Dad and I took a break from the tension and unleashed the Charkstream for a dusky ride last night. A full moon was floating over the trees as we carved our way along the roads we usually find ourselves haunting on a night like this, and as usual, we found ourselves out in the river bottoms where Stevie and I were found.
Even though Halloween has came and gone, leaving in its wake the aftertaste of stale candy corn and the acrid smell of withering pumpkins, the Day of the Dead, or Remembrance, continues through the first days of November. It caused dad to reflect on another special dog that came out of the same area as myself, just many years earlier:
The rural area that has proven to be quite the dumping grounds for dogs over the years is behind the riverport industrial area east of town. Dad worked in the port at the time, not too far from a boat launch, a desolate place known as Outlaw Landing. It was aptly named, as a lot of questionable activity occurred there during all hours of the day and night, and eventually it was blocked off and finally bulldozed.
Someone told dad that a black dog had been abandoned at the landing, so he took a bag of Old Roy down into the bottoms to see what was what. Sure enough, amidst the clouds of mosquitos and the occasional cottonmouth laying in the stinking river mud, was a sociable girl on indeterminate ancestry. Jet black, with foxy ears and a tail that would NOT quit swishing the concrete of the boat ramp.
Dad left the whole bag of food as a down payment on a guilty conscience, and went home to pick up mom and the kids to go see an early movie. As they exited the theatre around sundown, a huge storm was brewing to the west, and all dad could think about was that dog and those mosquitos. And those snakes. And the impending storm. He surely didn’t need another dog. Besides, who in their right mind would think of taking their wife and kids to such a place as Outlaw Landing, even in the daytime, let alone at dusk?
Well, after a quick stop at the Casa to grab a pistol and a can of Deep Woods Off, to the Landing they went. The plan(in theory) was not to bring the dog home, but to use the insect repellent to provide some relief from the mosquitos; isn’t it interesting the lengths that we will go to justify our actions to ourselves?
They arrived at the river right at dark, but no dogs in distress seemed to be present until the headlights of the car illuminated a waving black tail apparently sticking straight out of the ground; Skinny Minnie had burrowed into a hole to escape the hordes of insects, and emerged fully packed and ready to take up residence at the Casa del Whackos.
During her tenure at the Casa, Skin Min had the same type of impact and prescence that Stevie would have years later, and was by far the happiest dog the Casa has ever hosted, at least until I came along, according to dad’s recounting.
So still we ride, in search of the next Skinny, or Stevie, or Max, or Beau, or Bultaco, or who knows what, or even who, is next? We might just find that the next life we save could very well be our own… “whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life shall find it.”