header photo

James R. Stout

White Dog Road

            In the mid-80’s I started writing a book. I got as far as a first draft, but you have to understand a couple of things to know why the book never got completed. First, it was during a time when I was going through a significant rough financial stretch. So, I had to work up to 12-hour days and some weeks 7 days a week. Our first child was on the way and then after he was born what time that I had to write shrunk even more. Second, I was writing the book by hand during breaks and lunch time and then coming home and late at night typing that day’s output on an old Smith Corona typewriter. The days of a laptop were years in the future and even if they had existed then, I wouldn’t have had the money to buy one. In the end, the typed and handwritten pages of the book were put in a box and shelved for some future day to finish. But first there were kids to raise, school to finish, and a whole lot of living to do. The box sits in an even larger box in the spare bedroom closet to this day.

            Now, all of that having been said, I found that there were times when I had enough free-time to write a short story. Those stories have collected dust mostly and will likely never be published. But there was this one story called “White Dog Road” that was kind of special. I may publish it yet. I wrote that story in about 1985. It was the story of a man who was driving late at night on a long journey. He was rural East Texas on a state highway and it was very late. He began to get sleepy and decided that he would pull off on a side road somewhere, find a nice and lonely place to park, and snooze for an hour or so. That’s how he came to turn onto “White Dog Road”. He thought the name of the road was kind of interesting as well. Here’s where I tell you that in my mind as I wrote the story, I was thinking of an actual road that I know of that isn’t far from where I now live. It is a road that I drive on quite often these days. It was also the same road that we would take to get to my grandparent’s farm when I was growing up.

            I won’t tell you the whole story here but suffice it to say the man found himself in a kind of “Twilight Zone” in which he encounters two White Pyrenees dogs and an unknown creature that nobody would ever want to meet. Cue the “Twilight Zone” theme now. In 2009, some 24 years after I wrote “White Dog Road”, I decided to build a house on part of the old homestead and to move up to the country. One evening after work I decided to drive to where I was thinking of putting my house. Yep, I had to drive down that road to get there. In actuality, the road starts out as a Farm-to-Market road for about a mile, then becomes a county road for about 3 miles in one county and then turns into another county road after crossing into the county that I live in. On this particular evening I was about to the county line when sitting in the middle of the road were two White Pyrenees dogs. I told you. Cue to “Twilight Zone” theme! If you have never seen one of these dogs, then you need to know that if you hit one with your car your vehicle will likely be severely damaged. The dogs are huge. I was having a déjà vu moment of sorts. I would be a liar if I said I wasn’t kind of creeped out. There I was in my car sitting still on the county road with two White Pyrenees staring back at me. The worst of it was I was remembering the other creature from my long-ago short story. I did NOT want to encounter that creature.

            Well, about the time I was ready to back-up and go back the way I had come, an old man stepped out from behind a big oak tree and I just about had an accident. Not a car accident. The kind of accident that little kids have. I nearly screamed, but I didn’t. The old man waved at me and then shooed the two dogs off the road so that I could get by. I would have stopped and thanked him, but he looked a little bit like Rory Calhoun in “Motel Hell” and I just waved back and kept-a-goin.

            I still find it “funny” that I wrote that story in 1985, with that road in mind, with two White Pyrenees in supporting roles, then everything but the other creature coming true 24 years later. To this day, I call that road “White Dog Road”. Both dogs have gone to dog heaven since that evening in 2009. I know this because I ended up getting to know Rory (not his real name) and he told me. He went to the little church where my mother grew-up going to and would be a member of the last 10 years of her life. Oh, cue that theme one more time. Every time I would run into him, he would ask about my mother. Nothing strange about that other than the way he asked. I asked my mother about the guy and she said that he had a crush on her going back to when she was in high school in the 40’s. Now that’s creepy!

Go Back


Blog Search