Jo Ann Jaacks: An escapade in lieu of an adventure

Pyrenean Mountain Dog

A couple years ago, I meant to have an adventure to honor Anthony Boudrain but got sidetracked by an unexpected escapade.

Eric Hahn, Administrator for the Facebook page Connecticut Wonderful, had posted this message: “I invite you, in honor of Anthony Bourdain's birthday, to go out and have an adventure in Connecticut today. Do something you've never done. Go somewhere you have never gone. And if you like, come back and share your story.”

Renowned chef, best-selling author, TV star, travel expert, entrepreneur – with the world, figuratively, at his feet, Anthony Bourdain took his own life in June 2018. He has been quoted "Travel isn't always pretty. It isn't always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that's OK. The journey changes you; it should change you.”

I have loved traveling from an early age, and I also love a good challenge. I began to imagine where I would go and what I would do for the first time. One thing on my list of DTS – Do This Sometime – which I prefer to the pejorative Bucket List, was to hike to the top of Apple Hill in Morris and see the view from the Observatory. It’s only a mile climb and considered an “easy” hike, but the day I first decided to DTS, immediately after researching and interviewing for an Eye on History column, I was wearing brand-new sneakers and the beginning meadow part of the walk was unmowed and drenched from overnight rain. I didn’t get far before turning back that time, so I chose this as the adventure to be done while wearing boots.

There were still four bullet points on my daily schedule, so I picked up the pace, hoping to cross everything off before day’s end. I was driving on Rte. 254 as fast as most people do on this road, when three dogs, one I recognized as a Great Pyrenees, dashed in front of my car. I swerved and slammed on the brakes. The smaller dogs took off down the road and a woman came running after them. She told the big white dog to "stay" as I pulled into her driveway and jumped out of my car. The big white dog wasn't staying, so I ran to grab his collar. The other dogs were running back and forth in the road, gleefully free, and totally ignorant of the speeding traffic.

The drivers must have realized the danger of the situation, and yet many of them swung wide of cars slowing down and then punched it to get out of the back-up, evidently even if it meant running over a dog or human beings, which at this point was the screaming woman and my cursing self. I was trying to hold onto a 100lb dog who wanted to join the pack. I gripped him so tightly that his collar broke, so I cajoled him closer to my car’s open door and quickly hefted him into the front seat. He didn’t fit since I’m now driving a small car and I pull the driver’s seat in tight, but there was no choice since the rest of my car was packed with tag sale remainders and boxes of books. The dog folded himself around the steering wheel and pasted his nose to the window as I slammed the door shut.

No one died from this, but it was a scary scenario. And I think that counts as an adventure because I’m still shaking from this. Anthony, I did this for you.

Connecticut Media Group