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Thanksgiving Stories: Encounters With Miracles

By       Message Mark Sashine       (Page 3 of 5 pages) Become a premium member to see this article and all articles as one long page.     Permalink

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  1. Dogs   In   The Fall


  This   happened to me in 1972   in the former   country of mine, Russia. I was 16 years' old and   it was a   deep   fall. I was alone   in our   "community garden',   removing   the electric water pump from the well.   In those times   organizations   were assigned parcels   of land which were divided among   the employees, approximately   4000ft^2 per family to   erect a   summer   cottage, grow fruits and vegetables, spend time with the kids.   The organizational   parcels   were surrounded   by fences with gates but inside there were no   walls between the   family areas except that people planted all kinds of bushes.   The parcels were down the river from the city;   you had to   go for about an hour by the ferry and then- disembark and walk for an hour   to   reach the destination. There were no paved roads, only    gravel lanes and makeshift bridges over the streams. Those with the cars were the   lucky ones but   most of us never had a car at those times.   I came alone, late in the fall, several weeks before the   navigation   stopped for winter. I   loved n   those   days of   silence. It was a weekday (did I mention that I skipped school) and   then   the place was truly deserted.   I unpacked, picked   the   remaining apples from the trees and proceeded   to unscrew the electric pump from the suction tube. Electricity was   there   through winter but nobody would go there in the frost.     I   took off the pump and was   plugging the tube when I felt that someone else was there with me   at my place. In fact,   not just someone else but a group of strangers. A pack of dogs, about ten of them were standing quietly behind me, watching for a while.


People abandoned their dogs routinely. In summer they would pick up a puppy to play and in the fall they would realize that they could not keep it. The abandoned     dogs would   form packs and roam the countryside. Eventually they all would end dead; country people would kill them in winter. But it was fall. And     here they were, between me and    the cottage. They entered through the open gate, ten mongrels, the leader being a rather ugly mutt- a combination of a Mastiff and maybe a Labrador.   He was big.   And he was looking me straight into the face. No fear and no subservience.

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I stood there looking at them desperately trying to keep cool and not get scared.   The leader was growling     quietly   but so far the dogs did not look angry. They looked   more   like confused. But they surely looked hungry and   I was the only meal around. Even if I could maneuver myself to the cottage, I was stuck there     with nothing but apples,     even without water because water was here,   in the well with the manual pump remaining. Water? I looked at the   leader     again:; he seemed   wanting to tell me something.


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-           Do   you want water?- I asked.


The leader growled in   a     somewhat different tune and licked    the wet grass around the pump.


-           Ok.- I said. "I   need to get the barrel."


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I moved slowly towards the cottage and the   dogs   didn't seem to mind. I pulled out a   flat aluminum barrel, the one we used   for laundry, placed it under the pump   discharge and started to pump manually. In about     10 minutes the barrel was filled with crispy water.   I stopped and said,


-           Help yourself.

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The writer is 57 years old, semi- retired engineer, PhD, PE, CEM. I write fiction on a regular basis and I am also 10 years on OEN.

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