The Big Send Off
In late May 1979 I was approaching my wedding day. As was the custom, it was common for a group of close friends and co-workers to host a “stag” for the pending groom. One last fling as it were.
My boss Bill Jeneraul and his brother-in-law Bill Edwards (also a co-worker) decided to undertake a clandestine operation, to send me off to marital bliss. There would be one last get together with the boys, unencumbered by any spousal expectations or obligations. They arrived at my door early on a Saturday evening and much to my surprise, announced they were taking me somewhere.
Turns out the co-conspirators had been planning this little shindig for some time. When we arrived at the local Optimist club there were all manner of friends and co-workers there to help me celebrate my pending wedding. The intent was clearly to get me inebriated and when that was accomplished, to get me more inebriated. It was a simple plan, very straightforward and soon evidently working better than anticipated, Everyone in attendance was intent on keeping my glass full.
By the end of the evening I was in rough shape. As is so often the case with young men and alcohol, ideas were beginning to get very imaginative. Early in the morning – perhaps around 2am, Jeneraul and Edwards, in their infinite wisdom, announced that we could not possibly go home without first visiting Keith Lindsay, an early departee from the soiree – and a part time co-worker and close friend of the 2 Bills.
I had limited control of my faculties by that point and was in no condition to argue.
Off we went on a short drive to his modest country home. To his credit, Keith had left the party early, being a respectable family man with several kids and a lovely wife. When we pulled into the driveway, the 2 Bills starting yelling and pounding on Keith’s door. “Wake up Lindsay, we have Woofer here. Let’s have a drink”, they announced with the subtlety of an oncoming freight train.
While they were busy trying to wake up everyone within a five mile radius, I was feeling increasingly punky. Dragging myself out of the back seat, I managed to prop myself up against the car and emptied the contents of the evening over a large area of the gravel driveway. Sweating profusely but feeling a bit more human, I crawled back in the car and extolled my comrades to PLEASE get me home.
“For gawd sake guys, he is not going to come out. Get me home. I’ve had enough”.
Peeking out from behind the curtains in the upstairs window, it turned out Keith was too intelligent to get caught up in that nonsense and pretended not to hear any of the commotion. He would be working with us on a project Monday morning and wanted no part of the shenanigans at that time of night.
I spent most of the next day on the couch recovering from the festivities. Always conscientious, I wanted to be ready to go Monday morning.
The Big Reveal
Monday arrived, and as usual I was there on the dot to work, though far from 100%, even 36 hours later. I was scheduled to work with Keith that day and had a busy day ahead. While we waited for him to arrive, many of us were reminiscing about the party on Saturday night and the hijinx that had taken place. I was in turn, reliving my story about throwing up in Keith’s driveway and was looking forward to teasing him about the mess I left behind.
Keith, normally on time, was late arriving. Finally around 10am, he pulled into the parking lot. Exiting his vehicle, he began shaking his head and apologizing for being late as he walked slowing toward to us.
“Sorry guys, I got up at the regular time, and just as I went to the truck to come to work, I noticed something on the driveway. What a mess! Our German Shepherd had thrown up all over the place. I couldn’t come to work knowing the dog might have eaten something toxic, so I threw him in the truck and rushed him to the vet. It cost me a couple hundred bucks for shots, but he should be ok now”
I looked at the Edwards and Jeneraul and kind of smiled knowingly. Who was going to tell him????
Sadly that wasn’t my last interaction with that German Shepherd. That poor dog would regret me ever meeting him.
A Tragic End
Working with the venerable Pete Jeneraul mentioned in my previous post, was a daily reminder of our generational gap. Pete was a farmer turned telephone lineman. He was running out the string and I was young, full of energy and ambition. Pete saw the glass half empty and I saw it three quarters full. Pete loved to visit, sharing any number of tales. I on the other hand, had never been a great “visitor”, always full of nervous energy and typically avoided talking about myself – likely ADHT in todays terms.
As fate would have it, Pete and I were working together on a blistering hot summer day. He never liked to drive so I was in control, driving a boom truck pulling a very heavy trailer load of telephone poles to a job site. It was around noon. Pete decided that since we were in the area anyway, we should stop and get a cold drink at Keith Lindsay’s house.
Making a wide right turn, I pulled into the driveway of the farm with truck and trailer following behind. Shutting the engine down in front of the house, we climbed out of the cab and onto the gravel driveway. On cue, Keith lumbered out of the house to greet us. Keith Lindsay, was a tall man, maybe 6’1 or 6’2, a full head of crimson hair topped with a baseball cap, freckles to go with it, a ready smile and always willing to lend a hand. He grew tobacco and from time to time worked with us as a lineman at the telephone company.
The same German Shepherd that I unceremoniously had caused to go to the vet, followed him out to the truck to greet us – tail wagging and slobber pooling around his snout as he panted with the extreme heat. Taking advantage of Keith’s hospitality, the 3 of us proceeded to have a cold drink and shot the breeze for 30 minutes or so, catching up on all manner of topics, both important and frivolous.
Finally Pete declared it was time to move on. We had work to do.
Unbeknownst to any of us while we were chatting, the dog had searched out the coolest place he could find to get some relief from the heat. As it turned out, that spot was directly behind the dual wheels on the pole trailer.
As I threw the truck into reverse, we all heard the horrible sound. Almost immediately it registered what had happened. That poor dog never had a chance. I was devastated.
I have never forgotten that hot summer day. It was a tragic end to a family pet and while Keith never blamed me, I always felt responsible.
Dog daze indeed 🙁