To the Rescue
In the summer of 1969, before my junior year in high school, my family moved from our house in a small Indiana town out to the country. My parents bought some land on a hill overlooking a small lake near a town named Beanblossom. To call Beanblossom a town is really a misnomer. There was an IGA grocery store there and a couple of homes and that was about it, expect for the Bill Monroe Blue Grass campgrounds. Every year a blue grass festival was held and the campground would be filled with campers there to enjoy several days of blue grass music. The legendary Bill Monroe himself would show up occasionally.
My parents had purchased a new double-wide trailer for our home. They had the plumbing and electricity roughed out and a concrete block foundation installed. Then one day, while we waited on the site, two large trucks showed up hauling both sides of our new home. The drivers positioned the two sides over the foundation, removed the plastic sheeting on the open sides, bolted them together and hooked up the utilities. We opened the front door and ‘voila’ instant home. It was fully equipped with furniture. It took all of four hours to install.
So our life in the country began peacefully and uneventfully until…
One Saturday afternoon that following winter, I had taken our beloved pet dog, Tiny for a walk in the woods on the far side of the lake. Tiny’s name was self-descriptive. It was very cold that day. There was a little snow still on the ground and the lake was partially frozen over. On the way home, we walked across the dam. I had been playing fetch with Tiny in the field next to the woods and still had the stick in my hand. Thinking that we were through playing fetch, I absentmindedly tossed the stick in the lake. Next thing I knew, Tiny was chasing after the stick on the ice. He didn’t get very far before the ice broke under his weight and he fell in the icy cold water. He was splashing and trying to get back up on the ice to no avail. I was panicked. I knew I couldn’t go out on the ice and Tiny was too far away to get a long stick or pole out to him. I was sure he was going to drown. As fast as I could, I ran up the hill to the house to get help. I burst through the back door breathlessly shouting that Tiny had fallen through the ice.
As was his habit on his time off from work, Dad had a couple of his drinking buddies over. They had been drinking all afternoon and were pretty drunk by that point. Mom and my brother Gary were also home. When they heard me shout that Tiny had fallen through the ice, Dad and one of his buddies took off running as fast as they could down the hill towards the lake, but they took the wrong direction.
That summer, Mom had traded a pet raccoon we had for a Pony (you can’t make this stuff up), but that’s another story. Dad and I had built a three-sided pole-barn for the Pony and put up a barbwire fence around the pasture area. You can probably guess what happened next. In their drunken haste to get down to the lake as fast as possible to save Tiny, Dad and his buddy didn’t see the barbwire fence. They both hit the fence going full tilt and got themselves tangled in the barbwire pretty good. The pony, who was bad-tempered, walked over to them and pushed them harder against the barbwire.
While this was going on, the other drunk buddy had grabbed the telephone and without dialing, shouted into the receiver, “Hello vet, we’ve got a drowned dog and I’m bringing him in,” He ran out the front door, got in his pickup truck and raced out to the end of the gravel driveway where he screeched to a stop and then backed up the driveway to the house, proclaiming, “Forgot the damn dog!”
Luckily, Mom was sober and sane enough to keep her wits about her. She pointed out that the lady that lived next door on the other side of the lake had a small row boat turned upside down on the bank. So I ran over there and managed to get the boat in the water. Fortunately, there was an oar in the boat. I was able to break the ice with the oar and rowed out to where Tiny was and rescued him. He was soaked and shivering, but otherwise no worse for wear. I got him and the boat back to the shore. Mom, wrapped Tiny in a blanket and we walked back up to the house, passing Dad and his buddy still tangled in the barbwire with his other buddy trying to shoo the Pony away so he could get them untangled. All in all, it was pretty funny, but that was typical of country life in Beanblossom.