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I once was a ‘musher’ too — well ... sort of

Published: Monday, Dec. 31, 2012 11:59 a.m. CDT

After discussing my past experiences working with the City of Ames with a colleague, I was abruptly asked, “What haven’t you done?”

A lot, really. But sometimes, when you have experience with a particular issue, it’s good to share that experience to further the debate.

That’s why it’s called experience. It’s meant to be shared.

One thing I did do, many years ago, was lead a sled driven by dogs. Well, in this case, it was a single dog, but I digress. In my 10-year-old mind, I was a “musher.”

Ready for the Iditarod, I was not, though.

For several years in my youth, we lived in the country along the shores of the Des Moines River. That is to say I never had to go to far to find a sled hill — which in turn meant I always had a sled handy.

We also had a dog, a St. Bernard by the name of Nemo, who was generally my partner in crime. Like most working dogs, he was built like a horse, and he loved to pull things.

Of particular note, he loved to pull me around on a saucer.

He would bring me the harness I made for him and run alongside me as I got situated on the saucer. But, I had to be careful, because he only had two settings: “go” and “stop.”

This was of particular importance one afternoon as he was running with all his might, dragging me along, giggling all the way. Our property and the Des Moines River were buffered by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land.

On this particular day, Nemo decided to take me through the Corps’ land. And, as I was screaming, “No!” at the top of my lungs, I can only assume he thought I was saying, “Go!”

Because the next thing I knew, I was sitting in the middle of thoroughly frozen Des Moines River, having let go of the reins.

If you’re reading this, thank a teacher. If you’re reading it in English, thank a soldier, sailor, airman or Marine.

Bob Eschliman is editor of the Daily News. He may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 423, or at beschliman@newtondailynews.com via email.

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