Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Snowplows and Baron . . .

. . . Argued Often

New England has harsh winters as I no doubt have mentioned in past blogs. After much of my life living in Massachusetts, battling snowstorm after snowstorm, I opted for a warmer climate job in New Mexico, abetted by a wife who had slipped into a state of arthritis that threatened to make an wheelchair invalid of her.

Winter and snow brings forth memories of some of the storms we experienced and also of Baron Von Klenk, the family's pet German Shepherd. That name came out of the television series Hogan's Heros, in which a German prisoner of war camp chieftain bore that name.

I don't remember which kid named the dog but it was after that German officer and perhaps was linked to the fact the dog was a German Shepherd.
Whether or not Baron liked snow - he would play for hours catching snowballs thrown at him - he took a dislike to snow plows, snowblowers and snoweaters.

When the normal foot-deep snowstorms brought out the plows, Baron seemed dead against having the snow pushed aside in the streets of our neighborhood. He did his BEST to prevent Jimmy Dean from performing his job on Melrose Street.

Jimmy's plow relentless pushed the snow aside anyway even with Baron in front of the plow, sometimes himself flying (gently) into a roadside snow pile.

I frequently used an Ariens snowblower to clear the slanting driveway on our hill, Baron's hill. If he objected to that, a swift turn of the chute in his direction sent him packing after the first pass. Thereafter he tolerated me and the snowblower.

Baron especially would get angry on Park Street when the town's snoweater began getting plowed snowpiles scooped up into waiting trucks which then took the snow to the Hoosic River channel for dumping.

The snoweater was a machine chewing into the plies at roadside and sending the snow by chute into accompanying trucks. Baron, generally accepted as a friend by police, firemen and street department employees was at this time "persona-non-grata".

The dog actually DID prevent the loading of snow into trucks because the operator of the loader was afraid Baron, standing and barking furiously directly in front of the snoweater, would get caught in the rotating screws that captured the snow and moved it into the chute.

Police on a number of occasions would visit me at my nearby news office and "suggest" firmly that I corral Baron and take him up the hill from his snow patrol for a day's rest.

In the autumn months when leaves cluttered the streets and gutters and a similar machine gathered them up, Baron never objected, spending his time shepherding the watching children out of the way, one of the animal acts which endeared him to residents.

He was a protector of little children on the playground of Notre Dame School as well, often chasing away menacing other dogs.

But he was again "persona-non-grata" at the Adams Drug Store where invariably if he managed to get inside the store, his huge wagging tale undid tall triangular displays of soda cans, medical supplies and boxes of candy.

Many times manager Al Reid warned the family of his actions saying
"if this keeps up, one of these days you're going to have to pay!"

Baron, at our home on the hill in A Street, had a neighbor, George, also of the same breed. He and George were enemies, too, and often got into terrible fights when George meandered over the border onto Baron's hill. Baron was known as "king of the hill."

Our neighbor family ran a variety store at the foot of Melrose Street and because of the store's variety of goods, the Paquette family always had strings of firecrackers on hand - for a reason.

When a dog fight got going, a string was set afire and at an opportune moment was tossed under the dogs. The result: Instant peace.

There's many stories connected with Baron, considered the BEST neighbor in our downtown section of Adams.

You'll read more now and then from here or maybe from one of the kids.

- 30 -

1 comment:

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