As I Remember, Chapter 14

This entry is part 14 of 39 in the series Ted Bio

CHAPTER 14

      I always had a job. If not for someone else, I would fall one of the big fir trees and cut it up into cordwood. In those days, everyone in that part of the country burned wood. When summer was over, we made a trip back to Idaho. There were a few things that we wanted to pick up. Things that we had run off and left.

      We had a good visit. Brother Ray was still living in the little house that Helen and I had built. Brother Dell had really grown up. Now over six feet tall and a really handsome guy. He was engaged to be married, to a pretty young thing, Lillian Hath. He was building them a little house on the west corner of the prune orchard. It was quite nice. I wondered how long it would be before brother Ray run him off. I told Dell. “If anything ever happens here, that you want to get out, come on up to Oregon.” He promised he would. We gathered up our belongings and went home.

      The next spring, we planted our ten acres of cleared land, to strawberries. We got a contract with the cannery. We would be paid five cents a pound, delivered. That was the going price. We paid one cent a pound for picking, plus a quarter cent bonus if the picker stayed all the way through. Then one day, we got a new member of the family, Old Jack! A big beautiful German Shepherd dog. It was sort funny how I happened to acquire the magnificent animal. I will tell about it…

      There was a fellow that lived on the edge of North Plains that was a dog trainer. He made his living selling seeing eye dogs also some went to the army. One day, I was in North Plains. I went into Jack’s tavern for a beer. The dog trainer was sitting there. I spoke to him and set down. We were having a social visit when into the room walked the sheriff and another guy. The guy with the sheriff, pointed his finger at the fellow beside me. “That’s him. That’s the guy that got away with my dog.” The sheriff had out the hand cuffs. He put them on the guy. The guy looked guilty alright. He asked the sheriff. “Would you mind if we drove by my shack? I want to lock it up.” He turned to me. “Ted, do you want a good dog?” “What kind of dog?” “A two year old German Shepherd, fully trained. He will do anything you tell him.” “Sure, why not! I love a good dog!” We drove out to the guy’s shack. I followed them with my car. He locked up his little house, then cut loose with a shrill whistle. Then from out of apparently no-where, come the most beautiful dog that I have ever seen… Old Jack.

      Together, we walked over to my car. The trainer said to me. “Open the door on the passenger side.” This I did. The trainer looked down at the dog, then up to the door. “Get in.” He said. The dog jumped inside. I got in behind the wheel. “After you get aquatinted with him a bit, he will do anything you tell him.” Then he spoke directly to the dog. “Go with him. He is your new master.” For an instant, the big fellow looked sort of puzzled. Then suddenly he turned and licked the side of my face. He had understood.

      When I say that this dog had become a member of the family, I mean just that. I could write a complete book on this guy alone. He helped raise our kids. He was the baby sitter. He carried the strawberry hillocks from out of the field. He done everything he was told. Then some. Like this one that I will tell about.

      One of our closest neighbors was a young couple by the name of Oly and Lola Weaver. They were our best friends and we spent a lot of time together. Jack seemed to accept them as one of the family. One day, it was late in the fall. I had taken the family to Hillsboro. We would do our shopping, then take in a movie. There we run into Oly and his brother Shorty. Oly said, “Sure glad we found you. Shorty and I are going pheasant hunting. The season just opened today. I don’t have a shot-gun and I want to borrow yours.” “It is up at my house, hanging on the wall. You are welcome.” “Is your house locked?” “No, but Old Jack is there.” Oly grinned. “He won’t bother me, he is my friend.” Then the two of them took off.

      It was late in the afternoon when we returned to the ranch. Oly’s car was parked out in front and in it sat Shorty Weaver. And he was a very angry Shorty. I asked him. “Where is Oly?” He pointed at the house. “That damn dog of yours let him in.” Then he shouted. “And now the dirty son of a bitch won’t let him out! And I can’t go anywhere because Oly has the keys to the car! And we have been trapped here all afternoon!” Well, that was just the way Old Jack was. He could certainly be trusted. It was a sad day about fifteen years later that we had him put away.

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