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An Old Man And His Dog

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Message Doug Soderstrom

Just an old man,
All alone in the world,
Everyone gone,
Except for his dog,
His best friend,
His only friend.

A world away,
A young man,
A teenager,
Not a bad boy,
Like all the others,
Like all the others,
So tired of being,
Treated like a child,
Wanting to be grown up,
Yet so afraid to be a man,
So afraid of life,
So afraid of everything,
So many reasons to be upset,
And angry.

Family vacation,
On the way,
To Florida,
And driving,
Through Mississippi.

Mail having arrived,
Perhaps a letter,
From his son,
Perhaps not,
The old man,
In overalls,
Grey hair waving in the wind,
His best friend,
At his side.

Crossing the road,
To pick up the mail,
His trusty friend,
As always,
Patiently awaiting,
His master's return.

What's that damn dog,
Doing in the road?

Metal and flesh meet.

My God,
What have you done,
You didn't even try to slow down,
Didn't you see the dog,
What's the matter with you?

It wasn't my fault,
That damn dog had no right,
To be in the road,
Don't you understand,
He was in my way,
So let's just forget about it.

In the rearview mirror,
I saw the old man,
And I saw his dog,
Lying there,
In the road,
The old man's fist,
Rose to the sky,
No doubt,
Cursing at me.

For I had just killed,
His best friend.

But I drove on.

You see,
I was yet a young man,
And I did not understand.

There are so many things,
That a young man cannot understand.

But then,
As time would have its way,
I became an old man,
And now,
I do understand.

I understand,
The deep affection,
The intense loneliness,
Brought on,
By the death,
Of a friend.

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Doug Soderstrom is a retired Professor of Psychology having taught for forty-two years at the college level. He was a columnist for the Populist Party of America ( discontinued) and has been a feature writer for (more...)

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