Sunday, March 09, 2008

Boy Bites Dog


I’m sitting here watching Clara play with our dog Kallie and smiling as I think of my childhood and all the puppies I had .That triggers a memory of play times I had with my Father.
Dad was born and raised in Bangor PEI in a large family of little means.
The first part of the story is quite close to how my Dad told me.

One day when he was just a teen he was splitting wood using the axe that had been in his family for many years. It was his grandfathers axe, the same one he used to clear the land, the original family heirloom, even though the handle had been replaced 5 times and the head twice, such are poor peoples heirlooms.

Dad was one of seven brothers and one sister on a poor potato farm with one horse.
As he was splitting the wood, the trusty old axe bounced of the wood and stuck his toes, partially severing a couple. Dad yelled and his father came over to see what happened, took a look and said,
“That’ll teach you to pay attention boy”
He walked away leaving Dad in agony. As he was walking by the barn the horse coughed.

Grandad yelled “ Quick get the vet, the horse is sick”and one of the older boys ran into Morell to fetch the vet.

When the vet had announced
“The horse is fine Colin”

Grandad said to the vet
“You might as well sew the young fellows toes back on while you are here.

The story probably contains a little hyperbole but brings home the point of how valuable to the farm was the one horse in comparison to 9 boys.
I’m the last of eight kids which indicates that my parents were not young when I arrived, Mother was 41 and Dad was 38. The fun was pretty well used up in Dad after playing with 7 other kids and working as a linesman.
Like any other kid I wanted to play with my Dad as soon as he got home and my favourite game was for the two of us to get down on our hands and knees and pretend we were dogs, ( long before Cheech & Chong) and have a dog fight. We would growl and try to put the other down crawling around the kitchen floor.
I always played as hard as I could and thought Dad did also and that it was a real fight.

Dad tired quickly and said he wanted to lay down for a bit.
Our kitchen on St Peters Road was very large, suitable for 8 kids, 2 parents 2 grandparents and always a boarder. In addition to the big table and chairs we had a day bed underneath the driveway window. On the opposite side by the sink stood a floor model Singer Sewing machine. The machine was made of cast steel and iron housed in an Ash cabinet.
The cabinet was rectangular with four sharp corners.
Dad lay on the day bed and fell asleep in minutes, his feet were bare and were resting on the metal frame pointing skyward.
I was still in my playing mood, crawling around the kitchen floor looking for another dog fight, when I spied these two bare feet belonging to my dog nemesis, just waiting to be attacked.
The old axiom “let sleeping dogs lie” at this moment was most apt, but sadly I had not head it yet.
Sneaking up to the foot of the bed , I heard the “Dog” in deep slumber and knew it was time to finally win the fight. I slowly raised myself on my haunches and examined my prey. Here is were odds come into play , was it a 50/50/ chance or 0/100 that I’d pick the wrong foot?
I opened my mouth over Dads foot(The Bad Dog I had been fighting with) and chomped down with all my 5 year old might.

Worlds Collide

My world of make believe ended when my teeth struck flesh and didn’t stop.
Now in my own defence that foot was probably easy to bite through because of the blow from the axe years ago.
The next thing I knew Dad was rising up off that bed faster than Dracula could from an open casket. I’ve never seen such a look of anguish before on any mans face.
I let go and started to run backwards wondering what in the name of Heaven had I awoken?
Dad was yelling in agony and I was crying in fear as I ran backwards, fearing for my safety.
Here is where my luck changes for the better.
I tripped , while in full steam reverse, fell backwards and struck the edge of the Singer sewing machine with the corner of my head.

My head cracked open and blood began to squirt over the floor and I began to loose consciousness saving me from the perceived wrath of my father, which by the way never existed.
Dad immediately forgot about his pain , picked me up in his arms and hugged me while stopping the flow of blood from my head.
Being in Parkdale we didn’t have a horse , only chickens, so no reason to call the vet to “sew Dads toes back on, and stitch the young fellow’s head.
A bit ironic that we both are there bleeding in front of a "Singer sewing Machine"?

Clara, who turns two tomorrow , is tugging at my arm to go and “wrestle”with her up on our bed.
Do I dare teach her how to play “Dog Fight”?


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