Dear Man in the Truck with the Hunting Dogs,
Thank you … for coming back.
Last week, you scared us. But mostly you scared yourself.
It was an early morning walk, along my beloved, old paved road. Nothing out of the ordinary, birds chirping in the trees, the smell of water and pine trees dancing around my senses.
It included good, deep conversation with a close friend.
As we came near the crest at the top of the road, we heard something. It was you, coming from behind.
It was muffled, with a sound similar to a group of playing children — yet it was too early for that … and accompanied by the sound of an engine. Very odd for 6:30 in the morning.
We stopped and looked behind us, to see you barreling toward us at a faster than typical speed for the road. And there it was, the sound that we heard, hound dogs, hanging out the back of your truck, barking.
In the few seconds that it took for all of this to register, you kept coming faster, toward us.
Suddenly, we turned our eyes back, up the road to where my dog Trixie would be, up ahead per her usual morning romp.
And as we looked back at you, dear truck driver, fear came into focus and back to up ahead, where she was, paralyzed, as we had been, but in the middle of the road. She too was trying to decipher what she was hearing, that odd sound of hound dogs, muffled by your moving vehicle, coming fast upon all of us.
We froze, as we knew that you, truck driver, were looking at us, making sure that we would stay put as you went by … but you did not see my uber-loved companion up ahead, frozen in the middle of the road, listening.
And as you went by us, we both yelled out, “Trixie!!” Confused, she still stood there, in the middle of the road, shifting her gaze upon us.
Fortunately, yelling was enough for you to look ahead, at the focus of our attention, and slam on your brakes and swerve, narrowly sneaking by her … and then you kept going.
We gulped; she came toward us. We shook with relief and fear, all in the same breath.
We turned onto our Lake Road and couldn’t help but whisper the what-ifs … thank God … could you imagine.
I was weak. The fragile life of my K-9 companion became very real. Everything came into focus.
Three minutes later, having come down off of our adrenaline rush, we hear … your truck, coming back, down our road.
Fear flashed in my mind as I couldn’t help but think, my goodness, I think he is coming back. Possibly to yell at me for having my dog off leash.
I cautiously looked back, and you slowed down, wanting to speak with me.
You are a man, about 25, with four beautiful hound dogs hanging out of the back of your truck. You appeared to be shaking, as you looked out your truck window at me and hesitated, “I didn’t mean to go so fast and almost hit your dog. I was looking at you and didn’t see her. I am so sorry for scaring you. My dogs must have scented a bear. They never bark when they are in the truck. I am really sorry.”
You came back … and my heart opened.
You came back … and my defenses left me.
You dared to show your vulnerability … to me.
And as you spoke, I could see the relief that came over your demeanor, as your eyes welled up with tears, your chin quivered and your voice broke.
I looked into your eyes and took my hand and placed it on your shoulder. “It’s all okay. I realized you were looking at us. We were lucky, and it’s okay.”
You came back.
To the man in the truck with the hunting dogs: You are a good soul. I will never forget how brave you were.
To come back … and that is what mattered.
Kate & Trixie