Although most of the stories I write for my blog tend to point up the humorous side of life, there are times when I just feel it's time to write about an important something or other that passed our way in order to memorialize the moment and the characters. This story is about Bump, formally known as "Thing That Goes Bump In The Night." It's also about my beautiful and wonderful daughter. Reader, read on.
Bump was our dog back in the day, that day being during the mid-70's. I know. That was along time ago. Yes, it was. But I'm much older now, and if I don't put this down in words, it may not be remembered....at all.
We lived in at the coast in Oregon at the time. My husband, my daughter's dad, was a woodsman. He loved the woods. His prized possession was his great big ol' Stihl chainsaw....and his pickup truck. At that time he was driving a 1952 yellow Dodge pickup. That man loved old trucks and was one fine "shady-tree mechanic". He could always keep 'em runnin'. I do remember (as an aside here I must note this) however, that when those darn trucks broke down, and Joseph had to work on them for hours on end, he would walk into the house, plop down, exhausted, frustrated, and say to us all....."It happened again. I've got those "One Bolt Blues." This was code for a supremely stubborn bolt stuck in one of those ol' rigs that just WOULD NOT come out! And there Joseph would be, him too, stuck, worn out, and he would just have to quit til a better day came along.
Now, Bump always went with my husband when they went to the woods to cut firewood. He rode in the back of the truck, of course. My #1 son, always went with him to the woods, too. They were a team, a mutual admiration society.
Bump was a blond German Shepherd mix....good-sized fellow he was. Not quite as big as a full blood German Shepherd, but almost. He really was quite beautiful, faithful, and loyal. He was definitely bonded with our family. We'd had an incident that had occurred a year or so before we moved to Newport with Bump. That was the night he truly lived up to his name, "Thing That Goes Bump In The Night." I'll tell you about that before I tell you about the 'other thing.'
This part of the story takes place in Depoe Bay, Oregon, where we lived just before we moved to Newport.
One night we all went out for hamburgers at our favorite haunt in Lincoln City (about 13 miles to the north of Depoe Bay), My wonder man hippy husband, my #1 son, 12 yo, my older daughter. 11 yo, my little girl, and myself. My little daughter was about 3 years old. When we got back to our apartment in Depoe Bay, Bump was waiting for us at the top of the stairs on the landing (the stairs being outside the building and the landing being our porch) and was, as always, so happy to see us he was just wiggly all over. My little 3 yo went up the stairs first, with her brother and sister following close behind. The railing along the landing was made of 2x4's, uh, spaced apparently a little tooooo far apart. Bump wiggled, right against my little girl, just as she got to the top of the stairs and onto the landing, and not only knocked her down, but knocked her THROUGH the opening between the bottom slats and the landing / porch flooring. Yes, THROUGH. From two stories up....down this little bit of a little girl went....falling to the asphalt pavement two stories below. My husband was still coming out of the garage, so he was the first to reach her. I was on the stairs and of course, I freaked, running back down and over to her. It was late, very dark out, I remember. I froze. She lay on the ground, her dad was hovering over her, and she wasn't moving. Joseph scooped her up in his arms and carried her upstairs. We called the hospital and asked them what to do. There were no broken bones, and Joseph said her arm was positioned such underneath her that it apparently broke her fall. She had a nasty bump on her forehead, though. The hospital said to absolutely not let her go to sleep, to keep her awake, and bring her to the hospital. We did. They checked her out at Emergency. Well, thank the Lord, my baby girl was released and we were told to watch her closely. The doctor said to keep her awake as much as possible.
We drove home, back to Depoe Bay, and went up the now infamous stairs to our apartment overlooking the bay. When we were back inside the apartment, My husband asked her, "Honey, what do you want?" To which, she immediately answered, "Hamburger and French fries!"
We all laughed. That was our girl.
I think you can probably use your imagination and figure out the rest of the story. Or do I need to do a "Paul Harvey?" Of course, we all piled back in the rig and drove back to Lincoln City (about 13 miles) to the all-night hamburger joint (just north of Taft - wonder if it's still there!) and fixed her right up! She had a Coke, too. :o)
First of all, I have to attest to the miracle that happened that night. And thank You, Father, for the plans that You had for my daughter, and how the enemy's plans were thwarted that night. I have always also wondered if that fall had something to do with what made my daughter so incredibly smart! As she grew, I really thought she was going to be a lawyer and introduced her at one point to a rather well-known attorney who advocated for kids in our fair city and conducted a TAG class / proxy court for young teens to learn about the law. She's such a wise, extremely intelligent, negotiator! I'm glad she's in my corner against the world! I love you Daughter!
So,,, here we are,,,,and back to Bump's own story.
My husband, as I mentioned, was a woodsman. He always had a job, but he loved to cut firewood on the side. Many's the time we rolled together in one of those old fine rigs into the mountains on some permitted BLM land to cut down trees, chop them up into cordwood, and load that truck to perfectly stacked capacity. Only then would we offload that wood into a giant pile and reload it again with what we called a "throw-on" load. We usually would get three "throw-on" loads out of one trip to the mountains. He sold each one for $85 at the time. It was good work and the whole family participated in one way or another.
As I also mentioned at the beginning of this tale, Bump always rode with my husband and my son to the woods and back.
And as I mentioned too, we were living on the coast in Oregon at the time of this part of the story. We lived in a big ol' two story house, bedrooms upstairs, a boiler turned into a wood-burning stove downstairs in the living room to heat the place. Brother, did I know how to make a good fire.My husband taught me, using the firewood he cut, of course. First start with some fir - burns hot and fast, makes a bed of fiery coals. Then top it with a cross-hatched stack of green alder. I could stack that stove up to it's very tip top with green alder and that sucker would burn allllll night long! Kept our house toasty even in the coldest winter months, and left me a nice bed of hot coals with which to start the morning fire all over again.
And Bump,,,,well, Bump would climb up on the couch in that toasty living room every night after we'd all gone to bed and sleep there. That big' old yellow dog! And every morning when I woke up, I was the first one down the stairs to go put on the coffee for breakfast. The first thing I would do as I was coming down the stairs, seeing ol' Bump on the couch again....was to yell, "BUMP, get off the couch!" Of course, I knew he had been there all night, but still,,,,it was my God-given duty to get that big ol' yellow dog off our sittin' couch, please!
My husband came home from the woods this one day, this one really unhappy day. There was no load of wood in the back of the truck. No. It hurts still, to this day, to say this....No...Bump was in the back of the truck. And Bump was gone. I didn't have to ask my husband what happened. He told us. He said, "I was felling a tree, an alder, and Bump....well, Bump zigged when he should have zagged." He said, "I held him and I watched the life-light go out of his eyes."
Bump was a good dog. We buried him there by the sea in Oregon that afternoon. We cried our tears....funny, there are some even now as I revisit this memory....and the "Paul Harvey" of this story you can also probably figure out.
The next morning, as I came down the stairs, I yelled out loud, "BUMP, get off the...." and with a catch in my throat, I swallowed back the rest of those words, and realized Bump really wasn't there anymore to yell at.