Monday, April 12, 2010

I Killed (J)ohnny Cash's Dog

True story.

I moved to Hendersonville, TN when I was 15 years old. I was a freshman in high school and we moved in April, literally days after my birthday. I had to go back to middle school for 6 weeks. It was awful.

When you live around Nashville you just get used to seeing famous people in everyday places. I'm sure it's the same in LA or NYC. Only the famous people in Nashville aren't quite so fancy and they do a lot of their own shopping and whatnot. I worked at KMart for a long time. I helped Tom T. Hall find a mop. I showed knives to Jim Varney. I showed fishing reels to Grandpa Jones. I worked at Opryland the summer that the movie "Rhinestone" came out. I got to meet Dolly Parton and Sylvester Stallone (he's really short!) but I was more star-struck meeting Junior Samples and Lulu Roman.

Anyhoo, I had a friend that lived back in the neighborhood where Johnny Cash lived, right past Roy Orbison's house. Johnny's house is on a curve that was widened to accommodate all the tour buses. Of course I used to come barreling through there in my '77 T-bird much too fast--but you could get 25 points for each tourist you knocked down; 50 if you didn't hurt their camera. Kids were worth 100 because they are little and fast and harder to hit. I bet you think I'm kidding. I guarantee you they still play this game in Hendersonville, only with inflation and everything the points value are probably higher.

During my junior year Rena and I were really good friends and I spent a lot of time at her house (her mom had an awesome collection of fiestaware) so I of course passed back and forth in front of Johnny's a lot. I knew that dog was always there. He could hear that T-bird coming and he would assume the position. If I didn't see a tour bus as I was heading into the curve I had it made...I could just accelerate through the curve and hug the inside and the dog would never get near me. On the way back out I had to slow down heading into the curve but I was already on the inside curve and he never came that far into the road. Well, then Johnny had to go and get him some antelope and ostriches. He had some land across the road from his house, which was on Old Hickory Lake, and he brought in some exotic animals for whatever reason. I was 17 and had only seen things like that in a zoo, so this one particular day I was gawking at those awful-looking birds and all of a sudden ba-dump-a-thump!

Yep, front AND back tires. I don't know if you know how big a 1977 Ford Thunderbird was. BIG. He didn't feel a thing. Okay, that's probably not true. But he didn't feel it for long. I pull over and get out and the guard comes out of the guard shack and here comes Johnny's brother Roy running out of the house across the road. I'm crying, "Please tell me that wasn't Johnny's dog!" and Roy just nods his head.

"Oh god, I didn't even see him! I was looking at those freaky birds!"

"He hates Fords," the guard says. "He runs out after them all the time. It's the third time he's been hit; we knew it was just a matter of time."

"Tell Johnny I'm really sorry! Is he going to be ok? Do we need to take him to the vet or something?"

"It's too late for that. We'll take care of him. You go on home now."

That is the only dog I have ever run over. And all of that story is true except for the part about the dog hating Fords. Let's call it poetic license. Oh, and in case you're wondering, you don't get any points for hitting dogs because that's just mean.


Beth said...[Reply to comment]

So glad you got comments working! (And I'm following now too!) That was a GREAT story! And very well told! I'll be back!

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...[Reply to comment]

I can see where something like that could scar you for life even though it was an accident. I’m relieved there’s no points for dogs!)

Anonymous said...[Reply to comment]

I once had a pair of frolicking squirrels run in front of me and I ran over one of their tails. I felt terrible. Poor little squirrel. I once hit a bird too. Actually, the bied flew into me.

Stephen Tremp

Raquel Byrnes said...[Reply to comment]

That is such an awful, funny, real story. Teenagers...sheesh! Sorry if you were scarred for life.

WELCOME TO MY WORLD OF POETRY: said...[Reply to comment]

What a story, I was so taken with this story because I am going to Nashville in June all the way from the UK. It's a place I've never been and am looking forward.

I did enjoy read your post although it was a dog getting run down.


Lisa said...[Reply to comment]

How sad. But it was Johnny's fault for not keeping his dog in the house!

Rae said...[Reply to comment]

Well, I guess we have more in common than I thought. I'm a Dog Killer, too.
Or at least my family blames me for our darn beagle hanging himself with his own rope. They say I did it on purpose because he always peed on my carpet, or I should have watched him better when he was outside. whatever. The guilt is still intense.
Wanna go get drunk?

Gregg said...[Reply to comment]

I would love to live in Nashville. Great story (dog might not think so). I would love to meet George Jones. Have run into Merle Haggard in Redding, CA and Palo Cedro, CA. I have delivered packages to his business.

Trudy said...[Reply to comment]

That is quite the claim there, I bet there isn't anyone else that can say that! Sad, but kind of a funny story too. Poor dog.

Ellie said...[Reply to comment]

whoah, sad n' funny, but you pulled it off! Johnny's fault, shouldn't let the dog out! Quite the story!

Caledonia Lass said...[Reply to comment]

OMGah... that's just horrible... but I hate dogs that chase cars. I've hit a dog before, it survived, but it was the worst thing. :( Every time I see a dog in the road (and I know it is a chaser) I give it a wide berth as I slow way down. My husband used to look at my funny, since he nicknamed me Race Car Sally... but now he knows.

Out Of My Head said...[Reply to comment]

So glad I found you. Neat reading when I can't sleep but then I really can't sleep cause I can't put you down.