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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Doggone Nice of You, John…

Young corn

Today on the homeward leg of the daily grind, Gladys and I were  struggling along against a bullying headwind (seems like there’s always a headwind in the Valley). We labored past Johnny Deck’s farm and his electrified yard, a spot that in spite of the comforting three-strand fence always triggers my post traumatic stress anxiety and I flash back to last December when a hostile black lab treated my left ankle like it was a hambone. No dogs lazing about John’s lawn this morning. Sprinklers were spritzing the yard and a couple of fresh mole eruptions  were being irrigated, but not a hound in sight.

As we continue wobbling into the Valley breeze, I notice a John Deere four-wheeler rolling down the side road just north of the Grange. It slows, moves onto the Loop Road, and speeds toward me. Immediately I recognize the little 4x4 as the rig John Deck uses for his daily errands on the farm. Just as I was positioning my thumb on Gladys’s new red bell, intent on giving Johnny a hearty ting-a-ling, the little Deere stops abruptly, backs on up the road and onto the side road it had just left. At first I think John had forgotten his mail, is backing up to check the mailbox. “That can’t be,” I reason, knowing the box he passed belonged to his renter. Then I notice a substantial black and white hound loping along in the pasture alongside the road.

If you have followed this blog, you know about my issues with Johnny Deck’s pack of dogs (see posts “Hounded in the Valley,” 12/15/’10 and “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors,” 2/9/’11). As I roll closer to the bounding dog, I think of my canister of pepper spray gathering dust on the shelf back home, preempted by that three strand electric fence, and begin to feel very lonesome for it.

But my fears are unwarranted. Johnny stops his rig and shouts a command to the dog, which halts and then sprints to the 4x4. Another command and the dog leaps into the rig and John seats it next to the black lab riding beside him, making “riding shotgun” a two-barrel affair. Johnny smiles as I ride by. I give him a friendly, enthusiastic thumbs-up “thank-you.” He nods, smiles, and pats his new passenger.

So to a man and his dog from a man on his bike, thanks again, John, for making sure that never the twain shall meet.

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