The one that got away…again


I can probably count on one hand the few important times in our married life that my husband did not have a camera at his side. The day we got married. The day our daughter got married. The moment each of our daughters took their first steps (this counts as two). The day we saw a bald eagle.

You get the picture. I’m sure there were others; I just can’t remember them. Today as we set out on our usual Sunday morning walk, we checked our pockets for crucial items: dog poop bag (check), lip balm (check), tissues (check), pepper spray (check). All there.

Off we went on our usual route — our first time in two weeks that we had the nerve to take the route that passes by the home of the stupid pit bull. But with pepper spray in our pockets (as recommended by Everett, our favorite postmaster), we were confident that we could fight off whatever came our way. As it happened, said dog — as instructed by the county dog warden — had been confined to a dog run.

Along the way we saw the usual things…a couple of yippy dogs wishing they too could take a trek outside, far too many squirrels — each of which Ike thought looked interesting enough to chase, the only other couple in town that we see on most of our walks, piles of poop left behind by irresponsible dog owners, but not much of great interest. Certainly not anything that made us wish for a camera.

On to the Buckeye, hoping for a sighting of the great blue heron that sometimes roosts among the gaggle of geese and bevy of ducks that regularly populate the quarry. And maybe a white-tailed deer like the one Mary Ann and I saw on our run a few weeks ago.

As we passed the shelter house and shuffle board courts, something high in a tree caught my eye. A bird? A GREAT BIG bird? The husband, ever on the lookout for the heron, was busy looking at something else, when I stopped dead in my tracks. I’ve always wanted to say that. (Understand, I NEVER stop except for water or to pick up poop.) For a few seconds, I couldn’t speak. I was almost afraid to say the word. Somehow I managed to point — we must have looked like total idiots with our mouths hanging down to our toes. Wow. It took off across the water, gliding smoothly, its talons pointed like a ballerina.

Landing in a tree near the basketball court, it sat glaring at us, as if to say, Nanananabooboo. You forgot your camera.

Dang. No camera. No phone. Nothing. Nada. Just pepper spray and a bag of dog poop.

I knew what the husband was thinking. Could he run home fast enough to get the camera and get back before it left? Nope. But he considered it. Trust me.

The rest of the walk was hampered by the husband trying desperately to get another sighting of the bird — succeeding only in giving himself a permanent crick in his neck. It was the fastest walk we’ve taken in a long time.

After 30 years of living with this guy, I know him all too well. Important missed are not easily forgotten. Once home, he announced his plan to go eagle hunting. Grabbing his camera, he headed for the car. Would I like to go along for the ride? Why not?

We drove SLOWLY around the northwest side of town, combing the trees along the Riley, until we reached the Buckeye. The photographer took a long, slow trek around the quarry. Sensing this would be a long — and probably useless — hunt, I stayed in the car to listen to a book on CD.

Disappointed but insistent that the eagle MUST be in the nearby woods, he drove SLOWLY along the creek. Nada. The eagle was nowhere to be seen. The car finally got tired and took us home. 

Maybe now we’ve learned. Always tuck a phone in the pocket. Just in case. Because, as in the case of the “fish that got away”, no one will believe us.

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