For some unexplainable reason I often seem to recall happenings, incidents, places and most of all, people from my past. Sometimes I find it hard to explain why and then other times it is not..
Some not only reappear, but some also stay. A few of those people seem to have found a room in my mind and have taken up permanent residency. Some can come to my mind while I am just drifting, driving along; others come back to me in the form of my dreams. For some reason I must dream a thousand times more than most folks.
The other day as I was driving home through a rural area after playing golf, I passed a farm house and saw an old dog in the yard; it was a beagle hound. Seeing that dog brought the memory of the night I “killed” a dog.
During most of my high school days I dated, “went steady with” was the term back then, with a girl that lived about ten miles from where I lived. She lived in the city, I in a small rural community. One of the cardinal rules of my youth was I had to be home from a date by midnight. Countless times in my youth I heard the old line, “There is no good out after midnight.” Often I would stay with my date as late as I could and then make my way home to be right there before Cinderella’s slipper would no longer fit.
Seeing this old dog in the yard, I recalled a memory from my teenage years. As I was driving home one night after being with my girlfriend, I was just a few miles from my house and unfortunately an old beagle hound’s timing was not good. He appeared in the middle of the road (Highway 41) at the same time my dad’s 1957 Chevy did. I was not driving fast or recklessly, but I hit the dog, and it was clear the dog did not have a chance. I had sent ole Shep on to glory. He was dead.
By the time I made it home I was crying. By the time I hit the steps to our back porch, I was crying harder. Once I was inside the house in our kitchen, my parents could hear me crying. Quickly they were up and in the kitchen asking, “What’s the matter? What’s happened?” All I could do for the moment was cry; sitting down, I put my head on the kitchen table and I sobbed.
I am sure it must have seemed like an eternity for my folks before they got any information from me as to why I was in such an emotional state. Thinking back years later after having three teenage children of my own, I realize all the things that must have been running through my parent’s mind. “Oh, what’s he done? What terrible thing has now happened?”
Finally I was able to settle enough to tell my folks what had taken place; that I had hit, and I was sure, I had killed this poor animal. Still to this day I can remember the look of relief on my Dad’s face when I announced what happened. He did not say these words but I am sure he must have thought, “Oh thank God, it was only a dog he hit.” By the way, my dad was a dog lover, so I am sure he was not insensitive to this canine’s blight, but it paled in comparison to what thoughts probably had circulated in his mind.
If you have ever raised teenagers and had them come home in various emotional states you probably have also gone to them with alarm, wondering, “Oh my, what has happened now?” Now I don’t mean to belittle the passing of a dog; I truly was bothered and upset with what had taken place. I am sure my parent’s thoughts were that far, far worse things could have been happening in the life of their teenage son. We all sat for a while longer, sympathizing over the passing of the dog and then we all went to bed.
I’m sure that night as my parents went back to bed they did so with a bit of a sigh of relief and the thought of, “Lord, we are sorry about the dog, but, oh my, thank you it was only a dog.” Many other worse things could have been going on in the life of their son.
Can you identify?
Right now if you are reading this with teenagers or younger children coming on, you might prepare yourself a bit. No, on second thought, there really isn’t much you can do to pepare for such. When your child comes home crying… be there to ask why, help them and give them love and support.
November 26, 2013