My friend, George, told me a story from his childhood that keeps rolling around in my head, and I can’t let it go. With his permission, I am retelling it on my blog. What a day in his own Collection of Days!
George’s childhood was spent living in a mill village near Charlotte, North Carolina, in the 1940’s. Both of his parents worked in the textile mill – his dad was a superintendent, and his mom operated a spinning machine of some kind. They had a family of three boys and two girls, of which George was somewhere in the middle, and lived in one of the mill-provided homes. George has many stories from his childhood growing up in the mill village, but this one is the best.
When George was about ten or eleven years old, he had a German Shepherd dog named Jake. He and Jake were best buddies, and roamed the village and nearby fields together. When George was at school, Jake would go out to the front of the house and lie down in a small ditch beside the dirt road where they lived. One morning, when George was heading off to school, he saw one of the mill workers come barreling down the dirt road in his truck, running late on his way to work. From George’s perspective, it appeared that the man saw Jake lying on the side of the road, swerved his truck as he rounded the curve at George’s house, not in an effort to avoid the dog, but purposely to try to hit him. Luckily for Jake, he dodged out of the way, avoiding being hit by this man and his truck. Unluckily for the man, George recognized him and vowed to get even.
George promised Jake he would take care of things. Nobody was going to try to hurt his dog! That afternoon after school, he found a big stick and walked down the road to the mill. He waited at the bottom of the steps to the main entrance, watching for the man to come out at the end of his shift. The mill whistle blew, and workers started pouring out of the doors and down the steps on their way home. George spotted the man, approached him with stick in hand and shouted,
“You’re the man who tried to run over my dog!” With that, he began swinging and thrashing the stick at the man.
About that time, George’s mother came down the steps on her way home and saw George swinging the big stick at the man.
“Boy, what are you doing?” she yelled at him.
With angry tears in his eyes, George answered, “He tried to run over my dog.”
“Boy, gimme that stick,” she demanded, grabbing the stick from George’s hands and proceeding to take over where he left off.
Moral of this story: Don’t ever mess with a boy and his dog, and by all means, don’t mess with the boy’s mother!