Fritzie Wasn’t Scared

I don’t know about other kids, but when I was pretty young I was afraid of a few things. Like I was afraid of dying in my sleep, and sometimes I was afraid of the dark. And don’t go sticking spiders and snakes in my space, either. I don’t remember ever confessing these fears to anyone, and I don’t know if anyone ever guessed. Some fears you outgrow as you get older, and some just seem to stick with you. So keep those spiders and snakes away from me, if you don’t mind. But these days dying in my sleep no longer troubles me, as a matter of fact I’m kind of curious what it’s like on the other side. And my fear of the dark I overcame a long time ago with the help of my dog Fritzie.

We moved into our new house up the hill from Wauregan when I was about seven years old. We had a big fireplace, which Uncle Charlie had built, and we used up a lot of firewood every winter. Sometimes Dad would send me out to the woodpile to get a good size hunk of maple or oak. That was only a problem when it was dark outside. If I had to go over there in the dark, then my kid’s imagination would usually take over. Like, what’s hiding in those woods just waiting to jump out at a little kid? Or, what just made a sound behind that tree? But if Fritzie was with me then it was all right. Fritzie wasn’t afraid of anything. I knew that if some monster were to jump out at me in the dark, then Fritzie would come to my rescue, all snarls and growls and teeth. I guess you could say that Fritzie was my best friend.

I used to love traipsing off through the woods with Fritzie in the wintertime. We explored the wilderness for miles around. And in the summer I’d ride my bike down to Beechers Brook and Fritzie would trot right along with me. He’d even go in for a swim if it was a real hot day.

Well, there was one thing Fritzie was afraid of, I found out, and that was a thunderstorm. That’s where I repaid Fritzie for all the times he bailed me out. Sometimes Fritzie would spend the night indoors, usually somewhere by the fireplace. One particular night I remember a really violent storm blew over. Thunder crashed and lightning flashed and the next thing I knew there was Fritzie on my bed upstairs. I was never afraid of thunder and lightning, I kind of liked it all, but I figured Fritzie was afraid of that storm and had jumped onto my bed for protection. Then again, maybe he was just there to protect me. Hmmm? I haven’t thought of that before. Maybe Fritzie wasn’t afraid of that storm after all. Maybe he just thought that I was. What a dog!

Paul from MD