast asleep on the couch, still wearing all his clothes, holding a tiny and equally exhausted pup very early on a Saturday morning.

I'd be upset too if someone I didn't know tore my mother's tete from my mouth and dumped me into a big scary box all night...


That's my 11 year old body your looking at here, and the pup on the RIGHT with the black muzzle is Sister. The pup on the LEFT was Sister's bigger brother, Brutus Beefcake. We brought him home too when we got Sister, and he got the name because had a white bow-tie mark on his chest, which kinda looked like the costume of the famous WWF wrestler of the same name. This shot was taken within a couple of days of bringing them home, and a few weeks later we gave Brutus to a nice woman on a farm. Honestly, I have no idea why.

Sister got her name because I was an only child at the time, and Mom told me that she could be my Little Sister. The name stuck.

Being very vocal, Sis sometimes used to "pronounce" words. One morning when my good friend Jay and I were sleeping, she performed an early morning yawn that sounded like someone with a really high pitched voice saying, "gooood moooorniiiiiing!" She said it loud enough so that it woke both of us up. 

"Did you hear that, dude?" Jay asked.

"Yeah, I thought it was you."

"Dude! Me too!" 

We both looked at Sis who was laying on the floor, eyes still closed, smacking her lips contentedly. I'm still in contact with Jay, and every once in a while, one of us will say "gooood moooorniiiiiing!" just like Little Sister did that one time way back when...

Sis also had real talent for passing gas, in both categories, but to her credit her farts rarely stank. She also used to sleep with me on my king sized water bed, and sometimes I'd wake up and she'd be under the covers with her head on the empty half of my pillow, just like a furry human. 

Once freed from my daily captivity at elementary school, the first thing I did was grab a basketball and go shoot hoops at the nearby park. This ritual lasted for years, and practically everyday the weather permitted, I was playing pick up games with the other neighborhood kids. Sis was right by my side every time. She never needed a leash, and I didn't have to worry about her going anywhere. Only once did she ever leave the park without my permission, but she wasn't that far away and came right back when I called her name. 

If I wasn't shooting hoops, then I was at the playground, and Sis was always next to me joining in the fun. She loved nothing better then to run crazy over the equipment, only the swings being forbidden for physiological reasons. 

Her favorite was this slide...


"Kowabunga!" 



Sister was the all time grand-champion on this thing. My friends and I would take turns trying to shake her off. The times we were actually successful could be counted on one hand.

A few months after I turned twelve, my real sister was born. The transition from being an only child to being an "older brother" went down about as smoothly as a shot from a three-cent bottle of tequila. I couldn't comprehend my new role, and that things would never be the same again. It pissed me off, quite frankly. I needed to blow off copious amounts of steam, and I had just the thing sitting in my closet to do it.

Every year, a week or two before the Fourth of July, my Dad would go north to Washington where they had better fireworks for sale. He used to come back with three or four paper grocery bags full of illegal incendiary devices. Six foot firecracker chains, M-80's, bottle rockets, super bottle rockets, Roman candles, Glow-Bees, Golf Balls... you name it, if it flew, shot fireballs, or exploded it was in one of those sacks. I always made sure to take a decent sized portion of this flammable booty and set it aside for a rainy day.

The proverbial rain was pouring pretty hard in early December, about six weeks after my other sister was born. And it was with this rage in my heart, that I finally decided to dip into my stash of fireworks. I wasn't alone, and had two good friends, brothers Kenny and Kevin, to help me out. We went to the neighborhood park carrying two paper sacks filled to the brim with an arsenal consisting of something like...



What started off as me and a couple of buddies casually popping off some bottle rockets in a secluded corner of the park, ended up being 20 or 30 kids in two pronounced groups reenacting the Apocalypse Now beach landing on the playground and some nearby trees. It was beautiful, man!

The parents of the innocent children who were also playing on the playground had a differing opinion. One Angry Mom completely lost it, and went on a furious tirade, yelling at everyone. After a minute or two, she singled me out, and started going off on your's truly in a rather personal and profane attack.

I can't remember what she said exactly, but I snapped. I loaded my trusty End of Days mortar with two shells simultaneously. I twisted the long fuses together then then lit them, pointing the business end in her direction. I should have yelled "fore!" ...but I didn't. 

Since I loaded two shells at once, something that is not recommended by the manufacturer, the first one didn't build up enough speed, and just sort of fizzled out, bouncing in the grass a couple of times before coming to a rest right next to the Angry Mom's feet! 

BOOM!!! 

She made this weird shrieking sound as sparks and red fireballs swarmed all around her flailing flesh. Performing a classic "drop, duck and cover", she hit to the dirt and rolled around for a minute. After the flames were gone, she jumped to her feet and did a quick self examination to make sure she wasn't injured or still on fire. Once she realized she was okay, her formidable gaze fell upon me. 

"You little jerk! I'm calling the cops!" As she stormed off,  the words detonated like a 50 megaton explosion, putting an immediate end to our fun.

Looking back, if I had been in the Angry Mom's position, I would have been beating someone's little buns! However, I wasn't in my normal frame of mind that day, and to my defense I never consciously tried to hit her. I just got lucky.

She meant what she said about calling the cops too! They were there in the square root of a nanosecond. Fortunately when they arrived on scene, they parked their cruisers more than a football field's distance away from where I was. So it was easy to give them the slip while twenty other kids did the same. 

When I got home, I knew I was screwed. It was only a matter of time before the police figured out what had happened, who was responsible, and where that particular responsible party lived.

"Why don't we just run away." It was Kenny who proposed the idea. 

At the time it seemed like the greatest idea ever! I wouldn't get in trouble later when the cops came a knockin', and as an added perk no more school either! My parents had my new sister now, they didn't need me anymore. I was outta here.

I had about $50 dollars saved up in a sock full of change, so I grabbed that first. I also filled a backpack with some clothes, blankets, a medium sized pan, and a few cans of Chef Boyardee ravioli with some plastic forks. Also crucial was a big stack of Wizard and Warrior books with some Choose Your Own Adventures thrown in. 

Kenny and Kevin went to their house to get the same kinds of stuff. When they came back, they reported that there were three police cars at the park, and uniformed cops were talking to the Angry Mom! 

"Let's get outta here before they figure out what happened and come here!" 

Sounded good to me. The last question we had before we left was whether or not to take Sister.

I suggested, "She's young, maybe she could help catch some food." 

And that, as they say, was that. I didn't leave a note. I figured my parents would catch on sooner or later. I'd call them in a week or two and let them know I was okay. I grabbed Sister's leash, filled a plastic bag full of her dry food and snatched a metal water bowl. 

Then Kevin, Kenny, Sister, and I all skipped out the door like we were on our own private yellow brick road...



The four of us walked almost five miles to a large, heavily forested park which ran along the Willamette River. Along the way we strolled through Bush Park, and stole a shopping cart from Payless to load with our stuff. Later, on the bridge that crosses the Willamette,  Sister had a close call with a fast moving pickup because we were walking along the shoulder of a busy highway that was not meant for pedestrians to be. 

Once we finally got to the park, foot sore and more than a little bit worn out, we wheeled our cart along the river's shore until we came to a nicely wooded and secluded area.

"What about here guys?" I asked, my shoulders aching from pushing the cart.

"I think we're far enough in so that no one will bug us." One of the brothers said.

"Me too." With that I let my weary arms drop. "What now?"

What ended up happening was we took off all our clothes, down to our tighty-whiteys, and jumped into the freezing Willamette River. The sun was already down, and little of it's light or warmth remained. The water was so cold. But nothing could stop us as we rejoiced in our new found freedom.

"Yeah man, this is going to be g-g-great. No one t-t-telling us what to d-d-do anymore, we'll all be brothers from now on." Kenny said, shivering, as he splashed me with water so cold it would have given Iceman hypothermia. 

I managed to splash him back worse than what he gave me. "Yeah, b-b-brothers."

We could only stand to be in the water for a few short minutes. Sister performed her usual trick where she'd only go into the water deep enough to touch her chest, then bark non stop at anyone who dared to go any further than her.

Once we climbed out, we were numb to the bone. We dressed in a hurry, which slowly helped us get somewhat warm again, and then gathered some paper and small pieces of wood to make a fire. 

Once we had a nice little pile going, I rubbed my hands together while asking, "Okay guys, who brought the lighter?" 

"I dunno." Kenny said as he shrugged his shoulders. "Thought you did Kev?"

"Nope." Kevin didn't even look up. 

I was undeterred, "Great. I lost the only one I had at the park." My stomach started to growl, "Now, which one of you jokers brought a can opener?"

Both of the brothers just shrugged. 

As night set in, the surrounding woods were transformed from pleasant greens and browns to being as dark as Darth Vader's helmet in a blackout. 

With nothing more to do, we decided to try and go to sleep. So we cleared out a space on the ground, and since no one had a tent, we laid out our blankets in the soft wet earth. I tried laying down, it was damp and filthy. Sister was right next to me and when I reached over to comfort her, she was shivering.

That was the last straw. "Okay guys. Let's go home." 

No one put up a fight. 

We had held out all the way until about 7:30 p.m. when I said those words. We gathered up our stuff, put it in the Payless cart, and started our long, LONG trek back home. As we walked out of the park and back onto the roads, we were all very quiet. All I could think about was that by now, my parents had heard about my antics with the fireworks earlier in the day. I knew my only hope of seeing another sunrise was that they would be so glad I was alive it would supersede their urge to kill me.

It was almost nine p.m., and we had walked nearly the whole way back home, when mercifully, a police car finally saw us and pulled over. He asked us a few questions about who we were and where we were going. We all answered truthfully, too tired and defeated to resist. After a few moments another police car showed up, Kenny and Kevin piled up their stuff in the back and were soon gone to meet their respective fates. 

For the second time in my life, I had run away, and also for a second time, the end result was me and my dog being loaded up into a police car and taken home. 

 That ride was an eternity unto itself, but I wasn't scared, I just wanted to get this day over with and let the chips fall where they may. At my house there were two more police cruisers parked out front, predictably Dad was furious and Mom was crying. 

The police asked some questions about why I ran away, asked if I was abused by my parents. I told them that I wasn't mistreated in anyway, and I was "just frustrated" with my new circumstance. They warned that if I ever pulled any stunts like this again, they'd be happy to haul me in front of a judge to really face the music. I also had to write a letter of apology to the Angry Mom. Seemed like more than a fair deal to me. 

It took about another hour before everyone finally left. Dad went in his bedroom, shut the door, and didn't come out the rest of the night. When he did emerge the next afternoon, we had a long, long talk. I still got grounded for a month, two weeks of that confined in my room where I could only leave to eat, go to school, walk Sister,  and go to the bathroom. That's it.

In my mind, it was a small price to pay for clearing out the air. Besides, all the time at home allowed me to get to know my other sis a little bit, and maybe she was kind of cute after all.

That was also the last year Dad ever brought home illegal fireworks. Like I would have ever done anything like that again. 









Mmmmmm... I smell bacon!
A stranger's yell, "This your dog?"
"She's a little Snoop!"










This is Snoop, a.k.a. "Mama-sama". She's going be 19 this year! She just keeps getting whiter and whiter, and people ask now if she's albino all the time. She has cataracts which make her eyes very sensitive to light, but I think she looks great in her shades. 


And this is Kuma, a.k.a. "Mr. Toons". I adopted him when he was three from a local shelter. He'd had a bit of rough road before coming home with me. Seems to have gotten over it though. We had a good walk today, another for the list. Now, if only his bladder infection would go away so I can sleep. 






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vkimo Posted on Mar 31, 2015 at 12:45 AM

I've literally been reading this article like a novel since it was published this morning. And I'm kind of bummed now that I finished it, could of read more of your stories for weeks.

"Picturing our times together through the fog of ages is now like seeing these occurrences through a rain blurred window. Colors fade. Details melt. But what does remain as clear as a Crystal Pepsi is the joy and love we shared."

Now that's just great writing. I love the narrative and your detail. The maps made the read so much more engaging. I can't believe you and your buds walked that long of a distance.

Hersh seems like such an awesome dog. I'd love to have a canine companion like that. Too bad he didn't leave one of those kids thumbless! Also, kudos to nailing the annoying mom, must have felt
good. I wish I had half the gall you did, seems like the Five O knew you by name haha

TU #8 I have a feeling this contest just turned into a race for 2nd place..

Ruespieler Posted on Mar 30, 2015 at 04:56 PM

Thanks vape for taking care of that issue so quickly!

Anyway, I'm glad you mentioned that the piece took you back to your own childhood pets. That's exactly what I wanted, to transport the reader back into the TARDIS of their own imaginations, but in a positive way. To remember the times that were good, so to speak. It's why I didn't "Old Yeller" you.

Yeah runnin' away, it's a great idea for about two hours. Learned right then and there that, even on the worst days, home ain't such a bad place to be.

Vaporman87 Posted on Mar 30, 2015 at 04:40 PM

Oh yeah, also I loved the part of the story where you guys ran away from home! So typical for kids in those days. Running away... for like a couple of hours. Then realizing it's pretty much pointless and heading home to face the consequences. I thought maybe the whole thing was going to end up blowing over, and you would never have had to face it. Not so though. Lesson learned, anyway.

Vaporman87 Posted on Mar 30, 2015 at 04:24 PM

Such an awesome and epic read. I was reminded so much of the dogs of my youth. My first dog was named King, and though I don't recall what type he was, I do know he was about the size of a wiener dog and was black and brown.

The next dog I owned was the most special to me. Suzie was a Norwegian Elk Hound. She had that characteristic curled up tail and long fur... grey and black in color. We had her from the time she was a puppy, until I was forced to move from the house I grew up in because of my mom and dad's divorce and her deciding to move to another town. She ended up at my cousin's house where I would occasionally visit her. I have video of one of those visits to remember her with. She was very special to me. I even wrote a song about her when I was young. LOL. I miss that dog.

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