Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Christian the Dog Thief AKA The Enforcer

Puppy Rose Alice Lane at rest, Beacon Hill, Seattle, Washington, USAStanding in the Central District Safeway with Rosie on her new long black leash, a well dressed, calm man walked up to my friend Julie and I, said hi, kneeled down on the floor and nuzzled my dog.

"A rescue?" he asked. "Yes, Rosie's from Mexico" I said, and Julie said "Linda rescued Rose and her 3 siblings and mother from starvation in a Mexican graveyard."

Smoothly pulling out his state of the art cell phone he showed us a photo of his three dogs, explaining he had just lost the best dog he ever had, because the dog died of old age. All kinds of love welled up in his eyes.

"Where'd you get these pups?" I asked. "All rescues," the man replied, "you can't really tell their size, they are huge dogs."

Then he added quickly, "I steal dogs."

Oh this is gonna be good I thought, as he launched into his tale.

"First one, the golden Retriever on the right, was my next door neighbor's dog. Kept the dog locked in the garage all the time, in his filth and piss. It was so sad. Just his nose would peek out of the garage, laying on his side, looking at me, asking for affection. Once in a while he'd escape, and we'd go looking and I'd find him and return him.

All summer long this went on. One time my neighbor came home, and the dog welcomed him, by jumping up on him. The owner kicked that dog - so hard I could hear it outside.

So, the next time the dog escaped, I found him, and I just never gave him back. What a shame your dog ran away, you know? Lived right next door.

Next time I stole a dog it was when someone I knew was getting a divorce. His wife took everything, just left him the big Chevy cab, his tools, and his dog. He was a contractor. I went to visit him and the guy was really drunk, spinning wheelies with his huge pickup, knocking the dog around in the open truck. But his big toolkit was loose and kept crushing the dog.

We went upstairs, got really plastered on a bottle of ancient scotch, smoked a big fat spliffy. All great stuff. He complained about his stupid dumb dog this and that.

Really early in the morning I walked downstairs, and took the dog with me as I left [as he said this he smiled at the perfect plan.] Next day that guy stopped by to give me a bottle of Chivas Regal, and a hundred dollars. Hey my big dog is missing - he told me - I think someone stole him out of the truck!"

'Wow, who would do that?' said I, with complete surprise." showing off his great boy-next-door-poker face.

"I am 'The Enforcer.' You mistreat your dog in front of me, he's gone. That was the best dog I ever had." he finished up.

"Excellent!" we both said with glee at his story. "Julie has 22 dogs and more cats she saved in Africa." I told him with a hint of one-upsmanship.

"Yes" said Julie, "there people leave puppies and kittens by the side of the road for God to sort out. So we stand in for God. They die from diseases a lot because of all the stuff, but we do the best we can with what is available there."

"Keep up the great work!" we encouraged him as we split off and continued shopping. "You too!" said he. "By the way, what's your name?"
"Christian" he said.
"Its our pleasure to meet you."

"Christian the dog thief" said Julie as we climbed into the car with Rosie and rocketed off with another random wonderment answered - who would steal a dog? It is the The Enforcer who steals dogs. Hen hen hen.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

File under "Crawling around on the floor with world leaders": On Meeting General Westmoreland to plan for a school in Anchorage, Alaska

When I was 12 or 13 years old I met General Westmoreland, on Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska to plan for a school. At his invitation I met with him privately to discuss planning in North Mountain View, Orah Dee Clark Jr. High, so the jets landing at Elmendorf did not cross over or directly land over the planned combination elementary / junior high school because it was loud, disturbing and potentially hazardous.

My girlfriends and I did not want the junior high to lose it's cross county ski and running track, nor did we want the elementary and junior high to be combined due to drug problems and the cost of an overpass. The cost of the necessary overpass was not included in the city's planning, which drove the associated cost way up. There was also the potential problem of older kids hazing younger kids.

My mom made an appointment for me, and drove me to his office building; I was unusually wearing a dress with my hair combed. She waited in the waiting room. At first General Westmoreland did the "How may I help you pretty little lady" thing, but when he heard the problem description that all changed. We were looking for 5-10 other physical sites but having trouble finding any good ones.

General Westmoreland ordered a large map of Anchorage which included Elmendorf from his aides. Several rolls appeared immediatedly and he selected one.

He took off his suitjacket. We sat on the floor with a very large map of Anchorage spread out in his military office, much to his aide's surprise. They stood in the door way and whispered and fretted. I think there are protocols for guarding a general but what is the protocol regarding a child? They treated him like gold. Finally he shussed them off! (*dismissed*)

We crawled all over the floor together looking at the landing patterns and the potential sites, but really he knew I was asking him for land from the base (and even worse yet to change the landing fields.)

General Westmoreland told me that the military could not be involved with civilian matters, but privately I believe he communicated his advice. I included our meeting in the materials later presented at the Anchorage City Council meeting.

Since no practical solution was found the school was delayed in being built for 40 years(!). Anchorage did finally built it this last year. The school as it existed then was called Orah Dee Clark Junior High where I attended.

My mom told me Westmoreland became a famous general in Vietnam. I recall how kind and gentle he was to me, though firm, and strong -- handsome -- he had a big aura. I can find no public records of his being in Anchorage, but I know he was.

Unfortunately due to the presentation we made to the Anchorage City Council the paid city planner was fired for incompetence. The Council reasoned that if three 13 year old girls could do this level of planning they could find a more qualified employee. My buddies, Nancy Byrd, Mary Liston, and I have high IQs so perhaps that was an unfair comparison to him. Everybody should have work, cause everyone needs it. It wasn't our intention to harm anyone.

An article and our photos were published in the Anchorage Times about the planning meeting. I'll see if I can find my old copy and digitize it.

Here's some more information about the General:

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