Inflection point –
1. Math. Point on a curve at which the curvature changes from convex to concave or vice versa.
2. Business. A moment of dramatic change, especially in the development of a company, industry, or market.
3. Dog Owner. The absolute moment at which you realize you don’t own a dog, it owns you.
As I reflect back on our first six months together, it’s still surprising that both of us made it out alive.
But me and Malcolm were now mates, having a helluva lot of fun, mixing it up, playing golf, and side by side twenty four seven. And we were developing a routine. As the sun sneaked up over the Medina River that abutted our land, we’d awaken, Malcolm stirring from the blanket beside the couch and me uncrumpling from the two-seater I slept on that didn’t quite fit a man of my size, then head out to the backyard and take our morning piss. Ah, what a way to start the day.
At the time I was pursuing a business degree and was thoroughly involved with accounting and finance type clubs but at every study session at Calcutta’s Coffee House and at every school sponsored event I attended, Malcolm came with. ‘I Go, He Go’ was how we rolled and there were very few exceptions to that rule.
At one of the FMA or Eco-Finance meetings I was chairing, I can’t recall which, I met a fellow named Eric Gamble, a rapscallion, scraggly looking, screw-the-system sort and we became friends. He got his rebellious bent and respect and admiration of nature I suppose from his grandfather, the founder of Ozark water, but Eric was more than that to me. He was a fellow dog lover and at the time, I knew very few of them that I cared for, tolerated talking to, or even respected.
He and his striking Great Dane, Lily, lived on 200 acres south of San Antonio, a place that became a second home to me and Malcolm. On any given weekend, we’d go out there to romp and stomp, pound our chests, and explore the wild and untamed. Cheese-Mo type stuff, you know? At least I thought it was just that.
Yep it was beers for me, bitches for him at our weekends at Patron’s Ranchito (as Eric’s place became known by me), and by bitch I’m speaking of the most beautiful Lilith, a name that if you understand its origins, was most aptly picked by Eric. Fawn colored yet fiercely independent, she was the Mamasita of the little ranch and Malcolm fell in love with her the moment they met.
One of my favorite memories is driving up the half-mile bumpy, pot ridden, red sandy loam, unpaved drive to Eric’s house and before I had a chance to park the Pathfinder, Malcolm leapt out the half opened passenger seat window to greet her. Like all proper Southern Belles, Lily asserted and like all proper Southern gentlemen, Malcolm submitted.
And once the dance was done, they tore off together to wallow in the nearest mud pit or livestock tank, which, for those of you who never grew up on a farm, is like a pond but with an indelible and unforgettable stank to it. Maybe that’s where the name came from.
Indeed, those were our salad days.
Back then, I thought that idiomatic expression meant just the good times, the life of Riley. I don’t know where it came from but I recall the Shakespearean play about it being green in judgment. And that I was.
You see, it’s easy to be mates as Malcolm and I had become. Friendship doesn’t and shouldn’t really require a whole lotta moving parts. Parenting does but at that time, I still didn’t see myself as one.
So at what point does an inflection, the inverse curve, begin? What causes it and why? For some I suppose its love, loss, beauty, pain, tragedy, triumph, despair or desperation.
For me it was fear. A fear I’ve never felt before the weekend we were at El Ranchito de Patron, one sweet sunny South Texas day.
I still recall that day with absolute clarity. It was the day that I became a dad for the first time but it was also the day I almost killed my son.
Author's Note to Patron:
Writing about Lily made me miss her. I don't have any photos of her with me but if you email me one, I'll post it here. She was a beaut and Malcolm adored her. Great memories.
It felt good to write about them and thank you for helping out and being apart of the San Antonio Puppy Up! walk.
Stay Righteous My Brother.