Childress, Texas again. I pulled into Walmart, for extra-strength bug scrub. Walmart was the whole ball game for Childress, judging from all the sad and empty storefronts on Main Street—the is the brave new world of America. My normal windshield washer fluid barely got me through the buggy tropics of Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Now in the dry Texas desert scrub lands, it was time for a deep scrub with the right stuff.
I try to park the van far out in big box parking lots– with the work trucks. This time I spotted a pooch next to me. Where I come from, you don’t tie up a dog and ride around with it on a flatbed truck. Suburban dog lovers would pitch a fit, and call the cops. This fella had sweet eyes, wagged its tail, didn’t bark. It looked right into my eyes, hoping to make a friend. Damn it.
Should I open the side door to the van, grab a kitchen knife, cut the rope, and let it jump in? It was just five feet. It could be done in seconds. I’d give it a dish of cool water, and a ham slice from the fridge. It could be my travelling companion, seeing the country from a soft van seat. It could hike with me in the cool Carolina mountains, chase squirrels up actual trees and splash in creeks to its heart’s content. No more hot deserts, rattlesnakes, or prickly cactus. I’d be a hero and have a loyal pal for the rest of the trip.
But Texans have guns, and some unshakable convictions. This fellow’s owner might not agree with Eastern ideas of animal liberation—or in his cowboy view, rustling.
I might at least toss my new friend one of the donut holes I’d recently acquired as a gift from the local donut shop—but no, not even that.
This was a working dog. It must be fine on its bed of leather straps and dusty ropes. Its life was on the ranch with his master, setting out cow licks and feed and such. In the mornings, it probably couldn’t wait to jump in the truck for whatever desert adventure might come that day. So, I just took a picture to share a view of the different country of Texas. Damn it.