There are certain days in a man’s life when, for whatever reason, he has the urge to chase a runaway bloodhound up a Tennessee mountain.
This puppy, Thelma Lou, happens to be an expert at running. All it takes is the right breeze to hit her nose, and she’s off for Canada.
She was on a leash today, trotting beside me. We reached an overlook. The view was green and majestic. I remarked to myself, “Take a gander at them mountains.”
And it was during this moment of deep reflection that I noticed Thelma had chewed through her leash. All I could see were hindparts, bouncing merrily through the Greenest State in the Land of the Free.
“Don’t panic,” I told myself. “Just remain calm.”
I called her name. I shouted it firmly, but not aggressively. And I clapped. Lots of clapping. Clapping is important when calling a fugitive dog so that others nearby are sufficiently aware of what a human toadstool you are.
So I walked the
trail, looking for a dog, clapping. I heard rustling ahead, and I could see her.
I used my high-pitched baby voice: “That’sagoodgirlyesyouareThelmaLouyesyouare.”
And I was so busy calling her that I almost forgot that I’ve hiked this trail before, as a kid. I was with my father at the time.
I remember that day well. We both wore coonskin caps from a gift shop. That day, my father referred to me as Davy Crockett. I called him Daniel Boone.
We sang songs, we ate peanut butter sandwiches, we carved walking sticks. I still have those sticks.
When we hit the top of a mountain, my father looked over these very hills and whistled at them.
He said, “Would ya take a gander them mountains.”
He was a good man.
Anyway, I saw a dog in the distance. Her head was down,…