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Guest Opinion

Two guys and a dog farm

Arthur Graphic-Clarion of Arthur, Illinois

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Wise and Otherwise

I remember growing up and thinking, "I don't think grade school will ever end." Boy was I wrong because this year all those kids I went to school with are turning the big 5-0.

The funny thing is, that does not seem old at all now, except to kids in grade school...and high school... and college!

In the mix, this next week my best friend since "back in those days that would never end" will turn 50 a whole 47 days earlier than this youngster here.

Our friendship has survived all these years despite me trying to kill him with a staple gun and him trying to decapitate me with a Fris-bee. These things happen; best friends laugh and move on. To think, it all started with the idea of a dog farm.

It was somewhere in the upper grades of elementary school that we bonded over the idea of running a farm where we raised, not livestock, but canines. We were dead serious about this... okay, the serious part came in fits and starts, but we did have a research program in place.

After school, we'd walk up to the shoe store my parents ran, grab 50 cents apiece from the register, go next door to the Ben Franklin, and go all the way to the back of the store to get a pop out of the old-fashioned freezer machine where you pulled the bottle (yes, glass) down the track and out of the slot in the end.

These bottles of pop were the coldest ever found. We'd take our leftover change (yes, out of just 50 cents) and buy a candy bar before we headed to the library.

This is where the project required stealth as back then you were not supposed to even chew gum in the library let alone drink Cokes and eat candy bars. We managed to always get in, breeze our way to the back, select about every dog book they had in the library, then set up our "lab" in the back corner.

We made lists of what dogs we would have, pretty much every breed known to mankind...this was going to be a big farm! We'd discuss the merits of each breed, the drawbacks; we'd make lists; and we'd invariably wander away from the dog farm topic to just talk about anything and everything.

Of course, this research was tiring but the sugar in the pop and candy bars made up for that. We eventually would wait until the librarian was distracted, take off our shoes then run up and down the tables in the back to see who could make it the most times back and forth before getting caught. Hey, if you were going to own a dog farm, you needed to be in shape!

Life certainly got a whole lot more complex after those days. There has been some sadness, much happiness, complications, successes, celebrations, and reunions. Our paths have diverged at times but never so far that they would not cross again.

The cooler with the coldest pop in the world is gone, candy bars cost more than a dollar, and the library built a brand new building that has a new librarian with much better hearing and vision, I might add. So much has changed over the years except for the best friend thing — that is forever.

So, Ron Hammond, time to plan for retirement — I'm thinking we resurrect the dog farm plan. See you soon, you bring the pop, I'll bring the candy bars, and I'll scope out the library for table running potential.

Happy Birthday to you and to all our lifelong friends making the journey with us through 50 years and well beyond!

Copyright 2014 Arthur Graphic-Clarion, Arthur, Illinois. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: April 9, 2014

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