Monday, May 13, 2024


After I dropped my son off at school this morning, I began to make my way to my friend Steve's farm to take my dog, Rebel, swimming. It's a 25-minute drive from my son's school to the farm. It's worth it. Rebel has been limping around lately and swimming seems to help his joints. Plus, I need to wear him out a little, he has tons of energy and if he doesn't do something to get a little tired, he drives me crazy all day.

I have to stay on Route 40 for a few miles before I get off onto Road 279 which takes me into the country towards the farm. 

I pass by stores and cheap food places and old motels on Route 40, some that have signs that warn of drug activity on the premises and that the area is under observation by the police department. I drive by one motel, one of those where you can stay for a night or a week or longer. I see a little boy standing in the parking lot of the motel in his school clothes. 

I figure he is around 8 years old, give or take. He's got his book bag on, he's dressed neatly, with shorts on and a collared shirt, and his hair is combed and parted on the side.  He looks like he is waiting on the bus to pick him up in the motel parking lot. A woman is there with him, holding a baby on her chest. I assume she is his mother. I feel so sorry for the boy standing in this dirty motel parking lot; my heart just breaks for him. 

My assumption is that the mother is on drugs and that they are almost homeless and then I say to myself, you don't have any idea what they have gone through or are going through in life. Maybe she works very hard and can't make it right now with the economy getting worse every day.

Or maybe she can't afford a house to rent and the motel is cheap and that's the best she can do for now. Maybe the father of the kids left them high and dry and left that little boy and that baby and the mother to fend for themselves. And I feel guilty about just driving by and then down the road a bit I feel like I should turn around and give them the 20 dollars that's in my pocket. But I don't. I reckon it's better to not get involved. I think to myself that everyone is so crazy today that it's best to keep driving by. And then I think what a shame that is, that you have to hesitate to help someone these days. I just get really sad about everything. I start thinking about that little boy's life and what he has to look forward to everyday, he goes to school and then the kids make fun of him because he lives in a motel and when he finishes the school day and takes the bus back to the parking lot with the old broken down looking El Camino sitting in it and his mother meets him and the boy is hungry but there is no going to the store for groceries, its McDonald's again, a cheeseburger combo meal just like yesterday. And the baby cries and cries for more food and the boy sits there with his combo meal and watches TV and he makes the best of it. After all, maybe this motel life is all that he knows.

I turn onto Route 279 and I am into the country. It's like time has stopped here. I drive with Rebel sticking his head out the window, on the twisting roads, past farms with cows and freshly planted crops. There are some houses on the road, a group of 3 or 4 every few miles. The houses sit off of the main road by 20 yards or so. Some have kids with their mothers siting in cars at the end of their driveways, waiting on the school bus. One mother has on pajamas and slippers and sits in an old Toyota Camry, looking at here phone. Her daughter sits at an old fruit stand bench, one of those fruit stands where the fruit sits out there and you leave money and take what you paid for.

Every few minutes, I see a picture in my mind of that boy in the parking lot. I can't seem to shake it.

As I drive, I see old barns half way caved in and old cinder block buildings with no roof. An Amish horse and buggy pass me going the other way, driven by two teenage boys. And then another Amish buggy drives by. This area has plenty of Amish folks. There is an Amish schoolhouse that I see all of the time, with a place for horses to be tied up outside of it. I see the children playing, always happy, always running and having fun. The schoolhouse is not far from where I hunt geese and sometimes, if the wind is right, I can hear the children screaming and laughing as they play outside while I am hunting. The other day on the same road, I saw an Amish man with a horse and plow tilling the field. He was struggling mightily with the plow, trying to keep it straight. 

I turn onto the road where the farm is and Rebel is jumping around in the back seat of my truck, excited to swim. After 30 minutes of retrieving in the water, I tell Rebel to jump onto the bed of the truck. I towel him off and put a solution in his ears that staves off ear infections.  He doesn't like it, but he tolerates it. Maybe he knows that it's all part of the process, because we do the same thing every time that he goes swimming. 

Rebel loads up in the truck and we head down the road. I stop at High's Dairy Store to get gas for the truck, a cup of coffee for me and a dog bone for Rebel. There are two girls in their twenties in there, both in pajamas. There is also a middle-aged woman buying crab pretzels and an old man wearing denim overalls, buying a can of snuff. 

I'm thinking that tomorrow I will bring my fishing rod to the pond. Rebel doesn't deserve to have all the fun. 

I wonder if I will see that little boy again?

All About Being a Lifer

What's a Lifer? Someone who isn't in to something for just a day, a month, a's for life. Whether its training or your family or your doesn't matter. You work at it, you build on it, you see the big picture . You don't miss workouts because it means something to you. You are like a Shakespearean actor- no matter what is going on in your life, you block it out when it's time to train. You walk into the weight room and all else disappears. Worry about it later.