Jeepers can tell that something is up. He’s walking around the cabin with his tail slung low, and he keeps looking over his shoulder and shooting me looks like he’s in trouble. I tell him it’s okay, but he’s smarter than that. That faithful lab has seen me go through my fits before and he’ll probably see me go through even more before it’s all said and done.
April 15. It snowed again last night. Dammit. The days are getting longer, and yes, the calendar says it’s spring, but apparently we didn’t get the memo up here. We’re supposed to have a high of 20F today.
That’s it. I am so done. Ain’t natural for people to live this way and I’m not spending one more day freezing my tail-feathers in this God-forsaken place. This is what Jeepers can sense. This is what has gotten his radar going.
The obvious question to ask is, “Where am I going?”
The crazy answer is that I have no idea.
I do know however, exactly how to figure out where my new home will be.
“C’mon, boy.” I threw on my coat and headed for the door. Jeepers brightened a bit and scurried out the door, tail wags and the spring in his step giving his true feelings away. He wasn’t just excited about going outside, he was excited about what was about to take place.
The cold air hit my nostrils like a blade. The low clouds threatened snow at any minute and there was just enough wind to help make things a little colder, a little more challenging.
I reached into the bed of the pickup and grabbed the bungees. Tossing them towards the front of the old Ford, I turned and went to the side of the cabin and grabbed the damned thing. I knew it was going to be a long trip so I spent the time to make sure it was strapped good and tight to the grille.
The truck had been warming up and I’d gone into the cabin and retrieved my earthly possessions and Jeepers’ food and water dishes. I took one last look around, called Jeeps into the front of the truck and put it into gear.
The only plan I had was to drive south. The south, where April truly IS spring.
Jeeps and I drove for many days. I lost track of just how many. All I know is that with each mile, with each degree rise on the thermometer, I felt my soul awaken and become more alive.
I knew when we would finally stop. As soon as the question was asked, I would know we were home.
Sometime in the first week in May, I stopped for gas at a little Mom and Pop store deep inside South Carolina. I came outside after paying and getting some beef jerky for me and Jeeps.
There, standing in front of the truck, was a man wearing dirty jeans and a RedMan ball cap. He was staring at the grille and literally scratching his head.
“Mister, is this your truck?”
“Yeah, it is, why?”
“I need to ask you a question.”
My eyes grew wide and my heartbeat kicked up a notch. “Sure.”
“What IS that thing strapped to the front of your truck?”
My eyes watered a bit. I knew we had found our new home.
I grinned a big one.
“That, my friend, is a snow shovel.”