Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Flashing Lights In the Rear View Mirror

I bought the red Mercury Cougar, and down the road we went. That was the year I got my dog Corduroy.  Her mother was a golden lab and her father was a "travelin man".  I suspect her antecedent's had coyote cousins.  She was a beautiful brindle color.  She traveled everywhere with me.

I still remember the first time I stopped at a drive-inn with her.  I ordered her a small hamburger.  She gobbled it with delight.  She spit out the pickles.  The next time I stopped I ordered her hamburger naked.  She took a bite and looked at me with disgust.  She liked ketchup and mustard, just not pickles.  I never fed her onions.

One time I went inside with my mom and had a meal.  I ordered Corduroy's hamburger inside and took it out to her when we left.  She looked at the burger and ignored it.

"What's wrong with the dog?"

"I don't know."

It would take a couple more of those episodes before I learned that she expected the hamburger to come out the window.  She wouldn't touch it otherwise.  She was spoiled.  She also loved vanilla ice cream.  She was always a great hit with the employees.  As I would drive away I could always hear the laughter and conversation about the dog at the drive up.

One night we were coming back from Miles City.  The road from the Colstrip turnoff to Busby is a two lane road.  I had just passed the town of Colstrip.   I noticed that I was getting really sleepy.  I was glad that I had only about 35 miles more to go before I got to Busby.  I kept fighting to stay awake.  I remember looking over at the passenger seat and noticed Corduroy was curled up fast asleep.

Flashing lights reflected in my rear view mirror.  The road had narrow shoulders.  As I pulled over I mentally ran a checklist.  I put my hands on the steering wheel at 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock and waited for the officer to arrive.  I could hear the crunch of gravel as he approached the car.

He told me to roll down the window.  He used his flashlight to illuminate the interior of the vehicle. It rested on Corduroy.  I mentally questioned why she hadn't  barked when he approached the car.  I was aware that she was still sleeping.

"Ma'm have you been drinking?"

"No officer."

"I want you to step out of the car and roll your window up.  Is your dog aggressive?"

"No.  She's still a puppy and is asleep.  May I get my purse and registration?"

"Where's your purse?"

"Officer it's on the floorboard in front of the passenger seat.  The registration is in the jockey box."

"Get them."

I retrieved my things and stepped out of the car.  He told me to get in the cruiser.  I handed my driver's license, car registration and insurance card to the officer and waited for him to run my tags.

Again he asked if I had been drinking.  He had been following me and I had crossed over the center line on several occasions.  I told him I was heading to Busby and I had been feeling sleepy.  He talked to me for about 15 minutes and then let me go with a warning.

This part of the road had been the scene of many fatalities often associated with driving under the influence.  The Northern Cheyenne Reservation is a dry reservation.  Jim Town is a bar just a few miles from the border.

I was pretty shook.  I passed Jim Town and crossed the border onto the reservation.  It had been about 20 minutes since I had been pulled over by the sheriff.  Again I saw flashing lights in my rear view mirror. When I pulled over the second time I was about a mile from Lame Deer.

Again I waited for the officer with my hands on the steering wheel.  I could not imagine why I was being pulled over.  As I watched the officer approach.  I realized it was "Lady Blue" the nickname given to the BIA female Police Officer.

She asked me to roll down the window.  I complied.

"Have you been drinking?"

"No officer.  I just got pulled over by the County Sheriff a little while ago.  He asked me the same thing."

She told me I had been crossing the center line.  This shook me to the core.  She told me to go into Lame Deer and get some coffee before I headed down the road.  I followed her advise.  I was shaking badly as I walked into the convenience store and bought a cup of coffee.  I decided to leave my window down for the rest of the trip.  Corduroy started to wake up just as we got to the house.

The incident bothered me and I talked to several people about it.  Especially the fact that Corduroy didn't wake up.  They told me to have the car checked for a possible carbon monoxide leak.

I drove with the windows down until I got back to Miles City.  The mechanic found an exhaust leak and repaired the car.

Those two officers probably saved my life that night.


  1. I just had to keep reading to see where your story was heading. What a great name for a dog. I am wondering if he is named after Corduroy,the picture book bear.

  2. I also had to keep reading to find out what happened! So glad those officers were there that night. 

  3. That is an amazing story.  For me it was an unexpected ending.  You were fortunate that you talked to people about your story and they gave you life saving advice.  Many things were in your favor including the two policemen.  That must have been so scary.

  4. Storykeeper FerrisMarch 14, 2012 at 6:01 AM

    Corduroy was named for the material.  When she was little there was a dark patch on her head.  My mom asked if it was a dark patch or if it was a shadow caused by how her fur was laying, like the material corduroy.  

  5. Wow that was so unexpected.  I was sure the cops were the villains. Good story and glad you are still here to tell it,

  6. Amazing.  Did not expect that as your ending.  Glad you are both okay.  I puzzled over your term "jockey box."  Is that the same as a glove box (that we never put gloves in)?

  7. Rosemary NickersonMarch 14, 2012 at 7:03 PM

    Wow!  That is a scary story.  So glad you made it home in one piece!

  8. Wow, Ruth, it's like someone besides those officers were looking out for you.  What a story.  I kept wondering what was happening, & figured it was something to do with your food because Cordurory was sleeping also-like a bad hamburger.  You had me on the edge of my seat!  


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