I got the chance to deliver a car in Birmingham, my old home town. It was great to be back, and my boss Riff had called to say there was another car to pick up headed for Boston. So my long time buddy Frank picked me up when I dropped one car off and took me to get the Boston car, and then I went to his place to spend the night. He cooked out on the grill, we had his world famous cocktails, and then I crashed on the couch because I had to get an early start.
I got up at 5am the next morning and showered and ate a bran muffin. I was dressed and out the door at 6, and the first thing I noticed was a beautiful sunrise and the mist in the air. Frank lives up on a hill, and it is a steep grade down to the street. I was hurrying down on the grass, which was covered with dew and quite slippery. Then I hit a super slick spot and had to run to keep from falling on my face. Momentum always seems to keep me on my feet in those situations.
As I neared the car by the curb, I heard something from behind rushing towards me. It was two large Rottweiler dogs, and they were open for business. They were growling, snarling, and rushing towards me at alarming speed. I absolutely love dogs, but when they look a tad vicious and are rushing me, I can get a bit nervous. I jumped on top of the car, and they both jumped on the car, their claws scratching the paint pretty thoroughly. The dogs' owner came ambling down the hill from the house next door.
"What the hell is going on here?" he demanded.
"I think your dogs are upset."
He grabbed both of them by the collars and yanked them back. They fought him and still lunged for me, whining as they did so. "Can you blame them?"
"I didn't do anything."
"Didn't do anything? Bubba, let me give you a slice of advice for the future. For one thing, next time you are getting up to leave, wait another hour before you come outside."
"I've got a long trip ahead and need to leave now."
"Well, I don't think waiting till 7am is gonna make that much a difference. This is the dog's time of day, time that they can come outside and roam free in the neighborhood and do as they please without worrying about human people. See what I mean?"
I nodded. I also noticed that from this angle, I could see for the first time their yard was strewn with junk. It would make any junkyard envious.
"Now here's the other advice for you. Whatever you do, don't run outside. It inflames the dogs."
"The grass was real slippery, and I was running to avoid falling on my face."
"Much better to fall on your face than to piss off these dogs. Now go on, get, and remember the lessons I taught you. And you are welcome."
I got into the car and left as quickly as possible. Later that day when Frank called to see how far I'd gotten, I told him about the incident.
"That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard," Frank told me.
"I'm telling you the honest truth."
"Oh, I have no trouble believing it. That guy has been a thorn in my butt since we first moved in here. Did you see all the junk laying in his yard?"
"Not until this morning. I couldn't see it from your house because of that new wooden fence you put up next to the driveway."
"And why do you think I put the fence up? To block the ugliness when I walk out my back door or look out my kitchen window. And it still isn't high enough. I wish that fence could be so high that I could only see his yard using Google Earth."
I chuckled. "Well, he sure did think he was giving me good advice."
"Oh wonderful. The junkyard hillbilly neighbor is dispensing wisdom. That guy has some nerve to let those dogs run free and tell you that you shouldn't come outside when they do."
"I don't blame the dogs at all. I think this is bad judgement on the part of the owner."
"Bill, I couldn't agree more."
And I continued my long drive to Boston.