Past readers of my column may remember a little story about a hammock I have strung between the porch supports of my house. Hammocks are great for lounging in on a nice summer night, but one thing I learned recently is after a season of sun, rain, snow and ice, cheap string hammocks are not forever.
Any hammock can be a bit of an unnerving place to land, but with a wooden porch on one side and a three-foot drop onto the rose bushes on the other side, mine is particularly dangerous.
Last year I found out how bad the drop can be when Hudson helped me out of the string sling onto the wrong side of the porch one time. He had been laying underneath the thing and as I was rolling into it he decided to stand up. The extra little ump from him getting up provided me with the extra momentum to pitch me off the porch and onto the aforementioned rose bushes.
Hudson did not get any doggie treats for his actions.
Last week after an afternoon of mowing and other yard work I decided to take a break in my swinging bit of discount store hammock. It has been hanging on the porch all year through all kinds of weather, but at a quick glance everything look copacetic to me.
Hudson was lying in his usual spot just beneath it. Lightning was in a freshly dug hole in the front yard.
As I approached the hammock and prepared to lie down, Hudson appeared a little apprehensive and to avoid any upcoming punishment took the initiative to move a few feet further away.
I sat gingerly on the edge of the hammock slowing taking my weight off my feet and transferring it to the creaking hammock.
Hudson watched with his head up in an alert and ready to bolt for cover expression. Lightning seemed oblivious to the whole situation.
After a few seconds of testing the stringed death trap I leaned back kicked my feet up and started to relax.
Seeing that there appeared to be no problem, Hudson got up and started walking over to the hammock for a pat. Just as I reached out to pat him on the head the weather-worn strings on the hammock snapped and I was heading rapidly toward the wooden slats of the porch.
Naturally the first strings to go were on the side with the bushes below, and I was heading that way. The hand that was reaching for Hudson found his collar and I was hoping maybe that little bit of extra weight would keep me on the porch.
Unfortunately Hudson has gotten pretty good about slipping out of his collar if need be.
He slithered out of the collar and bolted for the doghouse. I ended up in the rose bushes below, this time with part of a broken hammock in one hand and an empty dog collar in the other.
Hammocks aren't forever, and dogs are only man's best friend when you're filling up the dog dish.
Terry Spradley is the editor of the St. John News. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org