It was another after-hours, early evening, in the Autumn of 1969 at the Tonawanda Seneca Indian Reservation Community House, located near Akron, New York. I was the volunteer project coordinator (and Biology major senior) at State University of New York at Buffalo (SUNYAB), part of the Alternative Education Department. Per routine, I was, as always, the last one to leave the building. The program developed and directed academic tutoring, vocational counseling and recreational activities for Native Youth on the Reservation.
On this day, instead of taking the usual transportation, a SUNY-owned vehicle, I decided to ride my recently acquired 1946, 74-cubic-inch, 600-pound Harley Davidson Motorcycle, named HOG (thank you, Jeff Resnick!), rather than the State-owned vehicle. Such a difficult choice!
I hopped on HOG and within a few minutes came upon a long, winding left curve, one I’d taken many times without incident, but this time I was riding on two wheels, not four! In the distance, I spotted a rather large, dark and gnarly-looking DOG about 200-yards away. Or should I say, he spotted me! He was near a barn, 100-yards from the end of the curve. In an instant, he took off but, strangely, in the opposite direction from me. I thought to breathe a momentary sigh of relief. Not for long, though, as I realized my now horrifying predicament. He was running to where I was GOING TO BE! At the end of the curve where the road narrowed.
‘Ah, he’s done this before and had planned well,’ I thought to myself. Instead of retreating (the safe choice), I decided to GO FOR IT and see what HOG could do. I cranked the throttle and ran through the suicide hand-shift gears. Suicide, indeed! I quickly accelerated, lurched forward, and barreled ahead. And now DOG began his run at me as I tried to pass by. His feet skidded furiously on the asphalt as he tried to position himself right in the middle of the road next to me, rapidly biting the air, coming perilously close to my left leg. That gaping maw brushed up alongside my pant leg, spewing saliva out onto the pavement. I simultaneously turned HOG and myself away from those giant, bristling teeth. DOG forced me to slow down a bit and boxed me into the curb, where I almost LOST IT! I righted myself, had one trick left and jammed on HOG’s horn over and over, as I accelerated again, blaring out shrill, HIGH-pitched, powerful blasts that only an old Harley can make. At that moment DOG was DONE and loped off, a wounded warrior, wincing, defeated. No harm done, just “counting coup” (as any honorable warrior would do). Saved by a “sound-bite!” All hail this reservation DOG!
By the way, I never drove that way again . . .
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