We went everywhere together.
My one friend lived down a gravel road about a half a mile from my house.
We would walk down there often.
Woods on both sides of the road and a few sporadic houses.
Some girls from school on the right side a short ways down amongst a few houses and an old widow farther down in an old smaller house on the left side.
Just past her house it was woods and gravel road the rest of the way.
Pine and Alder and Maple Trees and a lot of brush and blackberry vines and old fallen down trees with moss on them and brush in general.
Always a lot of ferns and blackberries in Washington.
You could get through the woods pretty good but sometimes you had to work at it.
This was on West Hill up above Algona in Washington State.
About fifteen miles south of Seattle.
Auburn, Washington was our address.
Overlooking the Green River Valley.
We had a great view of the whole valley.
Miles and miles and Mount Rainer to the south.
I never did see a deer in our woods but we had a lot of the smaller animals.
Ponds and lakes.
Puget Sound and ships from Seattle to Tacoma farther west a couple of miles.
Spider Lake, an old logging lake.
By my house.
Maybe a ten or twenty acre lake.
Mostly bog and swamp all around it.
Huge old tree logs laid over in the water.
Reaching in from the edge to about twenty feet or more out.
Old rotting logs but still pretty solid.
Pine with the tops all gone and what was left of the tops underwater.
Frogs and catfish.
Just small catfish about six inches and under but a lot of them.
Catch them on worms after dark they would come out.
Eight inches would be a big one.
Tadpoles as big as your thumb.
Thousands of them, or at least hundreds.
A lot of small frogs too.
We could reach in the muck under the logs that were laying onto the water and catch them.
There wasn't much to do with them so we usually let them go.
Ruffled Grouse lived in the brush and walked around like chickens on the ground sometimes.
Roosting in the trees at night.
A lot of different ducks and geese and coots on the lake and in the ponds at different times.
So me and Laddie would walk down this gravel road to our friends house.
Sometimes we would go into the woods and pick some blackberries or strawberries.
Wild strawberries are about as big as a pea and not very many of them.
Really good though.
Wild raspberries about the same.
There was also a smaller blackberry that branched out closer to the ground rather than the huge heaps the other and most common variety held.
They were great tasting too.
The big ones would fill up whole fields and woods with with big bunches of vines high as a grown human.
You couldn't get through those.
The ferns made good spears and the maple good sling shots.
I spent a lot of time in those woods and the hills over looking the valley.
That's where I grew up.
Six to sixteen.
Probably the best ten years of my life.
Like most people.
It's all great but there is nothing like our school years.
We are so young and full of life.
About anytime we would walk down that road a rabbit would come out and sit in the middle of the road.
Always the same one.
He knew Laddie would chase him and that he would get away.
It was a big game and a big sport to him.
Me and Laddie too.
We knew he would be there when we came around the bend and a little rise in the road and then a long flat stretch where the rabbit would stand in the middle of the road always.
We would non chalently pretend we weren't looking and didn't see him trying to get a little closer.
Sometimes it almost worked.
Once or twice Laddie got within inches of having him.
He would have been dead meat if Laddie caught him.
Laddie was a FIGHTING SON OF A BITCH.
Full grown and a good sized dog.
He looked more collie than he was.
A long coat and Lassie coloring.
He was statured heaver than a collie though and didn't have as pointed a nose.
Thicker and blunter.
A good looking dog.
Healthy as hell.
We had his mother Bonnie and she had a litter of puppies.
I got to keep Laddie.
We found a home for Bonnie and the rest of the puppies and kept laddie.
So there sits that rabbit and were pretending we don't see him and Laddie is slowly scrunching down and stretching out getting ready for what he know's will be a run for it.
The rabbit makes a move and laddie is gone.
First down the road as the rabbit enters the ditch and into the woods and laddie right after him.
Hell bent and with everything he had.
The rabbit full out too.
He knew laddie was not to be messed with to closely.
You could hear them in the woods going wide open.
The rabbit had made it to one of his holes where laddie couldn't get at him.
After awhile laddie would come out all exhausted with his tounge hanging out but having enjoyed the chase and looking for our next adventure.
We had many.
Thousands for about ten years.
I was about fifteen or sixteen and had my own car and we had taken a weekend trip down to Portland, Oregon to see my moms sister and family.
Mom and Dad and I and my two little brothers.
We would usually go down there and visit about once or twice a year.
A hundred and sixty miles.
We got home and laddie was gone.
We didn't pay a whole lot of attention at first because laddie often would be gone for days and days at a time running and fighting with other dogs and mating and running in packs I'm sure.
He would come home a mass of blood sometimes and lay under the shed for weeks getting well.
I would bring him food and water.
There were a lot of big dogs in our neighborhood and laddie fought them all.
He liked to fight if that was what was called for and it usually was.
He was always getting challenged and he fought them all.
Big, bad dogs.
He was big too of course.
As big as they were.
Tough and in his prime.
Laddie never came home.
We never knew what happened to him.
I have always wished that I had went to the pound but I don't think they would have had him.
I think he got killed fighting and couldn't make it home.
So Laddie taught me how to eat.
You wolf it down in one tenth of a second.
I used to say to him, Jesus laddie
You don't even get to taste it.
But he didn't care.
He wanted it in his belly.
He would enjoy it there.
Alert and seeing if there was more.
Human food I'm talking about.
Meat from my hand.
He always liked to eat his dog food and would eat it however robustly or hungry he was.
Always keeping an eye out for something that might take his food.
There hardly ever was anything that would.
Laddie liked his water too.
So all of this savoring and seasoning and taste sensation is a bunch of bullshit.
Getting that food into your belly is what counts.
Now your fed you got plenty of other things to enjoy and besides that it feels good in your belly.
We have way over glamorized our food and eating.
Feeding our addictions.
We eat, we sleep, we shit.
We enjoy all of them.
This connoisseur, gourmet, sophistication and dining and savoring our food and drink and culture, is all a bunch of bullshit.
Right out of the stimulated kingdoms.
Addicted, stimulated kingdoms.
Stimulated out of their fucking minds.
Sure we enjoy our food and water.
Get your food and water in your belly and enjoy life.
Fuck those advertisements.