|photo by rikki's refuge|
So my first childhood story. I don't know how much is my own memory and how much my mother and grandmother told me.
When I was three, our landlord owned an aggressive hound named Roland. He had to be chained because he jumped for people's throats. He loved our landlord and was not aggressive with him.
I loved Roland. My mother did not think I was old enough for a pet, so all I had was Roland. I was small, Roland was large for a hound. Of course, no one knew I played with him regularly until my mother came home from class (she attended college on the GI bill) and saw me riding him around his yard. I was told never to do that again, but of course, I did.
I was given a child's croquet set for my third birthday. I was not impressed with croquet, but I did like hitting things with the small croquet mallet, a stick about a foot long with a small spool sized, balsa wood end.
Roland and I developed a new game. I would pound him over the head with the mallet until he grew tired. Roland then would seize the stick in his mouth to make me stop. I would hang on to the mallet and he would hold on too. We would stand for some time until Roland released the stick and I would pound him again. He was free to move away at anytime, but he never did. We always stood in the same place in his yard. I don't know how often we played the game. I just remembering standing with him holding my end of the mallet several times.
One day, my mother saw us. I don't know what upset her more: the fact her child was beating an animal or that her child was aggravating a dog with a proven bite record. She called to me. I tugged on the mallet and Roland released it as I knew he would. I went to her. She scolded me for hitting Roland and took the mallet away. I never saw it again. I was told to stay away from Roland. I did for the rest of that day.
We moved within that year to married student housing for the University of Texas. My dad had divorced my mother and married another woman when I was one. I do not remember seeing him ever. My paternal grandmother had moved in with my mother to help her financially and care for me while mother went to college. So the "we" is my paternal grandmother, my mother, and me..
Sometime after we moved, Roland bit someone quite badly and was put down. I think he was simply shot. I did not find out about his death until several years later.
I will always remember Roland, my first dog.