Dream of: 01 December 1996 "Misjudging"

I was driving the maroon 1988 Lincoln Continental which my father had recently given me, when I stopped at a red light at an intersection. As I looked across the intersection at the car coming toward me in the other lane, I realized that my sister was driving the other car, and that my father was sitting in the front passenger seat. I just stared across at them, rigid and unmoving at first, then finally giving a slight nod of my head to my sister to acknowledge that I had seen her.

When the light turned, just as I was about to move forward, my sister mischievously pulled her car into the intersection, blocking me so that I couldn't turn left as I had intended. By the time my sister finally backed away so I could turn to the left, the light had again turned, and three lines of traffic were headed toward me on my left. I just barely managed to squeeze past the cars, narrowly missing one.

As I continued down the road, I reflected how the driver of the car which I had almost hit must surely have thought I was a terrible driver. But I knew that I wasn't a bad driver, and that in fact I was a very good driver. This thought made me realize that whenever I would see drivers driving badly for one reason or another, I would generally quickly conclude the driver was a bad driver. I wondered how many times I had made the mistake of misjudging someone that way.

I also began wondering about the way I had typically judged my father. Over the years, I had often thought of my father as a bad man and had often judged him harshly. Perhaps I had misjudged him and he wasn't actually as bad as I had thought. I recalled that my father and I had recently had a conversation about a book which we had both read, Mario Puzo's The Godfather. We had also talked of the three Godfather movies which had been generated from the book. In the conversation, I had pointed out that the two Godfathers, Vito Corleone and Michael Corleone, had both died of old age. From this I had concluded that the message of the stories was that crime does indeed pay.

I had been surprised when my father had told me that he had drawn just the opposite conclusion, that crime does not pay. He had pointed out that the Godfathers had seen family members murdered and had lived with much pain. Indeed, my father had placed much higher value on the family, than on the money and power which the Godfathers had garnered.

The more I thought about this, the more emotional I became. I myself had recently taken part in a successful swindle, and as a result, I had obtained a large sum of money. Although I had thought my father would have been proud to learn of the success of my deceitful scheme, I now realized he would probably not be at all proud of me. The realization affected me so much that I actually began crying. For I now also realized how important it was to know that my father was proud of me. Indeed, his pride in me was one of the most important goals in my life. And now I feared I had traded his pride in me for something of far less value.

Calming down, concentrating more on my driving, I began thinking about where I was: Gallia County, Ohio. After many years of having been away, I had returned to this rural hilly county, in search of something. Whatever I had been seeking, however, I hadn't found, and I now realized that returning to Ohio had been a mistake.

As I entered a small town, I was no longer driving, but was rolling along on roller skates or roller blades. I quickly realized the town was the small town of Oak Hill, Ohio. However the tall quaint buildings and the wide plaza reminded me more of a picturesque European town. I looked around at the half dozen or so metal tables and chairs on the plaza, and reflected that this might be a nice place to meet people.

Instead of stopping, however, I skated right through the plaza, and came out on the edge of the town. I immediately found myself in a rugged rocky area, headed toward a stony ravine. Without stopping I skated right down the side of the ravine, finally coming out into a field. I intended to keep going straight ahead, but ahead of me sprawled a dense thicket of briar bushes, thorns really, which caused me to come to a halt. I looked out ahead and quickly realized that the thicket was impenetrable, and that I would have to turn back.

But then I noticed a possible way around the briar patch. Immediately to my right was a hill. It looked as if I could climb the hill and thus circumvent the thicket. So still wearing the skates, I laboriously began slogging my way up the side of the hill. The ascent quickly proved to be rather revolting, because I realized the hill was covered with some kind of animal feces. At first I thought it was dog feces, but then I realized it was turkey feces.

Nevertheless, I finally made it to the top from where I could look back at the small town and the plaza below me. I was surprised to hear a woman hollering at me from the plaza. She was an elderly thin woman, and she was chastising me for being on the hill. She hollered up that the field belonged to a man named Parks, and that I was trespassing.

Looking around the field at the top of the hill, I saw several horses pasturing there, and I realized that whoever owned the horses might indeed be upset that I was trespassing in the field. The horses were friendly and I was able to get close enough to actually pet them. However, to my surprise and chagrin, I watched helplessly as one horse stumbled and started rolling down the side of the hill. Then the horse which I was petting started to tumble down the hill; but I quickly grabbed it and prevented it from falling.

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