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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The One Car Ride That Made a Big Difference in Our Lives!


“I think that’s it! You just passed it!” I yelled.
“Aright, alright, Peter said, calm down, let me turn around.”  He eyed over the property I was pointing out. “You’re sure you want to go in there?” He asked. “
“Yes!" I replied. "We’re just going to look at them!” 
 “Right!" Peter laughed. "Grab the blanket from the back seat, we’re not leaving empty handed. Ya know, he went on, we could be killed out here and no one would know!”

It was 13 years ago that Peter and I took one of our famous drives through the hills of Pennsylvania since we moved here in 1992. This time though we actually had a mission and an address, just no GPS!  An ad placed in the paper two weeks prior brought us to a little Amish farm in…. well, we really didn’t know where we were, but surely we were somewhere in God’s country. It seemed like we drove for hours to get there, but as I look back at it now, it was probably only forty minutes or so.

We pulled into a partly gravel, partly grass, and very bumpy driveway. To the right side of us was a huge field of corn and other vegetables. To our left there was a large farmhouse and from the side of this farmhouse came a small Golden Retriever with teats hanging to the ground and who continued to bark as it ran round the car. Directly in front of us was an old red barn.  (I often wonder why farmers paint their barns red, don’t you?)

To the right of us where the corn fields lay, there suddenly appeared through the tall corn stalks three little Amish kids. Two boys and a girl, maybe age 11 and down. They were strewn in mostly black and gray attire with suspenders of course, right down to their wide brimmed black hats. They stood motionless as they stared at the car and at us inside the car. They held their hands up high to their heads grasping tight their hat brims so as not to loose them to the September winds.
“I’m sure this is it!” I said to Peter excitedly. “Come on let’s go!”

  Peter looked over at me and I soon heard the click of car’s electric door locks. “I’m not getting out of this car!” He protested. “Those kids right there, he said, are seriously the Children of the Corn!” 

Of course he was referring to one of the many horror movies we had seen over the years. To be fair though, this was the only time we had ever come up close and in person with the Amish.  Being from New York, there was not much happenstance to run into an Amish person on the street!

“Come on!” I pleaded. “For goodness sake they’re just Amish kids!”
“Ain’t no way in hell I’m gettin’ outta dis car.” He replied. 
“Alright.” I sighed. I clicked my car door’s lock open and jumped out and no sooner did the door shut behind me before I heard locks click once again!

“Hi!” I said to the kids with a smile. “I’m here to see your father about a puppy.”

The three kids stood motionless, expressionless as their hands clasped tighter to the brim of their hats.   

“Is he home?” I asked. “He’s expecting me, I called earlier. Could you get him?”

The children said nothing as they held their ground and hats against the cool winds.

I looked over at Peter who sat in the safety of his green machine and I shrugged my shoulders. Peter waved for me to get back into the car.

“Um, is your father or mother here?” I asked the three kids again.

They took a step back and had smiles on their little plain faces, but no words passed through their lips.

Maybe Peter is right, I thought, maybe these are the Children of the Corn! But I was not giving up and just as I started to turn toward the farmhouse to find the owner I was startled by the sound of the car horn. I looked over at Peter who was pointing to the house. I looked at the front door of the house but did not see what he was trying to tell me with his hand gesture. I started to walk toward the home when the horn honked again. I looked in Peter’s direction and again his hand was pointing and moving back and forth as if to say STOP AND LOOK! So I did!

I saw an adult Amish man walking down the side of the roof with ease as if he were walking down a short ramp and then climb down the ladder to the ground.

 Peter cracked open the car’s window. “That must be him.” He whispered.
“Ya think?” I asked sarcastically as only I can do. “You coming?”

“Hell no!” He said. “But I’ll leave the car running for a fast get away!”

I met the Amish man in the driveway and introduced myself as the woman he had talked to earlier on the phone regarding the puppies.
“Yep, this way.” Was all he said.
I looked at the car and waved my hand for Peter to come as we had indeed found the right place.  I heard the engine shut off and in my mind I could hear the reluctance of Peter getting out too join us on our journey to the barn. The three little kids followed behind us, then to the side of us and then to the front of us. None spoke a word. The small Golden Retriever mama ran ahead of us to the barn.

We entered the barn and swear on my life this is what I saw. The inside of the barn was not that big and seemed to be partitioned off into small sections, similar looking to the way one would cut an apple pie.   To the right was a small V type stall with a small horse, next to that a similar stall with pigs, then a smaller pie shaped stall for the puppies, next to that a stall of cows and last but not least a stall of chickens!  It was unbelievably tight quarters in there to say the least.   Peter, I, the Amish man, and his three children, stood in 5 x 12 rectangular dirt and hay filled area. The man opened the stall to the dogs and let the puppies out. It seemed like found freedom to them as they jumped, ran and played in this area like a classroom full of kids let outside for recess!     

I of course interacted with each puppy watching their reactions to certain stimuli all the while asking a variety of questions of this thin bearded man who owned them.

“Do you have the father? How many litters does the female have a year? What is the size of the father? Have the pups had their first shots and worming? What is the registration? Have the parents been certified for hips, eyes and heart?”

Why I asked these questions I do not know as this was not a normal breeder by any means and nothing , not a registration, a certificate, a missing shot record was going to stand in the way of me bringing home a puppy. I like to kid myself about such things, but truth is, when it comes to pups, I’m a real sucker!

  I went on and on and all my questions were answered by either a yes or a no, that was it.    Peter in the mean time was getting more and more  uncomfortable as he kept saying things like, “Are you gonna get one? Which one do you want? Let’s let this gentleman get back to his roof.”

 When the owner stepped outside the barn for a minute to yell at the kids for horsing around leaving one kid crying, Peter under his breath mumbled, “Pick a damn dog and let’s get the hell outta here!”

That was that and Casey was picked! 

Casey blended in very well with our resident dogs and took his place among the pack. As he grew we lost a few dogs due to cancer and soon all that were left were Casey and my devil dog Cocker Spaniel, Cody. However Cody was no match for Casey’s niceties and he hardly knew what to be mad about anymore! The two lived in harmony which for me was great as I had taken on some health issues myself and many times could hardly function. As much as I hate to say this, coming home from work to only Casey and Cody to care for was a pleasure. Both were potty trained and not needy dogs so spending the day resting was alright by them!

By the time Casey was a year old he had already known how to reply to my call for help, could identify many objects and bring them to me and always enjoyed his drives in the green machine with his head sticking out of the sunroof.  Like any Golden Retriever which has the need to be right by your side, Casey was no different! 

Somewhere along the line and it is a blur for sure, after having lost Forrest Gump,  our St. Bernard to bone cancer  Peter fell in love with a Newfoundland puppy and brought it home!  Hence my solace was over, my peace and quite gone and replaced with a Shop Vac! Casey’s solace was over as well because when the Newf puppy wore me out, I took a rest and Casey jumped in to take over in keeping the pup occupied and out of trouble. We went back and forth like this for months until another Newfoundland puppy came into our lives and surely if he could, Casey would have thrown both front paws in the air and said, stick a fork in me I’m done!

Casey, God love him, was never short of love or patience with his owners or others that came his way. He was a one of a kind dog in this family and will always be remembered as such. He was the comic among his family of dogs, the one who sought to please all the time, the one who listened without much training, the one who sought out love from everyone and anyone, and the one who not only guided others in his dog pack but also guided those in his human pack.  His humor was endless, his love everlasting, and his heart as big as the world.

Casey was a dog that if one could afford it, would have him cloned generation after generation, and passed down like a family heirloom.

Rest in peace my Casey Boy, dog ownership and training had never been as easy as it was when you were here. 

Casey’s video tribute click here 

Casey Kasem's Top 40~ 1999 ~ 2012

Okay off topic:  I had to look it up. Why do farmers paint their barns red, click here.


  1. The best darn golden ever, RIP Great Story, well written and made me have such fond memeories..RIP

  2. Great stuff --- another good post to read.