Putting an old, trusted friend out to pasture

June 13, 2012 

She was getting up in years, slowing down a bit and had a few scars here and there like we all do, but I had hoped we’d be able to spend a few more good years together before she’d need to go to one of those places where all old girls eventually end up.

We’d had what I guess you’d call a “quality relationship,” never demanding too much from each other as the years took their toll. I wasn’t as agile or quick as I once was and she seemed to know that, backing off at the right time and making life easier for both of us. She had no idea what had been going through my mind for several years, a secret that was easy to keep because of the hurt I knew one of us would experience when the truth came out. She deserved better. Shoot, we both deserved better.

I’ll admit I had been looking around, feeling my secret was safe as I had visited “those” places when she had no idea as to my whereabouts. They all looked the same. Newness wherever one looked and temptation where there should have been guilt.

I had also seen what was at the end of the line for both of us. Security fences, hopelessness, a feeling that our best years were behind us and whatever happened was out of our control. The stench of worn out parts that could never be replaced, even with today’s modern technology. Worn out old girls and others who looked as though they wondered what in the world happened -- how did they ended up in such a place as they yearned for their youth.

The last time I had seen her, she was sitting under a palm tree in the front yard. She looked as good as the first day we met. I can take a little credit for that, having spent many a weekend seeing to her every need, making sure she was full and ready for another day of discovery and adventure. I drove off feeling good, knowing we’d be together again, taking in the beach, the bay and visiting places only she and I had been. She liked to follow, preferring I lead the way on our travels, and I was perfectly OK with that. Leading was just not one of her things and I never heard her complain a single time about where we went.

She followed me day or night, sometimes in the rain to mosquito-infested campgrounds or down dirt roads leading to a lake where we could relax and find some solitude from the world of work. She was always perfectly content to just be there, near the truck, near me.

Sometimes (on rare occasions) I would feel the need, a burning desire actually, to lock her up in order to make sure no one but me would be able to enjoy her company. In fact, on this particular day, I had chained her to a tree. Oh, I know that sounds cruel, maybe even inhumane, but it seemed the right thing to do at the time and she never before complained about the restriction. Maybe it made her feel safer. Well, some low rent scalawag took it upon himself to cut that chain, haul her off to the woods, cover her with pine straw and steal her identity.

She was my Sea Doo, and if not for the beach police, she would probably be in a hundred different pieces by now or floating in a river south of the border. A good Samaritan discovered her, languishing on her trailer in a most disreputable part of town. I asked the police why anyone would want to steal something obviously loved and cared for by another person and they replied, “Because they could.” Secure your loved ones folks, these are hard economic times.

Sonny Harmon is an educator at Georgia Military College. Visit his blog at http://sharmon09.blogspot.com.

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