Dream of: 06 May 1982 (2) "Merchant Of Death"

I was standing on the bank of Symmes Creek, the creek that twists through the Gallia County Farm. The Farmhouse was just up the hill behind me. I was busy looking out at two black geese swimming on the creek. A large black dog was standing beside me, and someone was explaining to me that the dog had been brought to protect the geese. Looking at the other side of the creek, I saw something slipping down the bank, into the water. I thought it was a skunk and that it was going to try to catch the geese. The person said, "Now watch."

The dog suddenly dived into the water, and when it finally surfaced, it was holding the animal in its teeth. The dog swam back to the bank and climbed out of the water. Once he was on shore, the dog dropped the animal from his mouth onto the ground. The animal was still alive and immediately took off running. Some other dogs and the black dog quickly gave chase, pursuing the animal back and forth on a nearby hillside. Finally a large brown dog trapped the animal, and brought it back to where I was. The dog dropped the animal in front of me; it was a small brown squirrel; apparently the skunk had escaped.

Seeing that the squirrel was still alive, I thought I might be able to save it. But before I could do anything, the dog again picked up the squirrel in its mouth. The dog reared its front legs up on the side of a car  sitting near us, so that the dog's head was so near my face I could clearly see the squirrel in the dog's mouth. I could see that the squirrel's head was being crushed by the dog's mouth, and that in fact, the squirrel was already dead.

I turned and walked up to the Farmhouse. Once inside, I looked further up the hill toward the old tobacco barn where I could see many dogs running loose in the field between the barn and the House. I saw large black dogs, white dogs and four small puppies. I counted 30 dogs altogether. I also saw a collie in the House with me that made 31 dogs. I thought about looking for my grandmother Mabel, to tell her that she had 31 dogs here on the Farm.

I turned around and walked back into the living room, which seemed more like the living room of the House in Patriot than the living room of the Farmhouse. The little village of Patriot, Ohio was only fifteen kilometers away from the Farm, and the House in Patriot was the white frame bungalow where my grandfather Liston and my grandmother Leacy had lived when I had been a child. Now it seemed as if a family reunion was taking place in the living room. Along with my relatives, I also noticed several classmates from law school in the room.

I sat down in a circle with eight or nine other people sitting on couches and chairs. One fellow reminded me of a law school classmate, Wallace Smith. As we all sat and talked, this fellow who reminded me of Smith began talking of how he wanted to acquire some land for raising tobacco. He spoke about how if he could just raise some tobacco, he could soon become rich. Someone who was listening mentioned my father's name, and the fellow who seemed like Smith replied, "Yea, Leroy knew how to do that."

I couldn't stand it any more. I stood, pointed to the fellow who seemed like Smith and said, "Yea, but you know what you'll be called then, once you do that? You'll be a merchant of death."

I launched a tirade about tobacco and its evils. I shouted out that tobacco knocked seven years off the average person's life. I looked at one person and asked, "Do you know what a person's lungs look like who's been smoking for 25 years?"

"No," he answered.

I said, "They're just black."

I was ready to say, "My lungs are pink and healthy, cause I don't smoke," but I was suddenly interrupted by someone turning on a small television  sitting on a table to my left.

My uncle George was one of my relatives  in the room. George had been crippled with polio since an early age. He had lived out most of his life in the House in Patriot, never able to walk, always having to scoot around on the floor with his legs bent back under him. George now began complaining about a small, portable television which my grandmother Leacy had taken and left with my mother. I recalled that my mother did indeed have a television similar to the one which George was describing; but I had never realized my mother had obtained the television from Leacy.

George continued to complain that he had once visited my mother and had tried to watch something on the television, but he had been unable to see anything. Someone else spoke up and maintained that George had never been able to see anything, because he had been turning the channels too quickly. The person said George had changed the channels so fast that it looked as if the shows were doing somersaults over each other.

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