Today was another hot Colorado day blue skies and thunder heads and purple mountain majesties with their snowpack melting and the river running brown and frothy and close to flood stage. While there are lots of places to go in our town to escape the beating sun and sweltering heat, the park by the catholic church with the perfectly shaped spire and cross and the best swing sets in town is our fav.
We don’t know its name, or more correctly we do know its name but we forgot what mental file we put it in – but we go there often. The public library is less than a block away and access to the river walk trail just a few hundred yards give or take. The park has shiny new swing sets and it’s one of the few playgrounds to have swings that don’t grip your hips so tight you feel like your in the grasp of a giant spider. (Yes, we have been re-reading Harry Potter). Not comfortable – no fun to stretch back hang your head and fly! The park is lovely and it is one of our favorite places to spend a hot July afternoon under the deep shade of hundreds of year old trees and that’s where we were today when we met White Fox.
White Fox (the only name he offered) has a small, one person camper hooked to a weathered looking Dodge van with colorful political decals and two pure white dogs named “Love” and “Beau,” a couple of well used and comfy yard chairs, a cooler with cold water and a thirst for gab. “So, listen here. I was a chopper pilot in Nam, got shot down and fucked up my back pretty good. Army fixed it and I went back and next thing I know I’m waking up in a hospital and they’re telling me something malfunctioned on the chopper and they gotta mess with my back again.”
“Man, after that second operation I was in so much pain I couldn’t stand it. One night I was writhing in agony and I started to pray. I told god that if I had to live like this that I didn’t wanna and if I could never get strong again I’d just go crawl off and die somewhere like the low down dog I felt to be.” “Then Love came into my life, he beamed and reaching down started scratching the ears of Love. “See, I didn’t get in at first. First when Love came into my life I was still bitching an moaning about how awful life is, about how unfair life is, about how messed up my life was, about how I’d been a fuck up most of my life.” And as he talked, we found ourselves nodding in agreement to just about everything he shared.
“I was thick headed you know man? I didn’t see what god was up to when god sent Love into my life. Then you know what, just a month or so ago I was in a coffee shop in Cortez and a guy walked in sat down, we started talking and the next thing I knew I’d got myself another dog for the price of a cup of coffee. Bo is his name – spelled Beau.” I reached down and scratched Beau’s belly making his front legs paw excitedly, and nodded at White Fox who went on. “God saw that one wasn’t doing me any good so he sent me another dog . Now I have two and when I walk, holding them on either side of me I’ll be damned if they don’t make me stand up straight and force me to lean and pull back – making me stronger. ” He laughed. “Yes sir I tell you these dogs have gotten me back on my feet and back on the road quicker then any doctor or operation or pills or jack shit.”
We held out my hand and introduced ourself as Robert and thanked White Fox for the cool water, the shade, the gab and the ear scratching of Love and the belly fur of Beau. “We’ll see you around, we said as we turned back to our car, “I might be in DC taking the protest for life to the streets!” He shouted back, “but if I’m not your welcome to park your ass in my shade and hang out with me and Love, and Beau and God anytime.”
I surely will.