A whimsical look at life growing up in the small town of Waldron, Arkansas in the 1960s and 1970s, plus occasional observations from the present. Want to start at the very beginning? Click HERE.





Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Black and White Dog

It's silly, really, to think that he was anything other than a stray, or maybe one of the mutts that run our neighborhood.  But I'd never seen him before, that black and white dog.  But at 2:00 a.m. this morning, when Marilyn and I came home from the hospital, there he sat on my front porch, guarding the front door like it belonged to him. 

Marilyn and I had had a nice evening, dinner with some friends; I was a bit preoccupied because I had asked my sister to keep me informed about Daddy; he was in the hospital in Waldron, seemed to be stable, but we weren't sure.  After dinner, my sister sent me a text that his condition had worsened and they were bringing him to Fort Smith in an ambulance. 

At the hospital, I could see how he had deteriorated since I had seen him the day before.  We discussed options with the surgeon, and decided to authorize exploratory surgery to see if we could find out why his abdomen was so hard and swollen.

The news wasn't good.  The doctors had found a tumor the size of a baseball on Daddy's pancreas.  It had spread throughout his abdomen.  There was no hope for recovery.

When Daddy was safely back in ICU, breathing with a vent, we left our brother Phil there and the rest of us went to our homes to get a few hours rest before we had to deal with what lay in store. 

Meanwhile, a black and white dog stationed himself on my front porch. 

He showed no desire to leave when we pulled up.  Exhausted, I told Marilyn to ignore him and hoped he would go away, but he didn't.  As I collapsed into bed, I suggested to Marilyn that he might be thirsty, and maybe we needed to put out some water for him to drink.  She did.  He appreciated it.

He was gone when we got up three hours later.  We went back to the hospital, all of us, and met with the doctor in charge of the hospice program.  He carefully explained what would happen.  And so, we gathered there, around Daddy's bed, along with the doctor, who stayed with us, and watched as Daddy's life ebbed away.  The monitor next to his bed told the story; his respiration and blood pressure slowly dropped until the machine could not register anymore, and the doctor looked at us and softly said, "He's gone." 

And we all felt a sense of peace.

So today, Albert Lee Yates, better known as "Abb," left us.  He was a good man. 

His main purpose in life, he felt, was to not cause anyone any trouble.  That's why he never once complained of any pain over the last few months while a tumor in his pancreas grew to the size of a baseball.  Abb Yates was a tough rascal.

And so, a chapter of my life ends today.  I knew it was coming; he was 89 years old.  But I've shed many, many more tears today than I thought I would.

And too, I think, the time has come to end Growing Up In Waldron.  I've been fortunate to get to share many memories with you; so many, in fact, that it's a struggle to come up with any new ones.  I got to put some of them into a book that I self-published, and I hope to put the rest of them into another sometime soon.  I've enjoyed tremendously the comments from people who have read this blog, and in particular I want to thank a couple of great bloggers, Jim Sullivan (Sulldog) and Uncle Skip, who have been so kind to link to this blog numerous times. 

So, I'm going to take a break from blogging for a while, but I may be back; I have a couple of ideas floating around. 

Now, back to that black and white dog.  I'm not into any of that New Age stuff, or Spiritualism, or any thing like that.  He was probably just a dog that happened by.  To make sure we got home okay. 

Like Daddy did.

8 comments:

  1. AnonymousMay 26, 2012

    Such a good story about a good daddy. I'm so sorry for your loss.

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  2. AnonymousMay 26, 2012

    Great story, God Bless your family in the loss of a very kind man.

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  3. AnonymousMay 26, 2012

    Wonderful story...and sorry to hear about oyour Dad. I will miss your blogs, but thanks for sharing them with us!

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  4. AnonymousMay 27, 2012

    BILLY, I'M SORRY TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR PRECIOUS DAD. I KNOW HE
    WILL BE MISSED, BUT DON'T YOU KNOW HE AND YOUR MOM ARE HAPPY TO BE REUNITED. I NEVER ONCE HEARD YOUR DAD COMPLAIN, I NEVER ONCE HEARD YOUR DAD SAY AN UNKIND WORD ABOUT ANYONE, TO MY KNOWLEDGE HE NEVER DAYS AND NIGHTS WORKING. OVER THE YEARS, I REMEMBER SEEING HIM COME IN TO EAT A BITE, WHEN THE WEATHER WAS TERRIBLE, HE'D HAVE ON HIS HEAVY KLETTED BOOTS, HIS TOOL BELT AND HIS BELT FOR CLIMBING
    POLES. I REMEMBER TALKING TO HIM ABOUT BEING SCARED TO CLIMB POLES IN A STORM...HE'D SAY WE HAVE TO DO THAT TO FIX THE LINES FOR PHONES TO WORK. YOUR DAD LOVED YALL AND WAS SO PROUD OF YOU. WILL BE PRAYING FOR YOU ALL. YOUR TEXAS COUSINS

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  5. I'm sorry, too, to hear about your loss.
    We'll miss your blog.

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  6. Bill:

    I'm very sorry to hear about your loss. May God bless you and yours during this time of sorrow.

    As for the blog, take a break. Refresh. Relax as much as possible. If you feel like resuming at some point, let me know, please. I enjoy your writing A LOT.

    Jim

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  7. AnonymousJune 13, 2013

    lovely stories , they really paint a picture in my mind of growing up
    sorry about your Dad

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