Monday, October 16, 2006

There's No Dog

The door swung open violently and the children came in shouting “A big dog is killing the beagle!”.

I followed the kids into the back yard where the large dog had the little female by the throat. The Doberman was focused on the Beagle and was oblivious to my approach. I twisted my right wrist and slipped two fingers through the dog’s choker chain, placed my left hand around his muzzle, untwisted my wrist and lifted. I expected the Doberman immediately to release the Beagle but he held on and I found myself holding both dogs off the ground. The stand-off didn’t last long. The Doberman dropped the Beagle who hit the ground, jumped up and sank her teeth into the Doberman’s haunch. Once again I was holding the weight of both dogs as the Beagle held on and her feet swung above the ground.

This was an insignificant and forgettable experience and I would never have recalled it had my son not recounted the experience to a friend. As he finished the story I overheard him say with pride “There’s no dog that will stand against my Dad”.

I’ve received some awards over the years and I always said thank you and pitched them in the trash as soon as I arrived home. I’ve heard words of praise from co-workers but I always took them with a small grain of cynicism. Awards and words of praise mean nothing compared to my children’s opinions. I basked in my son’s words. It felt good to know that he felt safe and secure because of me.

My son put me on a pedestal and kept me there for several years. Then he entered his middle teens and he began to rock the pedestal. I joined him in his efforts and by his late teens we had destroyed the pedestal and I became anathema to him. We tossed his youthful words of admiration onto the trash heap and we buried them under harsh and unloving words and the years crept by.

Life is never static and hope weathers many storms. Somehow, together, we pulled those words from the pile. The pedestal? We left it on the trash heap were it belongs. Today, we look at one another on the same level -- eye to eye -- as men should. The harsh and unloving words? We exercised that special human ability of selective memory and left them behind.

Things are not as I wish them to be. He lives many miles from me and we see each other every year or two for a few days. We haven't been fishing or floated the river squirrel hunting in over fiften years and I miss those times. Occasionally, during the long periods between visits, I reach back into my memory and relive that brief experience and once again I hear his boyish voice say “There’s no dog that will stand against my Dad”.

We've made flight reservations and we'll spend a few days with my son and daughter at Christmas. Life is good when I enjoy memories and look to the future with anticipation.


Blogger Buffalo said...

And that is a very good thing.

10/16/2006 02:38:00 PM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

I very thankful that we were able to move to the same town as half of our kids.

10/17/2006 11:00:00 PM  

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