Don't you think it runs in the family? A few years ago when Peter (my youngest) and I were leaving the St. Louis Zoo, he started running towards the car yelling, "Run for your lives, they're loose!"
Everybody within earshot stopped in their tracks and scanned the entrance to see why this young man was running and screaming. Peter's humor regularly goes over the head of those he targets. This time it hit them firmly in the knees.
When I was a young man, before my hair turned silver, I sported a beard. It was well kept, yet long. Bushy, yet groomed. I was living in Florida. I worked nights for a while. It was the middle of the day, sometime in the middle of the week. I decided to go for a leisurely bike ride around my neighborhood.
In retrospect, and after careful examination in the mirror that day, I had to admit that with my genetic predisposition to more than adequate body hair, in combination with that beard, and the fact I was shirtless, I might have appeared somewhat wolf like. I was not however prepared for what happened next.
I rounded the corner a couple blocks from my house, and past a high chain link fence enclosing an elementary school playground. The yard was full of kids engaged in various child activities. One young boy, close to the fence, and close to the road on which I slowly pedaled looked at me and screamed, "Look out, here comes the wolf man!"
As if on cue, every child on that playground began running towards the building, arms in the air screaming. Teachers stopped in their tracks. Eyes pierced me as they attempted to discern just what had happened, and why all the children were running and screaming. Fear filled the air.
An extra bowl of Wheaties that morning could not have caused me to pedal that bicycle any faster, as I made a hasty retreat to the safety of my house, and safe stowage of my bicycle behind the closed garage door. I avoided the school while on my bike for quite a while after that episode.
One day, a few years back, I had to venture into Marshalltown to pick up some materials for a project. I decided to stop at McDonalds for some of their health food fare. For my amusement, I chose a seat close to that ball pit thing.
Some mom was yelling like crazy at her kid. I felt bad for him. She was looking and acting really ugly. Then she sat down at a table close to me and asked which one was mine. I told her I hadn't picked one out yet, but apparently she had spotted a good one.
If looks could kill, I'd at least be wounded.
Off My Rocker-
There were a couple years Frankie, the not so bright chocolate Lab resident here at Gilly Hollow suffered from separation anxiety when left alone at home. Elaine was taking his best friend Holly in to the nursing home with her in the morning. Holly makes a great therapy dog.
One day another Lab wandered briefly into our lives. He was neutered, and still a puppy.
He apparently made his way to the nursing home one day, looking hungry and abandoned. With ribs showing, and apparently on his own, the maternal instincts of the nurses at the facility kicked in and they adopted him. One of the nurses volunteered to take him home. Doing the responsible thing, she made an appointment with the veterinarian, and took him in to get his shots and tags. They named him Buddy.
Buddy did all sorts of bad things inside his new home. At wits end, it was decided Buddy needed a rural home where he could run, and other dogs with which he could associate.
Buddy called Gilly Hollow home for only a short while before disappearing one day. While here, he bonded with the other dogs. Frankie seemed to enjoy having another frisky puppy with whom to play, and it took some of the pressure off Holly to entertain Frankie.
Holly is more laid back that the other dogs, and Frankie, with his playful disposition tends to torment Holly at times with his insistence she play. More content to just lie in a corner and watch the world go by, she took this opportunity to watch the other two chase and play with each other. She was no doubt relieved.
I was outside doing something, probably one of my make work projects. Frankie was sleeping under the picnic table we had in the yard. Holly and Buddy were nowhere to be found. Holly was no doubt teaching Buddy the fine art of summer survival, and showing him the shortest route to the closest pond.
I stood in the yard wondering where the other two had wandered, and began calling, "Buddy, Holly!" I continued my calling a few more times, "Buddy, Holly!" It suddenly struck me as funny. Here was this country boy standing shirtless (one of my heat survival techniques) in the yard, yelling for some long dead rock and roll star.
It's probably a good thing we live way out in the country, and probably even better we have such a long lane. If anyone else had seen me standing there yelling "Buddy Holly", they'd have surely thought I was off my rocker. Well, maybe I am; why so many dogs? Gilly Hollow is home to "rescued" misfits, which undoubtedly makes me the head misfit.
It wasn't until my pre-adolescence that I figured out mom really didn't have eyes in the back of her head. Maybe her claiming she did was just a simple way of explaining her motherly intuitions.
It seemed I couldn't get away with anything when mom was around. I'd do something wrong and soon would be found out. Incredulous, I'd ask her how she knew. Invariably she'd claim she had eyes in the back of her head. I believed that. Upon reflection of specific events years later, I came to the conclusion she really found out because one of my little sisters has squealed on me; that and the fact I never was a very good liar, AND that motherly intuition thing. I couldn't win, and believed it!
Connect a Dot-
One day I stepped out into the early morning splendor to gaze at the sky. The birds were preparing for their dawn chorus. Certain stars I know and love flickered and faded as the light of day began to chase them away. The sky was vivid and clear of haze. It suddenly dawned on me that those stars in the sky, at that very moment, were merely a "connect a dot," where all of your dreams can come true.
Until next time-
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In to the Wind and this column are copyright 2005 - 2013 Mike Gilchrist. Readers, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org via email, or write to me at P.O. Box 255, Toledo, IA 52342.