I knew i was addicted

 

Summers were fun for us as kids. We used to go boating all the time. It seemed like we went every weekend. We had an old red and white boat. It was small, but it did the job. We didn’t know any different. It was a ski boat, not a fishing boat. Dad liked to boat and swim and ski. He was a very good water skier. He used to be able to ski with my sister on his shoulders. I don’t recall witnessing this, so maybe it isn’t true. But I always remember hearing it. He tried to teach me to ski. I was terrible. I couldn’t get up. I tried and tried and tried. The next day, I had solid bruises down my thighs. It looked like someone tortured me. It was true. It was called a ski rope. I was so mad I couldn’t ski. I never ever tried again. 

Almost every single time after swimming we got to stop at the A&W and get root beer. Dad got a big mug and we got the little baby frosted mugs. Ice cold. I can still taste it and smell it. The car hop brought the tray out and hooked it onto your car using the window slot. They had kind of a rubber kind of tray liner on the trays. I guess people spilled a lot. Sometimes we would get food too. A hamburger or a hot dog, along with some french fries. Their food was good and the root beer was so refreshing after hours of being out in the sun. It was the highlight of the outing. 

Another thing was good too. I thought about it during the all-afternoon outings. I couldn’t wait to get home. I couldn’t wait to smell the lit match. I couldn’t wait to get that hit of smoke from the cigarette. Something about being in the water all afternoon made me want it. Anyone who has ever been addicted you know what I’m talking about. That initial hit. That immediate calm. That immediate relaxation. That immediate satisfaction. It’s not just cigarettes. This is true for anything that one can become addicted to. Drugs, alcohol, even food. You know how it is. You think it about it. You think about it a lot. You especially think about it when it gets closer and closer to the time you can have it. You actually get a little anxious. You actually get a little excited. It is such a crazy thing to think how we are wired. 

Here is the really crazy part. I was ten years old. How can a ten year old feel this? How can a ten year old even know or comprehend this. I knew I was addicted. I knew I needed to stop. It wasn’t like I was a pack a day smoker or anything, but I was getting hooked. I would take one here and one there from the parents. Not enough that they would ever be able to tell. The hooks were digging in. The hands were wrapping around me tighter and tighter. The smoky rope was tying me up. It was holding me hostage. It was real. The addiction was real. It was scary to think about it.

At that point in time my ten year old brain was realizing that smoking was bad,  that smoking was not cool. It wasn’t good for my body. I turned it around. I stopped. I had to. I didn’t want to be addicted to cigarettes. I didn’t want to stink like smoke. I stopped then and there. 

To think about it now, it’s ridiculous. It actually disgusts me. I am so glad I was able to break away from the addiction. But ten years old!!! WTF!!! It came back again as an adult and I kicked it again. It is getting close to 20 years smoke free. I will stay smoke free the rest of my life. 

scars

I wasn’t sure why it happened. I didn’t know what I did wrong. I didn’t know why he picked me. I was in second or third grade. It was the Euclid house. It happened at least twice a week. 

My walk home path from school was to leave the school through the front doors, take a left to the corner of Central, walk up Central to Oak and then take Oak the rest of the way until I came to Euclid. Sometimes I would cut through the alley by Branch Wolf’s house, if I wanted to get home sooner, about one minute sooner. Otherwise I would hit the corner and walk the rest of way on Euclid. Sometimes I would dawdle and play along the way. A typical kid. 

Sometimes I would walk really slow, because I knew what was coming. I don’t know why I wasn’t smart enough to take a different route home. But, looking back, maybe I just didn’t know how to go another way. Once a route is presented to a child, the child tends to stick to what they are told to do. Deviation comes with consequences. I walked super slow hoping they would not be there. I kept looking, trying to see if they were there. I couldn’t tell. 

I would get to the corner of Oak and Grand. The corner house. The tall, tall lilac bushes separated the sidewalk and the yard. I was walking by. Then it happened. Two older boys jumped out of the bushes and started hitting me. They knocked me to the ground and kicked me and hit me. Then they ran off. The whole episode lasted maybe 30 seconds. Those 30 seconds felt like forever. Everything on the ground, my books and me. I stayed there waiting. Waiting for them to leave, hoping they would leave. I stayed there until I could not hear their laughter anymore. I stayed there until it was safe to get up. I cried and ran home.

There was no-one  to tell, or I just didn’t tell anyone. I don’t remember telling anyone at all. I don’t remember if they threatened me if I told on them or what. I just don’t remember. I remember the name of one of them. The other I don’t. The one I remember grew up to be a nice guy, I guess. 

I dreaded the walk home. Never knowing if it was going to happen. It was kind of like a game. A cat and mouse game, only I was the mouse. At least two days a week I was the mouse. I was the one being bullied. I was the one who got picked on. 

I still can’t figure out what I did that would prompt them to beat me up. They were 5th or 6th graders. I hate that I remember this. Why wouldn’t I just forget. Chalk it up to childhood stuff. Childhood things that really don’t mean anything. Just things. Just childhood things. But it was childhood things that I remember. Childhood things that scar. Childhood things that fade, but never go completely away. 

I think that is why I stood up for kids who got picked on. A few years after this, there was a kid at school who got teased all the time. He was in the special ed class. His name was Greg. He was picked on constantly. I hated to watch. I couldn’t stand it. I remember protecting him. I remember telling them to stop picking on him. I felt so bad for him. I bet he cried every single day. He just wanted to belong. He just wanted to have fun. He just wanted to fit in. 

I wonder where he is now…

I wonder where the cats are now…

The smell of a memory

I took the dropper out of the bottle. The bottle was dark brown with a white label. I put half a dropper full in the palm of my hand. I gently rubbed my hands together and then applied the oil to my face. I was immediately hit with the smell. What is that? I wondered. It was so familiar. I kept smelling it trying to bring the memory back. I looked like a huffer, standing in my bathroom, inhaling the smell over and over again. Ahh, there it was, the memory.

I was back in the Euclid house. I was back to my sister, Wendy’s, paint by number kits. The faces with the big hats and droopy eyes. Very detailed. The little plastic containers of paint with the corresponding numbers were all hooked together by plastic, like a plastic chain gang. The brushes were small and low quality. The cardboard paint board had the numbers all over the board. The canvas was approximately 8×11 in size and had light blue ink. Hours spent on each master piece. Hours spent on the creation. Hoping it looked “real.” Hoping it looked like you actually painted it yourself. Free hand, not line and number hand. Wondering if you could frame it and hang it up in the house. Could it be that real looking? Could it be that good? Hell no! Not even close. 

Wendy did a good job with her paintings. Me, not so much. I couldn’t stay in the lines to save my life. I had to be careful with the paint. It’s like paining your toenails or fingernails. You think you are being super careful and then you get the big ass giant blob of paint on the first stroke and no matter what you try to do to fix it, it doesn’t work. Polish all over the place, same with the paint. I would get so frustrated. Patience didn’t exist for me then. I had a little temper, or stubbornness, take your pick. They are pretty much the same. 

Those kits provided hours of learning and hours of spending time on a craft, even if it was cheating using the numbers to create a painting.  Hours spent learning patience. Hours spent learning the art of patience. I wonder who invented them. What a great idea it was, and a moneymaker no doubt. I always remember Wendy doing stuff like that. She was always sketching in notebooks too. She was creative. She still is. I am so glad we had the opportunity as kids to do those kinds of things. We were lucky. 

The oil I was busy huffing trying to bring back the memory was Rosehip Seed Oil. I wonder if it was a base for the paints. It is so weird though every time I smell it now that is the only thing I can think of. 

It is so interesting how so many memories came alive from just a smell. Life is curious and life is crazy sometimes. 

kid lessons

The scar was small, but wide in the middle. It was about an inch long, left leg, upper thigh. It was faint, yet the memories remained as if it happened yesterday. 

It was the Euclid house. I was around 8 years old. My sister, Wendy, was about 12. I remember the timeframe clearly because it was around the time she had gotten her tonsils out and had been in severe pain. She didn’t recover well. Probably because I stole her Aspergum. The gum she was supposed to chew to relieve the pain in her throat from the tonsils being ripped out. I felt bad. The Aspergum was good though. I liked the orange better than the cherry. 

Everyone was watching TV. I snuck into the bathroom. There it was on the side of the bathtub looking innocent and harmless. I thought it was cool looking. I wondered why I didn’t get to use it and my sister did. It wasn’t fair. She got to do everything. She got to have fun all the time. I didn’t care she was older and possibly, just maybe, that’s why. 

I kept looking at it, contemplating, wondering. I wasn’t sure how to use it. Which way was the right way? I couldn’t tell. I picked it up and looked at it some more. I put my foot up on the bathtub and stood there like I was Captain Morgan. I looked at it again. I held it in my right hand. I was going to do it. I was going to shave my legs. Why should Wendy have all the fun? Because blood everywhere. That’s why. 

Razor in right hand. I didn’t know how to use it. I started about mid thigh and swiped down. Oh no. Everyone knows you swipe up, idiot. I felt the pain go through my body from my toes to the top of my head. The warmth. Then the white. The pain. The blood. The hole in my leg. I knew I was in trouble. I didn’t know what to do. The bleeding would not stop. 

I put the razor back on the tub. I was starting to panic. How was I going to hide what I had just done? I grabbed a t-shirt and tied it around my leg like a tourniquet. I walked back out to the living room and got in the chair. I acted like nothing had happened. I acted innocent, because I was. HA! NOT!

My leg hurt so bad. It was still bleeding and the hole was gaping open. Dad asked me what happened to my leg. I told him nothing. I think mom had been in the kitchen and then peeked in and saw the tourniquet. She asked me what happened. I told her I tried to shave. She went back in the kitchen. 

The scab was horrendous, once it started to heal. Thick and crusty. Disgusting. The constant reminder that I didn’t know what I was doing and that I probably should have quit acting like I did. 

The lesson. The life lesson. The scars of childhood mistakes and mysteries. 

 

would you like some fresh apricots?

I got a message today. “Morning neighbor…would you like some fresh apricots :)” Of course I would. We love apricots. The message was from Mary Jo. She and her husband and daughter live in the Asbury house. The log house. The house Sandy was living in when she got cancer. The house she was living in when I first met her. The house where I spent a lot of time with her. 

The timing of this message was perfect. I am usually not home during the day, but today I stayed home with a miserable headache. 

I hopped in the car and headed over. It felt weird. It was kind of overwhelming. I pulled into the driveway. I hadn’t been on this path in years, since 2003. Everything looked different, but the same. The trees were so much bigger. The garage looked so much smaller. 

I met Mary Jo outside and we talked about how much bigger the trees and shrubs were. We walked around the yard. It was beautiful. She showed me her butterfly garden and her she shed. Everything was beautiful. They have done such a wonderful job caring for the property. So peaceful and so inviting. The sound of the leaves blowing from the wind was heavenly. It was like they were talking to us, telling us their secrets, making sure we knew. 

The apricot tree was HUGE. I barely remember it being there. The branches were so heavy with fruit they were almost hanging to the ground. They looked like they could break at any second. 

It was kind of eerie walking around, remembering. 

The flag pole looked so small now. The trees were tall enough to cover it up. Sandy would always say if the garage door was open and the flag was up, anyone could come and visit. That was their sign. That was their signal. 

Mary Jo asked if I wanted to come inside. I said sure. I would love to. As soon as I walked in, I felt your presence. It went through my whole body. You were there. 

We went in the kitchen. I could see you standing at the counter. It was like you were frozen in time. Making shrimp scampi and having a glass of chardonnay and doing your best Pee Wee Herman laugh. My favorite. 

We went in the bathroom, off the master bedroom. They updated the bathroom and it was gorgeous, so tastefully done.  I remember then, standing at your dresser, going through your jewelry. Trying to decide what you would want to wear to your funeral. Going through your closets, wondering what to do with your clothes. We just didn’t know. I can still smell your perfume, Dona Karen Cashmere Mist. Every time I smell that I remember you. The smell of sandalwood and vanilla gets me. I love that smell.  Mary Jo had some kind of vanilla perfume or body spray on too. I could smell it when she was standing by me and the breeze was coming towards me. 

Next we went up to the loft. My favorite room of the house. I could see Nancy and Kathy and me, sprawled out on the floor as we wrote your obituary. The story of your life. The story of you. Trying to get it right. Trying not to disrespect you. 

We came back downstairs and went back outside and talked some more about the trees and the property. I thank Mary Jo for inviting me over. It was a very special visit.

As I got in the car to head back home, the tears started. I couldn’t help but miss you. The irony set in. I am older now than you were when you passed away. You were only 50. Life is crazy. Life is sad. Life is peaceful. Life is beautiful. Sandy, you are missed. 

right here, right now

How long? How long are you going to do those meal replacement shakes? How long?

How long before you wake up one day and think of all the things that have passed you by because you were busy chasing a less than ideal body. A less than ideal lifestyle. A less than ideal mindset. You can’t live off shakes forever. Your body wants to feel satisfied. Chewing food satisfies the cravings. Chewing food helps the digestion. The texture of food satisfies you. 

When we are constantly chasing skinny, you are missing out on your life. Why are we chasing it constantly? Why can’t we just be healthy? Why can’t we just eat instead of constantly dieting or finding the next magic pill or the next magic power? Why?

How much life have you missed out on because of hating on your body? Have you ever been to a party or a social gathering and totally deprived yourself of any fun because deep down you were disgusted with your body? I have. I am willing to bet a lot of us have. 

Maybe you should try something different. Try something that is out of your comfort zone. Try not being so hard on yourself for how your body looks. Try loving yourself where you are right now, where you are right in this moment, where you are in this space. Then and only then can you start to heal from the chase. 

Start giving your body the fuel it needs to function optimally. Think of food as something your body needs and wants in order to make it easier for you to walk up that flight of stairs. Feed your body. Feed your soul. When you eat better, you feel better. 

Eat real food. Enjoy real food. Learn to taste your food, instead of shoveling it in your mouth so fast, you don’t know what you even ate. Learn to slow down. Quit using food as feelings. 

Food and feelings go hand in hand. I know it can be super complex. I know these behaviors can be used as a coping mechanism. Changing our behaviors can be extremely hard. We often start out with great intentions and then just plain struggle with being consistent. What’s keeping you from making this lifestyle change? Do the benefits outweigh the cost of what you are doing right now? I say yes. I say you can do this. 

I say, get curious about why you do the things you do. Work on it. Every single day. Work on yourself. Love yourself. Right here. Right now. Begin to heal. 

Adventures in station wagons

We had two station wagons. I mean my brother, Jeff, had two station wagons. One was green and one was black. Old ones. Crappy looking ones. The green one was nicer than the black one. A little. Station wagons were popular at that time. Mom also drove a station wagon, one of those kind of two tone ones with the wood-look panels. Popular.

I was a junior or a senior in high school. I had an appointment at Regis in the mall for a perm. Because why the hell would anyone want to have their normal hair? Why not chemical shit storm it so it would curl like a pig’s tail. 

My appointment was at noon. It was a Sunday. I had to work at 3 pm at Sooper Dooper. The dreaded 3-10 shift. Three hours was plenty of time to get a perm. Or so I thought… 

I needed a vehicle to drive to my appointment. It was winter, like it always is around here for about 6 months of the year. I don’t know why my car wasn’t available. I don’t know if it was getting worked on or what. I just know it wasn’t available. It was a better can than the station wagons though. Just sayin.

I was going to take the green station wagon. It was more reliable than anything else parked at the house. It wouldn’t start. I had to take the black one. Sketchy at best. It started. Awesome. I mean that sarcastically. I hated that boat. It was a boat and it was a piece of crap. The seats were ripped and I don’t even think it had seatbelts and the door was messed up. I had to get in on the passenger side and crawl over to the driver’s side. Like I said, piece of crap. 

I got in and got myself up to the mall. We lived in the Prospect House at this time. I’m surprised my brother let me take it. He wasn’t a good sharer. He probably didn’t know I took it. I’m pretty sure I just stole it. 

The appointment was taking forever. How could a perm take this long? I kept thinking something must be messed up. It had to be going wrong. Right? Glass half empty. It was my hair, my glass could be half empty. 

It was getting past 2:30 and I was starting to get worried. I had never been late for work in my life and I didn’t want a hair appointment to make me late. That would be a lame excuse. 

Finally, it was about 2:45 p.m. I had to work dammit! I was going to be late! I was very worried about being late. I wonder if I had a problem in my past life with time or with being late or missing something. Ha. Who knows. 

The hair was done. The hair was fucking ugly. The hair was like an afro. Seriously. Not even kidding one bit. I think she used the wrong size rods. I think she used the old lady, blue hair rods. What the???? How??? I was devastated. Not only did I not have time to go home and wash my hair 100 times with the strongest chemical shampoo I could find to try and relax this fricking nest on top of my head, I had to go to work this way.  How could I? Oh Em Gee!!!

I had to. I had to suck it up. I had to get my butt to work. I ran out to the parking lot and found the black bomb. How reliable was the wagon going to be? The streets were snow packed and slick in spots, but I had to hurry. It started. Awesome. I mean that sarcastically again. I tried not to speed. I pulled out of the mall parking lot and headed south on Harrison. The fastest way was going to take a right on Church street and then haul ass over to Highland. Once on Highland it was a crap shoot of whether going to Capitol and heading west, or up on Broadway to Euclid and then to Capitol was faster. Who cares? I just had to make a decision and stick to it. 

I was going fast and the turn onto Church Street was going to be hairy at best. I pumped the brakes a little because it was snowy. I didn’t want to slide all over the place. As I was making that treacherous turn, the stupid driver’s side door decided to start working and flew completely open. I about crapped my pants. Remember, no seat belts. I can’t believe I didn’t fall out. Here I was making a sharp Starsky and Hutch turn and thinking I was going to die. I didn’t die. I made it, but I had to pull the damn door shut and hold it the rest of the way. It wasn’t latching. It just kept flying open unless I held it. The next five minutes was exciting, to say the least.

I arrived. Crazy hair and piece of crap car. I made it. It was exactly 3 o’clock when I punched in. It was exactly the worst hair experience I have ever had. It was exactly the scariest car I have ever driven. 

 

It was “this” big

“That rat was huge,” he said. “It was THIS big without the tail,” he said as he held his outstretched hands in front of his chest. 

It was the Prospect house. It was warm out. I remember not wearing coats.  I remember it being nice outside.

There was a big brown house a few blocks away. It was being moved to about a block away from the Prospect house. It was a beautiful old house, with stained glass windows and amazing woodwork. We used to go to that house to be babysat by Gayle Garber. Someone bought the house and now it was being moved. 

That may be where the rat came from. I’m pretty sure it came up the toilet though. 

Mom picked us up from somewhere and we walked into the house. She was in front of us, walking in with her purse hanging in the crook of her elbow. I recall the purse being a kind of green blue color. I also recall she was wearing a dress. 

Next we heard a loud scream, blood curdling, in fact. When I say we, it was Sherry and me. The inseparable sisters, the one year difference sisters. The no choice, you are playing with your sister, sisters. We heard the scream and wondered what had happened. Hopefully there wasn’t an axe murderer in the house.

When we came in behind her, she was on the table in the kitchen, she then stepped over to the counter and then we heard the basement door slam shut. It was loud. The loudest door slam a person could make. The kind you make when you want to make a statement. Usually a pissed off or mad statement. That was it. That kind of slam. 

After the door was shut, I mean slammed, we asked mom what happened. She could barely speak. She told us it was a HUGE rat! How could a rat get in our house? It was disgusting to even think about it. I couldn’t stand it. I was afraid to go in any room. How? Why? Where did it come from? How long had it been roaming around our house. Had it been in our room? Yuck!!

Immediately after dad arrived home, he was filled in on what had happened and was ordered to go get a trap. Have you ever seen a rat trap? They are giant. They look almost comical. Almost fake. Almost. 

Dad set the trap in the basement. I declared I would not step foot in that basement until that rat was taken care of. I didn’t care that the washer and dryer were in the basement. I didn’t care if I had to wear dirty clothes. I would not be subjected to the horror of a giant rat stalking our basement. 

It took two nights to catch it. On the second night, in the middle of the night, Sherry heard it. She heard the trap snap. It was freaking loud. Finally, the beast had been killed. Finally, peaceful sleep. Finally no more being stalked by a rat. 

The next day, the salt guy came to deliver salt. He came in the back door and then down the basement steps to take the salt to the softener. He would carry one bag on his shoulder and another in his free hand. It didn’t take long. We heard a kind of grunt or a kind of scream. The kind of grunt or scream a guy doesn’t want to sound like a full-blooded, crap your pants, scream. He didn’t want to sound scared. Of course, we thought it was funny.

After he dropped off the salt, he came back upstairs and told us there was a sewer rat in the trap. Like we didn’t know there was a rat in our basement. Seriously?

He said, “That rat was huge!” Yeah, we know. 

City Pool, Chicken Shack and Suckers

It was the summer. It was the Prospect house. Could have been the in between house, the Central house. I can’t remember for sure. It doesn’t really matter. It may have been 4th or 5th grade. 

Summers were hot when we were kids. Extremely hot. We went to the City Pool a lot. The water was blue and the sunburn was free. It was basically the only pool in town, unless of course your parents were members of the Elks Club and then you could go swimming there.

That pool was a really nice pool. We used to go there with the Kleins, Barb and Cindy. Luckily our uncle was a member, so when we said the name Friman, they let us in. Thanks Uncle Bob and Aunt Sandy for helping out your nieces with our summer shenanigans. 

The city pool was far away from our house. Not like Narnia far, just far. It was about a mile probably. Sometimes we rode bikes, but most of the time we walked, towel wrapped around our shoulders, wearing our swimsuits and clutching our money in our hands. It was all downhill. The best kind of walk. It sucked going back home after swimming though. Being dead tired from swimming all day and then having to walk home all uphill. We went swimming with the Klein girls, Barb and Cindy, a lot. They were our best friends. They were awesome summer friends. 

It cost 15 cents to get into the pool. It probably still does. I know it was not very expensive at all. The pool opened at 1 and closed at 5. The line would be long waiting to get in. We would try to get there early to be the first in line. 

The pool had a slide and a diving board. In order to use the diving board, which was in the deep end, you had to demonstrate to a lifeguard that you could swim across the pool and back. They obviously didn’t want any kid to drown. I would test it once in a while. I would go jump off the diving board in the deep end. Sometimes they wouldn’t ask me to test it. Sometimes they would. I remember it seemed like it took forever to do it. We never had swimming lessons, so it was just kind of a learn to swim on your own type of thing we did. I could dog paddle and I could American crawl, kind of. Finally, one day I did it and I didn’t die. I then had the blessing, the lifeguard blessing, to go off the diving board and to be in the deep end of the pool. Legally. My summer was made. 

When swimming time was over, every single time we walked out of the pool and down the street on our way home, we stopped at the Chicken Shack. Chicken Shack had amazing food. Chicken of course, but it was broasted chicken. The super crispy on the outside and yummy and juicy on the inside. You know, the full of grease, which made it taste even better. I don’t remember getting to eat out as a kid, but I do remember our parents getting Chicken Shack chicken. The smell was always amazing. The building was painted bright yellow. It was on the corner of Crow and Dakota. Everyone knew the Chicken Shack. Everyone went there to carry out broasted chicken and broasted potato quarters. In case you were wondering, the best way to eat broasted chicken is by peeling back the skin and shaking some Lawry’s Seasoned Salt on the meat. So delicious. Chicken Shack was the busiest place in town once the pool closed. Every single kid was in there buying something, anything, to eat, because we were starving after a long afternoon of non-stop swimming. 

We usually got suckers. That’s what we had enough money to buy. Once in a while we had enough for a candy bar, or a Chick-O-Stick. I always remember the suckers though. We would buy those Charms suckers. They were decent sized and cheap. A good treat for the long haul home. There was also another kind of sucker we would take our chances with. If you bought this sucker you could sometimes get another one free. It was a Tootsie Pop. If you found an Indian on the wrapper shooting an arrow at a star, you could get another one free. Score. Jackpot. We always tried it. We didn’t always win. 

Our adventures at the pool were always fun. We got sunburned and then the next day would have to wear a t-shirt in order to protect our skin. Apparently we never had sunscreen. We also got green hair out of the deal. Because our hair was so blonde, the chlorine would turn it green.  Green like slimy kale, not a pretty green the way everyone dyes their hair now. We were always so embarrassed, even though we didn’t need to be. We just hoped the green faded before the school year started…

Those were good kid times. We squeezed every single drop out of those hot summer days. 

Buddy

I caught a glimpse of the man up on the road. I thought nothing of it. I actually thought he was taking pictures. I could see there was a pickup by the mailbox, black I think. The man was wearing a tan shirt and it looked like he was wearing glasses. I thought it was some type of survey crew. 

I was home at lunch. I had just gotten done working out. I always let the dogs out while I am drinking my recovery smoothie. Jack came back. Buddy did not. That was not unusual. Lately he has been staying out longer than usual. Lately he has been going up to the front of the house, by the mailbox. Lately he hasn’t been able to hear well. 

We live out in the country on the highway. The traffic is pretty heavy and the speed limit is 65 by our house. 

About six months ago, we were told there was some problem with Buddy. Something neurological. His limbs didn’t work the way they should, so he trips sometimes when he tries to go up steps. He was taking Prednisone for his medical condition. He has been getting worse lately. I think he has been getting lost and we know his hearing had gone way down hill. 

We got Buddy from the local humane society. He was the “Pet of the Week” about 8 years ago. He was two at the time. His name was Rusty then. He was a little Jack Russell mix. They said he was a runner. When we got him home, he constantly took off running. Until one day, John yelled at him. I mean really yelled. Buddy came running back and stood right beside him. From that day on, he never ran again. We could leave him in the house all day. He never got into anything and never had any accidents. He was the perfect dog. The perfect companion. Such a good boy. It took him a while to let us get close to him. If we did, he would growl. After a while he completely trusted us. We could lay our faces on his and he would be perfectly content. He trusted us and we trusted him. 

After I changed clothes I came back downstairs and was expecting to see Buddy at the door on the deck. He wasn’t there. I thought it was weird. I went out looking for him. He wasn’t anywhere in the back. I started getting a feeling. I knew something wasn’t right. Something was wrong. I kept yelling and yelling for him. 

As I was coming up to the front of the house, I saw a vehicle pull away. I thought to myself it must have been the guy I saw earlier up on the road. I walked a little further up the driveway and saw Buddly lying on the side of the road, on the shoulder. I walked over. His mouth was bloody, but otherwise he just looked like he was sleeping. He moved his head a couple of times, which made it worse. I’m pretty sure those were his last breaths. I was sick to my stomach. I felt like he wouldn’t have been coming across the road if I hadn’t been yelling for him. I felt terrible. I don’t know if that is true or if he could even hear me. But, it’s my guilt. Mine. Poor Buddy. I wasn’t sure what to do. John was out of town working, so I texted Rick, his boss. Little did I know that Rick was out of town too. So here I am standing up on the highway, tears running down my face and a billion cars flying by, hoping none of them run over me and Buddy. 

As I was standing up on the highway I got a call from Chris, my business partner. She asked if the dogs were okay, because her son had called her. He wondered if we had dogs because he said a dog had gotten hit by our house. He was very upset. I told Chris Buddy had gotten hit. 

I then got a call from the Animal Clinic. They told me the person who hit Buddy had been trying to get a hold of us. We disconnected our landline phone and that is the number on Buddy’s tags. She was very sweet and said she was sorry and said if we needed anything to let them know.  The person who hit Buddy had left a message on John’s phone and he said that Buddy had just come out of the weeds and he was really sorry. We know it wasn’t his fault. We know. I feel so bad for him. 

Next John called, so I told him I couldn’t touch him. He knows I can’t touch dead animals. I just can’t. He was upset that I had to be there by myself. He said he would get one of the guys who was working in town to come and help me. I felt like I waited forever. In reality it was about 30-40 minutes. I stayed up on the highway. I didn’t know what else to do. I didn’t want him to get hit again. I just couldn’t walk away from him until Ryan came. There was already a turkey vulture flying around. I was disgusted. 

It was like everything was in slow motion. That weird queasy kind of feeling. Just slowed down. Suspended. It felt like everything took forever. 

Once Ryan got there I came back to the house and got Buddy’s red plaid blanket that he slept on. We wrapped him up in his blanket and Ryan carried him down the driveway into the garage and gently laid him in the freezer, patted his head and closed the lid. 

Even though I feel like I am tough, today was one of those days that I couldn’t do it by myself. It was one of those days that I couldn’t help but feel vulnerable. It was one of those days that I really needed people. Today, when I needed people the most, they were there. I was so grateful for help today. Thank you Ryan Fischer. 

Rest In Peace Buddy boy…