The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

A Boyhood Day's Happenings

By Elmo S. Menetre © 1986

Issue: January, 1986

Many years ago when I was a lad of six, this strange incident did happen to me. I lived in the country then on a farm. We had two dogs. One named Ring, because he had a white ring around his neck and was black everywhere else on his body; the other dog was named Old Friend, and I imagine he was thusly named because he was so friendly.

Well, one Sunday evening on a clear calm day in early November, I heard the dogs bark in the distance. I asked my father if I could go and see what my dogs had. My father said, "You can go, but don't cross the fence. Stay on this side."

So, I started out walking towards where I heard the dogs barking. They barked intermittently, first one dog, then the other dog. it was quite a ways off as their voices carried far on a calm day.

After walking half of a mile or more, I came to where the dogs were, only about two rods across the fence. They had a cottontail rabbit that had went into a hollow tree.

This is when I disobeyed my father. I crossed the fence, a barb wire fence, and I tore my pants right at the crotch. I did hate this as I would get a scolding from my mother when I got home. I did attempt to twist the rabbit out of the tree, only the rabbit moved up out of my reach as the stick I was using was not long enough. I called the dogs off, as it was almost sundown and I began to run.

I knew right then and there that I had lost any sense of direction and was wandering aimlessly. I went up one hill and down the next one. Through thickets of Blackjacks, through dry grass and sandy hills. Then I entered a canyon, walking fast, as it was almost coming dusk. A streak of light between the trees did reveal a field of maize. Thinking that home was on the other side of the field, I walked the entire length. Then when on the other side, I thought home was on the opposite side. So, I entered the canyon again and came to a meadow' with a big thicket of brush.

It was about 9:00 p.m. then and it was getting quite chilly. I found an open spot in the middle of the thick matted shrubbery. I did bed down my two dogs at my side.

I went to sleep with my two dogs keeping me warm. Finally at 11:00 p.m., I heard my father calling over and over again, "Elmo, Elmo." The dogs hearing my father's voice left me to go to my father. I was well awake by then and got up and ran towards my father. He said, "Why didn't you answer me?"

I said, "I guess I was scared." We walked and we walked as it was a mile and three quarters away from home. My father took my hand and was leading me along through briars and rough ground. Finally we did cross a cow trail.

We finally came to a farm house where I saw a dog which I should have known, but I didn't. I told my father that dog looked like Bob Smith's dog (which it was, only I was lost and didn't know our neighbor's dog!).

Well, it was a very dark night and very calm. We had to climb a hill and on the other side I saw hundreds of lanterns which lit up the Blackjack timber. I told my father, "What are all those lights doing there in the timber?" He said, "They are looking for you."

"Why are they looking for me?" I said to my father. Father replied, "Because you are lost!"

The rural school bell was rung to let everyone know the lost boy had been found. With many neighbors gathered around now, we went home rejoicing. Many told my father how happy they were I was found.