Old Blue Got Run Over by A Coal Truck on Christmas
Old Blue went everywhere I went. If I rested in the early spring orange sagebrush on the side of old Render Hill, half mile back of our farm, up next to the woods, Old Blue rested by my side. We watched the clouds shapeshift. When I talked Old Blue listened. When Old Blue talked I listened; True friends. Blood brothers. Through the woods, across the fields, over the creeks, down the dirt the gravel roads, whether I was on foot or horse or bicycle, Old Blue was always by my side, with me, one. Old Blue was a huntin dog, the best. I loved Old Blue. Old Blue loved me. Blood brothers. One. One of the best blood brother friends I’d ever had.
One Christmas, when I was 10, Old Blue got run over by a coal truck.
To this day the coal trucks never stop runnin. They all run too fast. They’re always runnin overload spillin huge lumps of coal from here to Kingdom Come. Can’t count the times I dodged flyin lumps of coal. Big enough to kill anybody. And to this day they still tear the roads up. But nobody ever stops them or slows them down. Nobody ever does anything about them.
Old Blue drug himself into a thicket cross the road from our old farmhouse. He’d made the thicket his home. I crawled in with him. Every day for a week I took him water and food. He drank a little water but he wouldn’t eat. I tried everything to encourage him to eat at least a little. But he wouldn’t. He tried but couldn’t. Old Blue stared deep into my eyes. I stared deep into his. A deep knowin look. The saddest most pitiful eyes I’d ever seen. Ripped my heart apart.
I stayed with him the entire week cept when I had to do my chores and at night when it got too cold. I found an old wore out blanket in the utility room and wrapped him in that tryin to keep him warm. But nothin stopped him from shiverin.
Old Blue died in my arms, last day of the year, New Year’s Eve. Tore me up. I held him and talked with him and cried a river of heartbroken tears. Lost a member of my family.
Old Blue. Blood brother.
Growin up on a Kentucky farm, in the heart of coal mining country, was a gift, a gift beyond measure beyond words. Growin up I had 23 dogs. Every one a close friend. Every last one of my friends got run over by coal trucks.
copyright (c) 2007 & 2012 Ron Whitehead. Earlier version in Ron’s THE WANDERER book
“believe what you must whatever you choose to believe is okay by me. i choose to be a non-violent celtic viking hillbilly desert wizard shaman warrior poet. i am hopeful of everything yet i expect nothing. i have no complaints only thanks. failure has been is and will be my greatest success. failure has been given, by modern society, a bad name. it is the best teacher. i am forever imperfect. imperfection is the only perfection i know. yet i continually strive to share as much light as i possibly can. today is a good day to die. today is a good day to live. this is the code i live by. now and forever.” — Ron Whitehead