I was supposed to get up this morning and run with my Gym Cousin. But, I fell asleep on the couch last night and forgot to set my alarm. I was lucky that my internal biological clock woke me up early enough that I wasn’t late for work. All day I reminded myself that I must work out this evening, and I took a short walk on my lunch break. I came home and cooked steak and eggs for dinner. I let my dinner digest while I watched Wheel of Fortune and talked to my Big Little Sister on the phone. My Niece just turned SIX can you believe it?! She asked me for Mickey Mouse stuff, which was much easier to buy than the real live horse present that she previously asked me to buy for her.
I still can’t find my iPod or my Nike Tracker. So, I downloaded the MapMyRun app to my phone. I grabbed my semi frozen water bottle from the freezer and told the very excited Nyah that we were going for a walk. It was going to be dark in about an hour because I let the sun go down some to cool off the humid 93 degree afternoon. I wanted to try the new walking/biking path that they paved near my house. Even though the path is nice and new, the neighborhood is still very much “the hood”. When I was about a block from my house I found a big stick and picked it up because my Dad always taught me to take an “Act a Fool Stick” when walking with the dog. That is for protection, just in case an unwelcome stray dog or stray crack head tries to approach you. The stick was dirty, I didn’t want to touch it, but I carried it anyway, despite the fact that I’ve never needed it in the past.
The pathway looked great, at one point all of the gardening and plants and sculptures almost made you forget that you were in the hood. It was actually a pretty scenery. I ran into a lady with her small dog and another guy with his pit-bull, but both were on a leash. Nyah was tired in her old age and I was getting a little sweaty. When I got near my Shopping Cousin’s house, she was standing on the porch. She came down to the sidewalk and greeted me and Nyah. Her typically sweet and sometimes lazy pit-bull named “Rage” looked at us pretty jealous and angry through the glass front door. My cousin told me that she wanted to walk with me in our neighborhood, but she was too afraid of stray dogs. I told her that was exactly why I had my “Act a Fool Stick.” If somebody or something wants to act crazy with me, I’m prepared to act crazy right back. Rage was getting increasingly antsy, so we said our goodbyes. I almost threw down the dirty tree branch since Nyah and I were close enough to see my front yard. But then I decided, that I might as well hold onto it. When I got to the end of the block I turned around behind me and saw Rage charging and galloping at Nyah and I in full force! She had escaped from the house. Holy crap!! My mind was racing , but I was able to think clearly. I instantly realized that one of my worst fears about walking through the hood was coming true right before my eyes. Except, it wasn’t a stray dog, it was my cousins family pet.
I had to think fast, both my fight and flight instincts were flaring up. Flight won, I started running toward an old red beat up pick up truck and I decided that I would jump in the back and lift Nyah in there with me. Then, I would fight if necessary. I told myself, you can lift more than 135 pounds, so you can throw your 65 pound dog in the truck to safety. But, Rage got to us at the same time that we got to the pick up truck. I totally did not want to beat my cousins dog with the stick. But I also did not want me or my fur baby to be torn to shreds by a jealous pit bull. Rage grabbed Nyah by the neck, and Nyah wrestled her off. I screamed “No!”and “Stop!” at both of them. Rage kind of stopped when she heard me say her name and a few seconds later my Shopping Cousin’s husband had reached us. He was able to reach in and grab Rage and make her stop fairly quickly, since she’s normally a well-trained house dog. In all the chaos I had dropped my water bottle, but I didn’t drop Nyah or the Act a Fool stick. Luckily, No person or dog was injured and I didn’t have to use the stick. Me and Nyah walked another block or so and made it home safely, with our hearts beating faster than they had during the entire 2 mile walk. My little sister called and I told her that we were chased by a pitbull and she said instantly “You were on those new trails weren’t you?! Don’t you know we don’t live in a nice gated community? This is still the hood even though they are making it look pretty!” I had to laugh, because she was right, even though it wasn’t a stray dog that chased us. I had enough hood adventures, I’ll stick to the gym or Forest Park. So, the lesson of the day is listen to your Daddy’s advice, and take an Act a Fool stick if you walk alone in the hood.