Friday, March 26, 2010
A Dog Named Boy
It was late May with only a couple of weeks of school being left. Back then, school didn't let out until the first week of June so if my memory serves me well this would've been the last week or so of May.
Spring had seemed to come rather early this particular year with the red buds and dogwoods blooming in late March. The early spring brought a heightened sense of excitement for me primarly owing to hearing my grandfather predict it was going to be a great fishing spring and summer.
It was near the noon hour, and with school being so close to being done I could've cared less about the next class. Besides, I had a surplus of credits so I decided to ditch the rest of the school day and have fun on Rock Creek.
On my way to the creek I met a perfect stranger in the shape and fashion of one cagey canine. With first glance I could tell that this mongrel was a king of the road type of dog with his be-shoveled and scroungy look. He seemed quite the friendly chap and as I spoke to him he revealed a peculiar trait. Upon saying hello to this dog he curled his top lip showing a toothy grin. In other words... this dog smiled upon being addressed or recognized. I've only seen a couple of dogs do that in my life and I believe this chap was the first.
Since I didn't know his name, or did he know mine, I decided to simply call him "Boy" because it was rather easy to see that he possessed the requirements of being male. He seemed to like the name Boy, giving another toothy grin, and as I started for the creek he was shadowing my every step.
At the creek there was a sandbar that I favored and this was my intended target. The near side of the sandbar was quite grown up with tall weeds and thickets and with the early spring the grasses and such had already greened. In a hurry I thrashed my way through this thicket to get to the clearing on the other side of the sandbar. However, once I reached the clear side I realized my hurried rush had brought trouble.
Suddenly feeling naked to the world; faint in the moment; I realized on this side of the sandbar I'd crossed a trio of snakes that were quite unhappy at my arrival. Now... I won't say they were water moccasins but I do believe they were from what my grandfather had taught me. They were thick, short-bodied snakes and quite agitated. I guess I interrupted a mating ritual or something... I don't know. What I do know is if they weren't water moccasins they were still some pretty darn pissed-off snakes.
One snake seemed more pissed-off than the other two and in a coiled and striking stance he started toward me and that's when Boy intervened. The dog's hair was as bristled and stiff as a porcupine's quill; his voice loud and panicked; teeth were gnashing as the saliva flew. Boy was quick too, suddenly lunging forward with the snake striking, then darting out as suddenly as he came forward. As Boy was battling the main snake I started chunking rocks, limbs, throwing sand, anything I could get my hands on at the other two. The battle seemed to rage a good five minutes but in all actuality... it probably lasted less than a minute. The snakes relinquished the sandbar where Boy and I stood victorious. My heart was in the throat beating like a warpath drum.
After this fray I didn't feel much like exploring the creek anymore. As far as I knew those snakes could've simply went in retreat planning their next assualt. Just upstream was a small falls and one side was completely dry. I patted Boy on the back to get him to settle down and follow me to the falls. At the falls I opened the lunch bag and took out that day's bologna, cheese, and mayo sandwich. I still remember how much Boy enjoyed his half of that sandwich and that was the least I could do for a fellow that'd just took up a fight for me.
Although I'd planned to ditch the rest of the school day I knew if I went home... Boy would follow, and there both of us would be standing in my grandfather's presence. I also knew grandfather's first question would be why I was home so early and secondly what was I doing with another stray dog. So, I decided to simply go back to school.
As I slowly walked back to the north side hallway of school, Boy followed my every step. I didn't have the heart to shew him away and figured once I disappeared he would once again take up his hobo ways. Standing at the door, I slowly opened it and stepped into the so-called halls of higher learning. I didn't dare look back at Boy.
I hope the dog went on with his traveling ways... being the tramp, but not a bum, he was. There's a big difference in a tramp and bum. Tramps travel and find ingenious ways to make it through life while bums are static and expect people to come to them with aid. Boy was a tramp, a happy tramp that smiled at strangers.
I hope he found a stranger somewhere on his travels that could give him a home or at least a long term friendship.