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Last Of Winters Wood

S.J. Morrissey, Canada
October 2001

Some time ago, I attended a gathering of family and friends. Like many gatherings and parties, the men were in one room with the ladies in another. Throughout the night, our manly conversations ranged from topics of politics, economics, and the occasional dirty joke for comic relief. Soon the conversation turned to ghosts and the supernatural.

Several of us relayed stories that we either had heard or actually experienced for ourselves. One of those stories, told to us by, as we say in my island home of Newfoundland, a "Skipper", I will share with you now.

When the Skipper was a teenager, it was one of his chores to help his father to cut and collect the fire wood. As the winter was falling and the Autumn bidding fare well, the air was growing rapidly chill. The need for fire wood to be collected before the first snows was essential. The teenager and his father prepared one day to go into the woods and finish their cleaving and come out with the last of the Winter's wood.

As they prepared, their dog, an old mutt, named Blue, was anxiously waiting for the two men in the back of the old pickup. Soon the two, with trusty old Blue, made their way to their clear cut. The lady of the house stayed busy at home.

The road that led to the private clear cut was a terrible dirt road, with obstructions of rocks, pot holes, and an occasional high embankment. The road was, for the most part, surrounded by trees on either side.

Some time after the men departed, the lady of the house was startled to hear Blue barking outside on the porch. She went out to sure enough see old Blue barking and running a short distance and turning to see if the lady was following. Getting the hint, and thinking it rather odd, the lady followed the old dog. Blue led her down the old dirt road.

After chasing Blue for some time, she was horrified to see, when making her way around a bend in the old dirt road, the pickup turned over onto its roof. Later it would be learned that the men, driving too fast on the terrible road, were forced to swerve to avoid hitting a moose that leaped across the road in front of them. Driving the truck up unto a high embankment, the vehicle turned over, landing on its roof, and injuring both men inside.

The lady ran to the truck began to help the two men. While struggling to help, she happened to glance down at the turned over bed of the truck where she noticed the hind end of Blue, the old dog, crushed beneath the weight of the truck. In a trice, the lady spun around and couldn't find the same dog that led her to the spot of the accident.

The two men were none the worse for wear; just a couple scratches and bruises and little shaken.

The truck was moved the next day and Blue was buried underneath the old pine tree on the family property where he would play with the teenager for hours, doing his loving, doggy duty. His final act of duty, however, is one of undying love and one never forgotten.

S.J. Morrissey, Canada
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