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Escaped convicts -- no trouble here, doggone it

November 02, 2009

o If you like reading Tim Rowland, you'll love watching him. See what else Tim has to say

The linemen from Allegheny Energy were true professionals.

The dogs were not.

Some background:

We felt rather superior when we received the notice that you can sign up for an escaped-prisoner alert from the Division of Correction.

Little old ladies might need that, I thought, but not moi. First, I have a shotgun, although I cannot necessarily endorse its effectiveness.

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The pellets make it out of the barrel in sharp order, but at 10 feet, they are growing short of breath. By 20 feet, they are panting. And at 30 feet, they are flat-out exhausted and looking to lie down for a rest.

Plus, I can never remember where I left the weapon. I'm hesitant to put it under the bed because I'm afraid I'd blow my own foot off some morning and I really hate dealing with open wounds before I've had my coffee.

So I just leave it around, and it could cause an awkward moment if I had to politely ask an escaped felon if he could hold on for a sec while I ransacked the house for my gun.

But no matter, because we have dogs.

They'd never hurt anyone, but they can bark a good game and Opie is about the size, shape and color of a bear, so he can be intimidating to the uninitiated.

Hannah the bulldog is territorial, but, strangely enough, only in matters of airspace. Buzzards, medevacs and one wayward parasailor have all been subjects of her wrath. The Goodyear blimp will never be able to swoop in and steal our -- I'm trying to think of something we have worth stealing -- our five-gallon buckets of walnuts while Hannah is on the job.

All right, so anyway, Beth wakes me up at 5 a.m. last week and says, "Something's going on in our lower pasture."

Sure enough, I look out the window and see what appear to be a dozen alien spaceship landing lights blazing away smack in the middle of the field.

Beth, knowing the way my mind works, looked at me and asked the only salient question she could at that point in time: "Do you think you can get a column out of this?"

No lie.

A quick investigation revealed the halogen lights belonged to a big truck and a backhoe that was digging up a large trench in the field. An Allegheny worker quickly explained: "Your neighbor lost power and the primary runs underground off of this pole."

I was still asleep enough that this explanation sounded perfectly fine to me.

On my way back up the hill, I ran into Beth, who asked what was up.

"Oh, the primary runs through the field," I said.

She was still asleep enough to say, "Oh, OK."

The linemen tidied everything up perfectly, and it was only later that we learned the poor fellows had been out there all night. Our neighbor's power blew during the late innings of the World Series, and apparently the crew had been up and down our driveway all through the early morning hours with heavy and noisy equipment, bucket trucks and spotlights, hunting for the problem.

It does not bother me that they did this. It does not bother me that we did not wake up while they did this. It bothers me that the dogs did not wake up.

Opie will go nuts at the kind, elderly gentleman who walks along the road collecting aluminum cans. Hannah about bursts at an aircraft at 30,000 feet. But when heaven and earth literally move beneath their eight collective feet?

We might as well put a sign out front, "Escaped felons welcome here."

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2324, or via e-mail at timr@herald-mail.com. Tune in to the Rowland Rant video under opinion@herald-mail.com, on antpod.com or on Antietam Cable's WCL-TV Channel 30 at 6:30 p.m. New episodes are released every Wednesday.

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