Grandad’s Buick

[dropcap]M[/dropcap]y grandfather liked to give bits of quirky advice. While driving his Buick, he’d fling out nonsensical folk-sayings and leave me scratching my head. He’d say things like, “Don’t go to sleep with your hair wet, you’ll get a neck-ache.” Another: “Blood is thicker than water, but molasses is thicker than blood, and peanut butter is thicker than molasses.” It took me years to figure out what that meant. And then there’s my personal Grandad-favorite, “Never touch stray dogs.”


My grandfather would even go a step further and say, “When you’re driving, don’t swerve to avoid a stray dog in the road. You could flip your car.” After saying that, he’d backup his claims with real-life examples. Stories about vehicles overturning on the highway, and people being barbecued alive in their Buicks.

All because of a stray mutt.

When Grandad drove me to Springdale, Arkansas, you can imagine my shock when a puppy trotted across the road. The thing pranced right in front of Grandad’s ugly car. I covered my eyes and screamed, expecting him to plow over the innocent dog.

But he did not.

He slammed the brakes with both feet and muscled the wheel to one side. The car fishtailed in an S-pattern on the highway. When we finally screeched to a halt, Grandad hopped out and approached the puppy. It was black, with a tan chest. He squatted down and stroked its head. The puppy licked him once, so he named it Ronald. Ronald slept by Grandad’s bed until his fur turned white.

And that’s why we don’t touch stray dogs.