Thursday, August 7, 2008

I Can't Get This Off my Mind

Sunday, early August, southern Oregon. We had gotten a little off track following the GPS system which had already admitted it didn't know where we were. So we got on the phone with the realtor to find our way to the property and she mentioned to me that the house was selling because of a divorce, that the man was resistant to selling and that we should not be surprised by anything he said. As we pulled into the drive and up to the house, there were some horses on one side and cows and chickens on the other. A boy about 10-12 years old and a fairly old man came out of the house and started talking to the realtor, challenging who she was and what she was doing there. After she reassured them that she had talked to Bobby the old man said, "Well, you can't be too careful about who's coming onto the property."

She started pointing out the fencing on the pens we had just passed and the boy mentioned to his grandpa (he called him that) that we would need to be careful of the wolf. We thought he was talking about the dog chained to the truck where they were standing but it turned out that that dog was only half wolf, the other half being Rottweiler. It seemed to be a very laid back, fat old dog that appreciated a little attention and a pat on the head, but it could have been more aggressive if they hadn't been there. Then the old man started telling us about how many dogs he had breed from the female wolf that was somewhere in the pasture below, with or near the horses. I was beginning to wonder if he thought we had come to buy a dog when the realtor got him back on track by asking where the property lines for the 3 1/2 acres were. He pointed out the ones we had seen along the road as well as where they used to keep the pigs when they had pigs.

He pointed to a gate behind the house that he said opened onto a neighbor's land and as we walked back I saw a couple of dachshunds in a dog run. I started toward them but thought better of it when they started yapping at me. The old man said to just go on back to see them so we all walked back. Just as I spied one really, really long dog with it's back held at a horrible angle, he said that two or three of the white ones were blind. He explained that they used to breed them to sell and there were always one or two in a litter that the kids wanted to keep and that's why they had twelve. I adore dachshunds and have had to put two down because of bad backs but all I could think was that all of these needed to be spayed, some of them put down immediately, and all of their offspring be hunted down and spayed. So as we walked into the house, I was already feeling a bit of shock.

The old man and the boy walked into the house with us and sat down on the couch to watch TV. They pointed out Bobby who was washing dishes at the sink and there was another old man sitting in a chair. I can't remember if he spoke but he seemed to be pointing toward a bedroom. I don't know if he was asking for something or trying to tell us about something. He had a doughy look as if he didn't ever get out of the chair and in the bedroom were the things I remember from my mom's house when she was bedridden. Bobby didn't stop washing dishes but told us his wife had left him and wanted him to sell the place. He said he had hoped he could keep it but that didn't seem to matter. Every surface of every piece of furniture was covered with stuff. I don't know what the stuff was - it was too much to comprehend. How would these men ever begin to pack it up and get it out of there? How would they get themselves out of there and where would they go? There are not enough boxes in the world to pack up their lives and go. We poked our heads into each sad room and got out quickly. As we left, I noticed on a wall by the door pictures of a nice looking youg man. They looked like several graduation pictures.

Grandpa and the boy followed us out and told us that the calf in with the cow was a Charolais but the cow was a Brahman. A neighbor's very young bull had been visiting? boarding? and he had never imagined that that little bull could have breed her. He said he hadn't even wanted to breed her again because she was so old.

We walked out to the barn which was really more of a manger or maybe a half barn since it was missing one side. Ken pointed out a pig lying in a depression beside some tools. We wondered if it was alive and it answered by wiggling it's snout. It was in no way contained; it could have taken a mind to folow us home but it just laid there. Then Ken started wondering if they even knew the pig was there since they had referred to a time when they kept pigs. The pig didn't tell us the answer to that one and we decided not to go back to the house and find out. We drove down the drive and around to the other road beside the old pig pens and chicken coops. There, in a small field, were enough chairs and tables and stuff and more stuff to fill another two houses the size of the one we had seen. Maybe their realtor, like ours, had told them to clear the house out a bit.

I've tried not to inject my feelings into this, not altogether successfully, but I really can't get this out of my head!!


Dieverdog said...

Wow, what a story! Maybe the guy will get his wish and stay there... not many people would want to take that on I bet. It does sound kind of sad. Sad for the animals especially that aren't getting proper care. It's sad to know there are places like that, probably more than we'll ever know... tucked away and well off any GPS.

Kate Markey said...

Reminds me of some places I visited with Julie when we were teenagers. Creepy and sad.