When Dakota was two and a half years old his father picked him up and placed him inside the Blazer to go to wherever he went those days. I was outside on the patio getting ready to put the leashes on the dogs for one of our many walks to the park on 10th street. He started the truck and remembered he’d left his billfold in the house and slammed the door on the vehicle and went inside unbeknownst to me as I had my own agenda with the dogs. I had bought a little Shiatsu puppy from a breeder in Osborn after mourning the loss of the Pomeranian, Foxy who was never found after our trip to California. With our work schedules I was unable to potty train him properly so as he got bigger I had started leaving him outside in the fenced yard with Lassie. His name was Scruffy due to the long shaggy multicolored, buff and brown spotted hair all over his body. I looked up in time to see the truck lurch forward and head down the hill straight into the neighbor’s teal green Geo. The car was an exact replica of the one I had traded for the red Chevrolet convertible. I used to admire it from the window and missed my Geo Storm.
I stood wondering why he headed straight for the car as it seemed to be on purpose. I looked up and shaded my eyes with my hand to get a better view when I saw Kelvin come out of the garage with his mouth hanging open and knew immediately that Dakota had sent the car rolling down the street heading for Penn St.
The Blazer was pinned against the side of the Geo on the driver’s side heading South from 14th St. Kelvin ran to the truck to check on Dakota as did I. Dakota was crouched in the back floor board crying and waving his arms, sure that his Daddy was going to do him bodily harm as I was as well. Instead he told him to not to be afraid he was going to get him out of there. The neighbors came out of the house on the corner to see what the crash was about. The driver’s side of the Geo Storm was pushed in and the door wouldn’t open. Kelvin managed to separate the two vehicles. It was a young woman’s car who, like me, had adored her car but seemed to take the accident in stride and was very cooperative and understanding. The motor vehicle department sent Dakota a letter and said his license was suspended for 60 days! We got a laugh about that one since Dakota was only two and wondered if that would hurt his chances of getting a drivers license when he was sixteen.
There were other times that were trying with Dakota. He would run to the neighbor’s house on Penn street and play with the kids at an apartment building there. He had a Nintendo at home and discovered the phenomena was rampant in other kid’s homes as well. He was pretty good at it at the age of three . It was difficult for an adult to beat him.
There were times when we would turn our backs and he’d be gone. Kelvin would panic and call the police who would comb the area in their police cars, up and down alleys, every parking lot.
One day I was walking down the street two blocks over from our house looking in every yard and alley. There was no sign of him. I headed back home to find him in his father’s arms talking to a policeman who had found him in the lot a couple of blocks South surrounded by a high fence and guarded by a big German Shepherd. He said he was in there after climbing over the fence and playing with the big dog. He would climb trees and fences like he was born to a family of orangutans.
One day in the summer when he was 4 years old he disappeared and even the police couldn’t find him. I knocked on doors and walked and walked, Kelvin drove around and around the area. The police also drove around. No one had seen him. I finally stayed inside the house in case he were to come back on his own. I walked from window to window and door to door. It was a big house. It had three entry ways, one on the South side of the living room, one on the East side of the living room and one leading from the kitchen to the patio and the back yard on the North side. The last time I peeked out of the back door on the North side as a police car pulled up and the man said, “Isn’t that your boy there?” I looked and sure enough there was Dakota standing on the patio. I asked, “ Where did you find him?” He said “He came out of the play house.” He had been in the back yard the whole time, hiding.
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