Mary took the Grind Free-write Challenge, given at the Surrey International Writers' Conference in October 2008:
The most important thing I ever learned on a trip
©2008 Mary Seus
That sounds like it could be extremely boring when I write it. It sort of resembles “what I did last summer.” I don't want to sound stilted like those childish essays --"Then we went to the park." That's where it begins…
Once upon a time I decided to run away from evil Ottawa with my pitbull mastif. I packed a few valuables and left with him on a chain. It was the first time I had hitchiked. No one picked us up in Canada. We took a taxi to Kingston and stayed overnight in a nice B&B (credit card). I was told that he had to go in the bathroom. I ignored that though Cricket (derived from Crockett) was not allowed on the bed. In the night there was some commotion at the door. Cricket, a six-month old big puppy, was snapping as some people (the innkeepers) tried to enter my room. The next morning we took a cab to the Canadian border. I had already jettisoned a radio while trying to be picked up. Cricket shifted a picnic table with his brute neck while I was discussing with Customs. We walked over the bridge. I have American citizenship by birth so I can cross that border on a whim. We arrived in upper state New York. Another hotel, more people at the door, though this time at a respectable hour, not trying to break in, and just wanting to see the dog.
I hadn't realized before I wrote this, but Cricket is a subset of the most important thing I ever learned on a trip. It is the beauty of our animal beast friends. He was a friendly dog with a huge head but as someone pointed out while petting it, "big ass" as well. He grew up to have the horns for I kept him full male. I felt this would keep his disposition good. His first attack came when we were in the night hitchiking. People must have thought there was a bizarre monster driving by some dog on two legs wound around his mistress humping and biting her ponytail gently. Anyways the most important thing I learned on that trip was an appreciation of nature. Cricket, as I did not realize before was a part of nature, though a domestic pet. We slept in a pile of weeds one night and by bushes in a small town where I woke up being dragged across the grass by a Cricket intent on getting moving. We camped near building sites in Colorado and I yelled at a guy making a pass at me and I had to leave for a while. Other men there were evil too. Funny men evil, nature good. One night in Boulder we went for a walk down a small mountain. We came to a cliff as it grew dark. A PO came out with a German Shepherd. We spent the night freezing and overlooking a cliff.