Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Bob Dawson was a character who should have been in the movies. A most friendly guy with elegant white hair, Bob lived across the street from us when our kids were very young. Bob was never short of a story and entertained us with tales of gold mining in the Yukon along with some of his other exploits. He owned a big 'ole Cadillac that he kept parked in the front yard while he drove his old brown pickup truck.

One beautiful summer evening he was walking around the neighborhood visiting with whoever was out and about. Wearing a golf shirt, dress shorts and white golf shoes, Bob had a real presence. As he moved around from house to house, yard to yard, chatting away, he had in his hand a cup of tea. The cup had the string of the tea bag hanging over the edge. I was watching him make the rounds of the neighborhood when I noticed the most hilarious sight. There hanging down from one of his legs was an extra pair of underwear. He had obviously forgotten to take the old pair out of his shorts when he pulled them off the night before. In the morning he had managed to get one leg through the proper hole. Wearing three pairs of shorts, he was as happy as a lark. Sipping his tea, he was completely oblivious to his wardrobe, although those that visited with him must have wondered what the latest fashion was that Bob was wearing that day. When it came time for Bob to move on, he approached us about renting his house. Dubbing it the "Dawson House", we were thrilled with the added space for our growing family.

One Sunday morning in June we were getting ready for church and I went out to start the car. That morning was particularly hot and I thought I would get the air conditioning going before we loaded the three kids into their car seats. As I approached the door, I looked down to see a body lying face down in the front seat. Dressed only in a pair of pants with no belt, the lifeless figure didn't budge as I opened the door. Suddenly I thought, "What if this person is dead?" I ran back inside to get Cathy and see what we should do. I thought maybe we should call the police. She came outside with me to look at the scene and determined that all this person needed was to wake up. Showing a great deal more bravery than myself she started shaking his shoulder and yelling, "Hey, wake up, wake up!". Eventually the body began to stir. Cathy asked, "What are you doing in our car?" Appearing to be in a great deal of confusion, the young guy slowly sat up. With a most bewildered look on his face, he told us that he thought he was at his friend's house. When he had tried to get into the house the previous night, the door was locked. You can imagine the look on Cathy's face when she realized that had our door not been locked, he might have been sleeping in one of our beds! Needing a place to sleep he had decided to lay down in our unlocked car.

He asked us where Alan McLeary lived. We told him we had never heard of the McLearys. He had no wallet or ID and seemed completely clueless as to where he was or how he got there. As he started to stand up you could see the impression of the car seat fabric over his body. It was obvious he hadn't moved in quite a few hours! "Where am I?", the stranger asked. I told him he was in Three Hills. That didn't seem to ring a bell with him. He asked a couple of other questions and we realized that this guy was not from our town and had not willingly come to visit. He started to walk down the street towards the highway. I offered to call someone for him, but he ignored me and kept on going, staggering down the street. It was evident that his "friends" had gotten him plastered and just dropped him off in a foreign town to fend for himself.

So if you see a guy walking around your town in a bit of a daze, with no shoes and no shirt, please give him some service . . . and keep your cars locked!


© 2010 Stephen J. Rendall - All rights reserved.

1 comment:

  1. Good 'ol Bob.... He and Fred Pachta used to come and stand around outside my house, as near the windows as they could, and usually near dinner time. When I asked them in for a dinner which hadn't been prepared yet, or even thought about, they hum-hoed, dug their toes into the grass, looked down... but only for a millisecond before answering, "well, if it's not too much trouble, which it was - but they were the only friends I had, and besides, Fred had been carving what looked liked penises - I think they were supposed to be mushrooms - for my yard, and I felt honored to have these 2 foot penises in my yard.... so that meant we were friends.

    Bob insisted that I go to his men's association dinner, or whatever it was called - a bunch of play boys if you ask me. But he was sure I would receive the gift of tongues, whatever that meant. So I went. In those days I was still quite bashful, though not so much around them. When it came time to receive the gift of tongues, I valiantly "went forward", at the insistence of Bob and let them pray for me to receive my "gift". Nothing came out. Bob told me to just open my mouth and the "words" would flow. So I opened my mouth. Nothing. I stood there with an open mouth, surrounded by the dudes who had made me yard penises... and nothing happened. The other men told me I was hard hearted. I cried. I didn't want to be hard hearted, and knew I wasn't. I'd really wanted to do something for these ragamuffins old dudes who hung about PBI with nothing much to do except peek in the windows of a young single mom's lonely, but huge and hopeful heart.

    I miss those guys. Not too long ago, I had a brief run-in with Bob's youngest son who was very disgruntled that I would tell him something so obviously untrue - that his "God-fearing" father would hang around looking in the windows of a much younger woman .... not caring that these older dudes were my best friends, and only friends during that time and even though they've been gone a long time, they were still my best friends. Nobody else hung around outside my house at dinner time, or brought me yard penises...