A. J. Windless
   
         
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My collie mix, Bee Jay, walking along the gas pipeline that cuts through the Pennsylvania forest.
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Running From the Dog
   
         
   
I loved our dog, Bee Jay, whom had a similar look to Tecumseh, and whom I had already referred to when I said that I was sure Tecumseh was my previous dog reincarnated. I used to play hide and seek with him. I would run up into the woods and run into our abandoned chicken coop, beautiful collie mix right on my heels, then hop the fence. Bee Jay would usually stand there and watch for a few seconds before turning around and running out the gate behind him. This would give me a head start so that I had time to hide. I usually ran around the house and hid on the opposite side, but the last time I did that Bee Jay surprised me. Rather than following me as he usually did, he came around the opposite way to head me off. When I saw him approaching I tried to quickly dive behind one of our blue spruce trees, only to impact my knee on the turn off valve for the water pipe, which was hidden in the grass at ground level. My mother took me to the hospital. Fortunately nothing was broken, but I did have eleven stitches across the bottom of my knee. This happened only a month before the start of cross country season and my biggest concern was whether or not I would be able to run in September. The doctor assured me that in a month I would be able to start running again.

Cross country season started out the same way as the previous year, with 4 straight team victories and no losses, all first place finishes by Andy Sorg, while twice I placed second, and twice I placed third. What was different this year was that we added two post season meets, the Erie Diocese meet and the Catholic state meet. We won the diocese meet with Andy setting a new course record while I finsished 4th.

I will never forget the state meet. In the the three years that I ran track and cross country with him, I couldn't remember anyone ever beating Andy Sorg except his older brother, Jake, whom had long since graduated. But some of us had a good chuckle when Andy got a look at the list of runners they handed out. Ahead of Andy was a runner from "big city" Pittsburgh. I am not sure how they could even determine who gets the number one spot. Every cross country course was different and it would be hard to compare times. It was long before the internet, so I doubt they went through the trouble to dig up comparable two mile times from the previous track season. But there he was, listed as the favorite ahead of Andy. What really demoralized poor Andy was that this guy's name was "Peter Christ." This was the Catholic meet, and Peter was considered the first pope of the church, while Christ was the son of God. Andy responded as if this were judgement day and the race was already over. I don't know whether he was just putting on a show to get a chuckle out of us or not, but I wouldn't be surprised if he really was psyched out. He was accustomed to being a big fish in a small pond, now all of a sudden he was up against some of the best in the state. He did lose that day, though I can't find in my scrapbook what place he finished. I did find in my book that I had placed 41st. I was both surprised and a little skeptical. Just five months earlier I had finished 3rd in the two mile run at the Catholic state meet, and nothing unusual had happened during this latest race. If I had been sick or injured, I would remember that. But having found that dubious finish written on yet a second page in my scrapbook, I guess I'm going to I have to live with it (smiles and chuckles.)

Above: My dog, Bee Jay, walks along the gas pipeline at Geotz Summit, the same pipeline that I have talked about in some of my other stories and photos. Originally captured on color slide film back in the late 70's, I had a shop here in Thailand scan the slide for me. It looks fine on my iMac, but the colors look terribly bland on my laptop. I hope they look decent on your device!
   
         
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