A Knight She Won't Forget
A Knight She Won't Forget
A WALK WITH MY DOG
I had just turned sixteen in June of 1979. I had decided to take a walk with my new dog, Champ, that I had gotten free from someone at the local flea market. Champ was a half Doberman Pincher and half German Shepherd. We started our walk about ten o'clock in the morning. Walking to the local park with my dog was what I did most summer days in Sacramento. The day was already hot, and most of my friends had gone to the regional lake where most of the local teenagers hung out during the summer.
I was always financially challenged due to my parents struggling to raise my four other brothers and four other sisters. Champ gave me that special freedom of hope to get out of feeling trapped. We normally would walk along the creek at the nearby park, sitting on about two square miles. Trying to keep my head above water with challenges from the local neighborhood like getting into drugs and heavy alcohol, the walks we'd take would allowed me to escape and dream about a life where I could wear new clothes, instead of donated clothes carefully selected from the Salvation Army. My parents did the very best they could do. All of us kids would get a pair of new jeans and shirts at the beginning of school. By the middle of the year, we would all share and hide the good ones from one another as a challenge. I really don't know how my parents raised nine children! I truly loved both my parents and appreciated all they did with so little money.
Having no way to get to the lake where all my friends were partying, Champ and I would go to the creek. It was the cheapest thing I could do. My father, too busy chasing women at the bar and getting drunk to tend to his family duties, gave all the responsibilities to my mother to raise the family. I always wanted my father's approval for many years. Up until this time in my life, I wanted to be in control of my own destiny. Why should I care about someone who wasn't around enough to raise his children? This was a bad attitude, but it was the only one I had. Two years prior, I did the unforgiveable - I departed from the religion of Jehovah Witness, which my family was so heavily into.
When my sister married a duty Jehovah Witness, my mother, in desperation to find some activity to keep all of us nine kids away from the drugs and alcohol in the neighborhood, thought that religion was a good thing to keep us out of trouble.
At the age of fourteen, I had a so-called 'graduation' at the Jehovah Witness church and was 'allowed' to go 'door-to-door.' It seemed to be a great accomplishment, especially for a boy in his early teens. Most kids are not allowed to go 'door-to-door' preaching the 'Word' until eighteen years of age and having gone through years of testing. Testing included knowing the religion as well as having the ability to answer most questions anyone could come up with when asked about the religion.
The first time I went door-to-door, I approached this one particular house. My sister and her friend from church were beside me... We were so well dressed; it seemed as if we were going to some business meeting. I was told that I would be allowed to do my first 'Witness.' This meant that I was now mature enough and knowledgeable to try to attain a new person into believing that Jehovah Witness is the best church, and the only church that preached the way to heaven. As I knocked on the door, this pretty woman around twenty years of age answered. I began the intense studied approach and verbatim introduction of the religion. I probably didn't get three words out when I realized that she was amazed that a kid could speak so clearly, especially one who were non-white. I didn't take this personally, rather as a compliment. Most Hispanics in the area spoke very street-broken Eng