In 1940, when we moved from Kansas City to Springfield, Missouri, I had my first taste of freedom. My first dog was a little black and white shepherd mix, and I don’t remember his name, but I remember the adventure. We had moved into a rental house that was in a remote area of Springfield, and was surrounded by acres and acres of vegetable farming. I was playing in the front yard, which was surrounded by a picket fence, and the dog and I decided to go exploring (an urge that I have had all my life). So, I reached up and unlatched the gate, the dog eagerly ran out, and I followed, figuring that the dog must know where he was going. I was four years old, and already making some questionable decisions about whom to follow… and why do you think they know where they are going? My dog ran across the road and into the cultivated fields of vegetables… finding a lane, between rows, and heading South with me happily jogging along.

We travelled along for about an hour, I guess, and I was starting to get kinda’ hungry. I had been following the dog for about a mile, by now, and I started looking for somewhere to get something to eat. Over on a rise, and on a street running parallel to the vegetable farm, was a house. I started over for the house, and the dog trotted along, his tongue hanging out in the heat of the day. I knocked on the screen door, and this nice older woman came to the door. I looked up at her and said, “Me and my dog are hungry and thirsty.” The woman smiled and said, “Come on in and let’s see what we can find.” The woman fixed a pan with water for my dog, and made me a peanut butter and jelly on white bread sandwich (still one of my favorites).

The nice Lady started questioning me about who I was and where I lived… I didn’t have a clue where I lived, being lost as an Easter Egg. Somehow, I must have remembered that Mom always had my name and address marked in my clothes… I showed the lady, she called my frantic Mom… and I got found and lived to have many more adventures..

This adventure seemed to foretell the life and times of Stan the growed-up man… who quit following his dog, and ended up following a guitar down a long, winding road, with a song to sing along the way. To this day I can’t wait to see what is over the next hill, and as long as there is a chance of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at the end of it… I’m in for the long haul.

Stan Hitchcock