A lot of questions remain, but a lot have been answered. My buddy called me this morning to report that he spent half an hour on the phone with my friend’s brother. My buddy believes that what he was told is probably true.
It seems our friend has lost his marbles. The lack of marbles diagnosis was not made by the brother, but by a real doctor, or so we’re told. My friend’s brother also said that my buddy and I will not be allowed to ever visit our friend as long as he is in this place, per the doctor’s orders. It seems our friend still believes he has his marbles, but apparently they are nowhere in sight.
The brother has also gotten word to the sister about our friend’s dive off the deep end and she believes the story as well. It seems we didn’t know it, as he was living out west, but our friend wasn’t wrapped too tight. It seems over the past few years he has been losing a few marbles at a time. Now the bag is empty and his brother brought him back east to keep an eye on him.
It sure did seem like he made the decision to return east on his own and according to my buddy seemed rational, but I guess not. Living up in the mountains of the northwest, he had pretty much insulated himself from the world. He hadn’t worked in 20-years, but he really didn’t have too. It seems impossible, but when he came out of the woods, he admitted to never having seen a USA Today and was quite taken with the colorful newspaper. He had no idea how to work a computer, couldn’t even turn one on and hadn’t watched a TV for a long time. Apparently he found HD TV, which he saw in the airport on the trip back, quite fascinating.
He did know about 9/11, but didn’t know about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Oddly, he had stockpiled books of crossword puzzles and could knock one off in record time. Not just the wimpy ones, but New York and Los Angles Times crossword puzzles. I guess there isn’t much else to do out in the woods.
The sheriff, or whoever, got all his guns and his brother took the truck and brought it back east. There wasn’t much else, except the money accounts of which the brother now controls.
According to my buddy, calling from his hot tub, in two weeks our friend will be legally free to walk. He can walk out of the place he is in and become a free man – a man without marbles. The brother says our friend is in a very angry state of mind and says that once out, he plans to head back to the mountains.
One problem is that he hasn’t driven, other than into the nearest town for food and supplies, in years. He really can’t drive anymore and he admits that. He was putting less than 1,000 miles a year on his truck. And, while he has money, he has none to spend.
So what happens now?
More doctors get involved in the search for the missing marbles, which the current doctors explain may be missing for good. The brother is looking for help in determining what to do next. Those two weeks will go fast and the people at the place where our friend is say that they legally have to discharge him, marbles or no marbles.
Apparently, his ability at crossword puzzles has people in amazement. He sits, grumbles and mumbles and rips through a crossword puzzle like he had all the answers.
If true, it’s all so strange. It makes you want to grab hold of your own marbles and hold on tight. And for heavens sake, any affinity for crossword puzzles should be viewed with grave concern.
We’ll see what happens in two weeks.
February 20th, 2012 by
A lot of questions remain, but a lot have been answered. My buddy called me this morning to report that he spent half an hour on the phone with my friend’s brother. My buddy believes that what he was told is probably true.
February 18th, 2012 by
“Paul’s sister called me,” my buddy said when I answered the phone. “She said she has been trying to get in touch with him and he doesn’t answer his phone. She wanted to know if I had heard from him.”
“What did you say?” I asked.
“She still thinks he’s living out west,” my friend said.
“Did you tell her he was back here?” I asked.
“Well, no. I told her she should call Paul’s brother, but apparently they don’t speak to one another,” he said. “So, I just told her I’d let her know if I heard anything. I don’t like lying to her, but I really don’t want to get involved in a family thing.”
“Did you call the broker?” I asked.
“He wasn’t in. I left a message, but it’s the weekend. I don’t expect to hear from him until Monday.”
“Monday’s a holiday,” I reminded him. “Maybe Tuesday.”
“His sister gave me a phone number to call her if I hear anything,” my friend said. “I think I’m going to call Paul’s brother and tell him that his sister is looking for Paul. I don’t want to get Paul’s brother pissed off, he’s 6-6 and about 250 pounds. You’ve seen him. He’s probably even bigger than he was when you last saw him. He’s a hot head. I really don’t want to get on the wrong side of that guy.”
“He knows where you live,” I said jokingly.
“Ya,” my friend said. “Sometimes I wish I had closer neighbors.”
“Did you call that place again?” I asked.
“Ya, I did, same old BS.” he said. “Paul who? I can’t say, no I can’t tell you if we have spoken to anyone. You know. That damn Frenchman jerking us around again.”
“So I could call up there and ask if you were there and while you might be standing beside me, all they would say is, Who? We can’t say if he’s here or not?”
“I suppose,” was all my buddy said. “I don’t think that crazy Frenchman would even admit to being there himself if I asked him.”
“Do you have any idea where that motel is that his brother is living in?” I asked.
“No, I just know it’s in New Hampshire.”
“Should we drive up to where we think this Frenchman is holding Paul and look around?” I suggested. “I’m free Sunday. We know what town this place is suppose to be in. Maybe we’ll find something.”
“I don’t think that will help,” my buddy said. “If we go up there, even if we find the place, which would be a long shot since we don’t know the name of it, they probably wouldn’t let us in. And Paul might not be there. Maybe he is in a hospital somewhere.”
“How about calling the hospitals in the area?” I asked. “They might be able to tell us if he was or is there?”
“We could do that,” my friend said. “There can’t be too many hospitals in that area. I’ll try that later today. What I don’t get is why his brother doesn’t seemed more concerned. He just seems to think Paul is fine, or that’s how it seems to me.”
“Well, maybe now that Paul’s sister is asking questions, his brother will start caring a little more,” I said.
“She’s going to be some pissed when she finds out he’s back here and that she didn’t know.” he said. “But you know, we may be reading too much into all this. Maybe it’s nothing.”
“When are you going to call his brother?” I asked.
“Probably later today,” he said. “I’m going out to buy a new mattress today. I liked the one you had the last time I was there. I’m getting one of those. Was the one you had the plush?”
“Beats me,” I said.
“Well, I’m going to drive around to as many places as I can this afternoon and try out as many mattresses as possible, ones like you have.”
It’s not my bed. It’s my daughters, whose room he slept in the last time he was here. But, I’ll admit, I have no idea what kind of mattress I sleep on.
“Sounds like fun,” I said. “You do have a very exciting life.”
“I tried one out a couple of days ago and they had to wake me up. It was wonderful,” he laughed.
“You fell asleep in the store?” I asked.
“Ya, well almost,” he thought about it. “Ya I did. I’m going to have a nap today before I go so it doesn’t happen again.”
“What are you doing that’s making you so tired?” I asked. “Polishing your cars or is it all that soaking in your hot tub that’s wearing you out?”
“I don’t polish them. I have people.”
His house is on the ocean and from the hot tub outside he sits and watches the water, while talking on the phone.
“The hot tub does make me tired, but it’s so nice.”
“Why don’t you tell Paul, if we ever find him, that if he buys a hot tub he can put it right next to yours and the two of you can sit there and look out to sea together. Like in one of those Cialis commercials?”
There was a pause. “We don’t know if Paul’s got any money left to buy anything.”
February 17th, 2012 by
I spoke with by buddy this morning and he got a call; not from the rude unidentified moron that he had spoken with earlier, but from Paul’s brother. It seems Paul called his brother yesterday. Yes, the mystery man surfaced, but the call, it turns out, raises our concern further.
According to Paul’s brother, Paul called him last night from a hospital. Paul didn’t know where the hospital was. He was there for a physical, so his brother said. He didn’t have a phone, they had taken it away. He was calling from a pay phone. Or so he claimed. You don’t see too many pay phones around these days.
“What did his brother say?” I asked my friend.
“He said that Paul demanded that someone come get him?” my friend said.
“Did he say where?” I asked.
“That’s the problem,” my buddy said. “Has he been moved to a hospital somewhere? Is he still at the original facility, wherever the hell that is? Or, just what is going on?”
“What else did his brother say?” I asked.
“That’s pretty much it,” my friend said.
“Paul said nothing else?” I asked thinking there had to be more.
“Nope. Just I’m in the hospital. Get me out of here.” my buddy said.
“That must have been a quick call. Didn’t his brother have a chance to talk with him?”
“I guess not,” my friend said. “He said it was quick and that Paul sounded upset.”
“You never got a call-back from the people you spoke with 3-days ago?” I asked. “We’re not invited?”
“No.” my friend answered.
“Is Paul rational?” I asked. “Do you think he is he aware of what he is doing?”
“There is a little more to it,” my friend said. “Paul had a lot of money when he left to come back east.”
“I realize that,” I said.
“Well, I don’t mean to suggest anything, I’m just wondering,” he paused. “Paul flew back here. But his brother mentioned last night that he is driving Paul’s car.”
“That’s interesting,” I answered.
“Ya, and his brother called me from a restaurant.”
“So?” I asked.
“His brother is unemployed. He hasn’t worked in years. He lives in a motel. He has no money. But he seems to have Paul’s car and be eating out.”
I just listened. Things were swirling around in my mind.
“I don’t think Paul was in the hospital for a physical,” my friend said. “He had mentioned to me that he had a check-up just before leaving the west coast. Why would he have a physical, and then fly across the country and have another physical?”
My mind was full of questions. “So why was he in the hospital do you think?”
“I don’t know who to believe,” my friend answered. “I don’t know if he was in the hospital or where he might be.”
“Who is paying for all this,” I asked. “Do you know?”
“Paul paid the bill in advance at the first place, I know that, he told me,” my friend said. “But, I don’t know what to think now.”
“You’re probably wondering the same thing I am,” I said, “just don’t want to say it. Do you have a phone number for his brother?”
“Ya, I’m sure it’s in my cell phone.”
“Do you think you should call the original number again and talk to that obstinate Frenchman?”
“I was thinking of that,” my buddy said. “That guy did say we might, or might not, get a phone call in a couple of days and we’ve heard nothing. I suppose I could call him back and see if we can find out anything new.”
“They won’t tell us if Paul is there. We know that,” I said thinking out loud. “But maybe we can find out if it was Paul or his brother that said that we couldn’t visit. Maybe they never mentioned to Paul that we wanted to come up. Maybe they called his brother instead.”
“Ya,” my friend paused. “It’s the car that I can’t figure out. How did his brother end up with that?”
“Do you know where his brother lives, where the motel is?” I asked.
“No.” my friend said.
“How does he get money?” I asked. “Did he ever say anything about that?”
“No, but Paul once mentioned that his brother had some kind of a thing online where he was making some money.”
“Do you know if Paul’s brother has a car?” I wondered.
“He did,” my buddy said. “Paul said it had broken down and was sitting in a weed patch behind the motel. From what I understand it hasn’t run in a long time.”
“Didn’t you help Paul a few years back with some investments?” I asked. “Do you know where his money is?”
“I did. I know where he put some of it, but there is no way I can verify if it’s still there,” my friend said. “Paul didn’t like the whole idea of investing his money. He wanted it handy nearby.”
“A local bank?” I asked.
“No. As far as I know, he invested a big chunk of money in stocks, bonds, municipals and gold. He liked the idea of owning gold. There was no real estate or really anything else other than his car. I know he did have the habit of always keeping a couple of thousand in his draw.”
“Do you know where that went?” I asked.
“I just assumed it was in his pocket when he came east,” my friend guessed. “The guy didn’t even have a credit card or a bank account.”
“Do you know the broker he worked with?” I asked.
“Ya,” my buddy said. “I set it all up, made recommendations, and made sure it got done.”
“That might be the first phone call to make,” I was thinking out loud again.
I have to work and can’t get away. On the other hand my buddy doesn’t work. He is happily unemployed. He has houses, boats and cars and does know all about investing. He was going to make some calls.
February 16th, 2012 by
A friend recently checked himself into what I understand is a lovely little spot in the foothills of the White Mountains for some rest, relaxation and help with a nasty habit he had picked up. It’s quite an expensive retreat where everything you need is provided. The only condition is that once you commit to entering their program, you must stay. He checked in for a month.
A week passed, and then two days ago another friend and I decided we’d pay our buddy a visit. He had been living out west and we hadn’t seen him in a couple of years. He was excited about move back east, but had to attend to this problem first. We figured we’d better call before driving three hours north for our visit.
“Hello,” a man answered the phone.
“Hi,” my friend said, “Myself and a friend would like to come by and visit a friend of ours staying there, but we figured we’d better call first.”
“Who is this?” the man on the other end asked.
My friend identified himself and restated our request.
“There is no one here.” the man responded.
August 26th, 2011 by
I had just returned from my vacation and was unloading my truck the other day, It wasn’t until then, when I began carting things into the house, that I realized I had brought five pair of shoes. I didn’t even know I owned five pair of shoes.
I had my new sneakers, I was wearing them. There were my old, comfortable sneakers, which are pretty much falling apart and have holes, but I love them. There were my hiking boots, my sandals and a pair of water shoes.
I never wore the water shoes the entire time I was away.
I lined all my shoes up on the deck. They were all pretty tattered and worn, but for the most part comfortable. How did I ever get so many pairs of shoes? I suppose each pair has it’s speciality. I wouldn’t wear my sandals when hiking up a mountain, or my boots when canoeing. Sneakers are pretty universal, but those water shoes really have a limited use.
Why do we need all these speciality shoes? Cowboys wore cowboy boots, I’d bet that neither Jesse James, nor Wyatt Earp had sandals or sneakers in their closet. They lived in their boots.
Loggers wear heavy work boots. Back in the 20th century, they’d set them beside the bunk at night and put them on again in the morning. Even on a day off, they were in their boots. They only needed one pair of shoes.
Fishermen wear rubber boots. They’re in wet conditions all the time. When they’d get off the boat, they’d go home, leaving the rubber boots by the door, the next morning they put them back on and head for the water.
It use to be that everyone had one sturdy, serviceable, pair of shoes and pretty much lived in them.
I remember when ESPN first came on the scene and announced that they would be televising sports and only sports 24 hours a day. Who then believed that possible. But, they did and today ESPN is an empire.
Back in the day to buy shoes you went to the general merchandise or hardware store, or maybe to Woolworth’s or the Ben Franklin 5&10. These places sold everything. Then along came outfits like Tom McCann. No, people said. A store that sells just shoes. I refer you back to ESPN.
It is an age of specialization. Now we have shoes for almost every purpose, even shoes that serve no purpose.
For some shoes have become a fetish item. Look at Imelda Marcos, the wife of once Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos. When Marcos was deposed, his wife’s shoe fetish was exposed. The world cried foul. The Philippine nation was corrupt and going hungry, while the president’s wife had thousands of pairs of shoes. Her over-stuffed shoe closet made headlines around the world.
But the uproar quickly died as women across the globe came, not necessarily to the defense of Mrs. Marcos, but to the defense of the shoe – lots of shoes..
I’m a little embarrassed that I have five pairs of shoes, it seems a bit excessive. But, to those who swoon over footwear, five is nothing.
According to Consumer Reports the average American woman has 17 pairs of shoes.
I’d bet that’s low.
It doesn’t seem to matter if they are impractical, they can be irresistible. In fact Consumer Reports goes on to claim that a third of the American women that they polled, have given into the temptation, at least once, to spend more than $100 for a pair of shoes. They have even admitted to willingly suffering uncomfortable or painful shoes for the sake of fashion.
What’s that old saying? “If the shoe hurts, toss it!”
How many women have seen a pair of shoes, just had to have them, tried them on, and never wore them again? I’m told just trying on and buying a pair of shoes can be very exciting. Apparently, shopping for and buying shoes can be therapeutic as well. Shopping for shoes can effect mood. It can ease depression or simply cheer you up. Dropping a $100 on a pair up pumps, I’m told, can make your day.
I don’t know any men that collect shoes, but there are probably some out there.
My water shoes cost $10 and I’ve probably worn them a total of three weeks. At that price, it could be argued that they were worth the purchase, as I’ve walked a lot of rocky river bottoms in those shoes. My old sneakers cost $75, but I wore them almost exclusively year round for two years. I think they paid for themselves. My hiking boots cost $65. I bought them about six years ago and have used them countless times. They were a good deal. My sandals cost $25 and I wear them around the house all morning. I’ve had the sandals for about three years. Then their are my new sneakers. I paid $85 for them about a month ago and expect them to last a couple of years. Silly me, I guess I’ve never considered fashion when buying shoes. I buy what fits.
So why do we need all these shoes? I don’t think we do, however, some of us simply must have more shoes, we crave shoes and, will go hungry in order to buy that 17th pair. Like a lot of things in our consumer culture, Madison Avenue has us believing that we must have lots of shoes, and in order to feed that hunger, manufacturers have made shoes for almost every purpose.
Whet the heck is a casual shoe? I think all my shoes are casual. How about a work shoe? I can work in almost any pair of shoes, however, I admit that there are some lines of work that necessitate certain footwear. Most of us don’t do those things, yet we have shoes we consider work shoes, but they’re probably just casual.
When I was growing up playing sports we had cleats. Now there are football, baseball, golf, soccer and more kinds of cleats. Is this science or Madison Ave.? They rarely call them cleats anymore, they’re shoes. Mom’s going to buy you shoes, but maybe not cleats..
Do we need these different cleats/shoes, or do we just think we do because that’s what we’re told? Either way we must have them.
I was never very good at much in my cleats, but back then everyone had just the one pair of cleats and used them regardless of the sport. Maybe that was my problem.
For the shoe-addicted, the shoe speciality shop, spawned by the likes of Tom McCann, have become the opium dens of the 60’s. A place to hang with kindred spirits and get high off the scent of new shoes. They’ve become a place to groove to the latest pair of boots, fantasize over flats, salivate over sandals or rock-out with a pair pumps. A place to throw your cares to the wind, dream and let the mood take you. Forget time, forget place, let your mind go. Racks, stacks and tables of shoes await.
We all need to take a lesson from the horse. A horse only has one set of shoes. When those wear out, someone just nails on a new pair.
I’m going to go throw away those old sneakers and I don’t think I’ll be replacing them with something new in my closet, no matter how good it feels.
August 25th, 2011 by
It had been raining for days on end. I was going out of my mind in my two-man tent. Everything was wet, my clothes, sleeping bag, blankets, pillows, everything. I needed to get inside for a couple of nights, but to drive into a town and check into a motel would definitely make me a sissy.
Bouncing around on the muddy, dirt roads in the woods was taking a toll on my truck. I had a half tank of gas and a five gallon can. I was probably good to go a long way, but even with the heater going in my truck, everything was cold and wet. I needed to find a cabin with a wood stove. There are places like that, so I set off into the woods to look.
“Oh, and it’s out back,” she said as if I’d know what she meant. I did. The cabin I had found had an outhouse outback, most did. But what I was interested in most was the wood stove. I thanked her and threw my bag of clothes on the bed. A real bed!
Before long I had the stove going and could feel the heat beginning to fill the small cabin. I set a chair (the only chair) next to the stove and propped my feet on the bed. I had about a six pack of beer and I cracked one.
The cabin was on a pond and I was told that it was surrounded by mountains, which I couldn’t see because of the fog. There was a hand pump at the sink for water and a well outside the front door. I could make my morning coffee right on the wood stove, which I planned to burn all night. There was plenty of wood stacked in the corner.
There was an oil lamp in the cabin for light and I had my head lamp. Before I cracked that second beer, I figured I have a better look around my cabin which was probably in the neighborhood of 15×15 feet. There was a small cabinet on the other side of the bed. Being curious and with nothing else to do, I figured I’d have a look inside. Edging up between the bed and the wall to get to the cabinet, I kicked something with my foot. It felt heavy so I bent down for a look. It was a faded off-white ceramic pot with a lid that was beginning to show some cracks. I lifted it up onto the bed to get a better look and see if there was anything inside.
But then I figured out what it was before I opened it, a chamber pot. Now I had never come across one of these before. I moved it off the bed and set it on the small cabinet. Returning to my chair by the wood stove I opened my second beer and proceeded to ponder the chamber pot.
Before indoor plumbing it was common to use a chamber pot, rather than go outside should nature call in the middle of the night. I stared at the pot. Was it clean? Had it every been used? When was the last time and by who? I hadn’t notice the time slipping away, but that second beer was gone. I walked over to my cooler and took out another. Returning to my chair by the stove, I again propped my feet on the bed and continued to ponder the chamber pot. It was still raining outside and getting dark.
There were no directions with this thing and the lady hadn’t mentioned it. What were you supposed to do with the contents once it had been used? Toss it out into the night? That didn’t make sense. I guess you saved it until morning and I suppose you could add to it if it was a particularly busy night. How did you wash it out, or did you? And what if you had company? How much would it hold?
I finished beer number three. Maybe it was all the beer or maybe it was thinking about the chamber pot, but I had to go.
I grabbed my headlamp, said no offense to the chamber pot and stepped out the door. I could hear loons on the pond. It was still raining, but I wasn’t too concerned about getting wet. I had a nice warm fire now.
I walked around the back of the cabin, but didn’t see the outhouse. One of the beauties of being in the woods is peeing in the woods, but I was curious. Where was the outhouse. I realized it wasn’t too smart to have waited until after dark to go looking for it. I had just assumed it was right behind the cabin.
With the headlamp I found a path. It looked to be the only one, so I followed it figuring somewhere along or at the end of the path I’d find the outhouse. Maybe 10-yards down the path I remembered toilet paper. I didn’t have any with me. That wasn’t why I was making this trip, but I made a mental note to put the paper in the outhouse if I ever found the damn thing. I just knew the next time, when I might need the TP I’d forget it.
Water dripped from the trees and the rocks and roots under foot were slippery. It was muddy, dark and beginning to cool off. I had taken off my boots, and like a fool left the cabin in my sandals. After all, the lady had said, just outback.
I figured I had to be 25-yards or more into this trip and scanning the dark woods with my headlamp, I still saw nothing like an outhouse.
Finally, I gave up and relieved myself in the woods. Still, I wanted to know where the outhouse was. What if I had to go in the night. I wasn’t using the chamber pot, I wasn’t sure what the proper chamber pot etiquette was.
This was turning into a hike. I was beginning to feel like I should have packed a lunch, when I saw something in the beam of the headlamp. There it was, red painted plywood off in the trees. I didn’t need to go now, but I had come so far I just had to have a look.
Rain water dripped off the tin outhouse roof onto me as I spun the wooden latch. I just don’t want things dripping on me when I’m walking into a strange outhouse in the middle of the woods in the dark. It was getting creepy. The place seemed wrapped in spider webs. I hate it when you get them on your face. Wiping off the spider webs, I opened the door and let the beam of my headlamp scan inside. Instantly I was hit by an overpowering smell – of lilacs. There was a vase of flowers on the bench inside – real flowers, mostly daisies. The lilac smell came from an air freshener. There were two TP dispensers, one a typical roller on the wall, the other a separate free-standing hand carved wooden box with a spool inside and a spare roll of paper in a small cabinet below. All together there were three new, unused rolls of paper. What luxury!
Next to the flowers was a stack of magazines. By now I was inside the outhouse looking around. There were current issues of Time, People, Audubon, Downeast and Northern Woodlands magazines. On the wall to the right was a framed topographical map of the area. I bent down to have a closer look. I found the pond and sure enough the lady was right, the pond was surrounded by mountains.
On the opposite wall were hanging pictures of birds, blue jays and chickadees and in the corner a broom and a bucket of fresh pine and cedar wood shavings with a scoop. All the way inside now, I closed the door. On the back of the door were framed verses from poems, that must mean something to someone. I suppose if you finish browsing through all the magazines while sitting there, you could always ponder some poetry.
I had to do it. Who can enter a place like this and not. I carefully lifted the lid prepared for the worst. It was actually quite pleasant, as these things go. Inside the toilet seat someone had hand-painted an attractive and colorful scene of loons on the pond, accurate right down to their red eyes.
I closed the lid and sat down. This place was pretty nice. I picked up a magazine and found myself staring at Jennifer Aniston. If she only knew the range of her popularity. I found myself wishing I had brought along a beer and maybe a snack.
It was still raining outside and I didn’t want to leave the wood stove alone for too long. If I burned the cabin down I might be sleeping in the outhouse. As nice as it was, it didn’t have a bed. There was a bottle of fresh-scented hand sanitizer next to the seat. I took some and headed back to the cabin.
After my trip out back to la petite maison, I knew there would be no reason to use the chamber pot. I wished I had a 10-foot pole as I slid it back under the bed and quickly washed my hands. Propped up in my chair next to the wood stove life was good. I had heat, a bed and one of the sweetest little spots in the woods.
August 24th, 2011 by
I had taken a ride up the Golden Road to take some pictures of a couple of favorite spots, the dri-ki piled up at the foot of Caribou Lake and Mount Katahdin from the Abol Bridge. It had rained all night, but there was the promise of a little sunshine later in the morning, before more rain moved in during the afternoon.
I was camped up above Moosehead Lake, so this ride would be about a 100-mile round trip. I had the time, as with all the rain I had slowed down on my hiking and climbing because of the conditions. Not only were the trails muddy, or in many cases flooded, but the wet, slippery rocks and roots made any uphill trek even more difficult. Being alone, I didn’t want to have something happen.
The Greenville and the Golden roads are heavily travelled by logging trucks, which tear them up. They are gravel roads and some of the holes, once they get started, can get pretty deep. It was Sunday and the trucks didn’t run, so I didn’t have to worry about running into one of them.
I bounced and rattled up the Greenville Road onto the Golden Road, which after a few miles was actually paved. That’s when the conditions got worse. The paved surface was ripped up even more, and unlike the gravel road, you couldn’t run a grader over it to smooth it out. Some of the holes were worse than anything I’ve seen on Boston streets, which means the pot holes were worse than the streets of Berlin after a 1945 bombing run.
I heard the metal on metal clanging. It sounded like something coming loose under my truck. I pulled over and crawled under the truck, but once stopped everything strangely stopping banging. I got back in and drove some more. The rattling and banging increased. I couldn’t tell where it was coming from. I kept smashing down into the huge pot holes. And then it stopped. I drove a little further. Nothing. I got out and crawled back under the truck. Nothing moved.
Who knows. Maybe something fell off, a skid plate or a clamp. I was about 30 miles from Millinocket and it was early Sunday morning. My tent and all my stuff was in the woods north of Moosehead Lake. Good riddance, was all I could think at the time, still I drove cautiously.
I figured I should head for Millinocket just in case. One of the few places open were a gas station and a donut shop. I got some gas and a dozen donuts, what else could I do?
I was a long way from camp and didn’t want to go over the Golden Road again. The only other feasible option was to take Route 11 south and cut across the Katahdin Ironworks Road to Greenville and then up the Lily Bay Road. That could take up to two hours, but I just wanted nothing to do with the Golden Road.
Route 11 was an easy, paved secondary highway without a lot of bumps. But the K-I Road was gravel. I’d have to take it easy. I just wanted to get back to camp and worry about the truck the next day. Crossing the K-I would take about an hour. I had been on it the day before and knew if I drove slowly, I’d be fine.
Not long into the trip, as I approached the point where the K-I crossed the Appalachian Trail, a hiker stepped into the road in front of me waving his arms for me to stop. I slowed as he came up to the window.
“There is an injured hiker in the woods,” he pointed up the trail. “He slipped on a rock and hurt his leg. He needs to get to Greenville. Are you going that far?”
“I’m heading for Greenville,” I said out the window as I pulled the truck to the side of the road. I got out of the truck and walked over to where the trail crossed the road. The hiker had gone back up the trail to help the injured man. When they got to the road the man was walking on his own, however, limping badly.
The hiker put his hand on the injured man’s shoulder. “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it,” he said.
I helped the injured man off with his pack and put it in the bed of my truck. As I did, the injured man limped over to the drivers door and was about to get in.
“I’ll drive,” I said motioning for him to go around to the passengers side.
“Do you have any water?” the other hiker asked. I had a case of bottled water in the truck and I gave him a couple of bottles. He thanked me and walked across the road and into the woods.
The injured man had meanwhile climbed into the passenger seat. It turned out that they were not hiking together. The first hiker had come across the injured man on the trail and was giving him a hand.
I got in and held out my hand introducing myself. He shook my hand, but I had no idea what he said. He was Chinese and all I got was Lee.
“Your name is Lee?” I asked. It wasn’t but I was very close.
“What happened” I asked pointing to his leg.
Lee went off in what I assumed was Chinese, I think, explaining to me what had happened. There was a little English mixed in and I was able to determine that he had slipped on a rock and fallen.
“Are you a thru-hiker, are you headed for Katahdin?” He seemed to understand me, because he launched into a lengthy story about how he had just gotten on the trail in Monson, about 25 miles south of Greenville. He was hiking alone. He had eaten all his food and had no water left, and thought he had too much stuff in his pack as it was very heavy. He had lost his footing and fallen, twisting his leg. Lee was very upset that he wasn’t going to reach Mt. Katahdin.
With some difficulty in translation, he explained to me his new plan, to rest in Greenville and once better, return to the trail. Lee was determined to finish, even though he had really just begun.
The Appalachian Trail begins in Georgia. Some hikers begin as early as February to make the 2,160 mile hike. Lee has gotten on the trail in Monson and hiked a day, maybe two before his fall. He’d spent at least one night in the woods and eaten all his food. He covered maybe 25-30 miles and had about another five to seven days to go. He was off to a bad start.
As best I could tell Lee was from China and was not a hiker. He worked in an office, rarely getting outside. It was like he had just dropped into the woods from the moon.
He was talking away, but I really wasn’t understanding. I did get that he had not had anything to eat all day and was out of water. He was wet from all the rain and pretty muddy.
Then it dawned on me. “You’re hungry, right?” Lee nodded a little sad.
“Do you like donuts?” I asked.
He just looked at me with a puzzled expression.
I stopped the truck and got out. We were on a gravel road in the middle of the woods. He really must have wondered what I was doing. When I got back in the front seat I was holding an open box of a dozen assorted donuts. Lee’s eyes nearly popped out of his head. I set the dozen donuts in his lap.
“Help yourself,” I said reaching behind my seat.
He was on his second donut before I pulled the two cans of beer from the rear seat pocket.
“Do you like beer?” I said handing them both to him. Lee looked like he would cry. He said something in Chinese while nodding his head, but even if his mouth wasn’t full of donuts I don’t think I would have understood, but I knew what he meant.
We continued our slow roll toward Greenville, with Lee spitting donuts all over the passenger’s side of the truck while speaking Chinese. So far there was no metal banging and clanging beneath the truck..
Lee was living the dream. He finished about three donuts per beer. Fortunately I had more beer. Crumbs fell like rain from his mouth, and he was thirsty enough to guzzle the first couple of beers and before I knew it he was asking for a fourth. He had eaten about seven or eight donuts by this time.
“I guess you were hungry Lee,” I said in response to a long speech in Chinese, “and pretty thirsty too.”
We were getting near Greenville. Lee was rattling around in his empty beer cans, with a nearly empty donut box on his lap. He had vanilla and chocolate icing on his chin and a bit of jelly to the side of his mouth and white powdered sugar on his heavy black-rimmed eye glasses. He let out a loud belch and smiled. Then he said something, which of course I didn’t understand. When he grabbed his crotch; I got the point and pulled over.
Smiling and nodding his head, while babbling a mile-a-minute in Chinese, Lee stumbled off the road into the woods. I guess he was pretty particular about his privacy, because he didn’t just stop at the side of the road to go, he staggered off into the woods.
Now I’m trying to be the good Samaritan and help out my fellow man, but how long was I supposed to wait. After five minutes I got out of the truck and shouted for Lee a couple of times. After about 10 minutes I walked into the woods, still calling his name. Where the heck did this guy go? There was no reason to run off, we were nearly in Greenville and his backpack was in the back of the truck.
“Lee!” I continued to shout. I looked to see if I could find a trail or anything that might indicate where he had gone. Nothing.
“Lee you crazy bastard, where the heck did you go?” I continued to shout.
He had that leg injury and could not have gone too far.
“Lee, come on man, where are you?” still nothing.
I went back to the truck. Maybe it was more than just pee. I figured I give him some more time. If he was squatting up against a tree, I could understand him not answering and calling me over. Another 10 minutes or so went by and still no sign of Lee. By this point he’d had enough time to read the entire Sunday Cape Cod Times, if he had had one. Maybe it was the donuts and beer. I began to wonder. Could Lee have gotten sick after eating a dozen donuts and swilling four beers. Maybe he wasn’t used to it. And if he hadn’t eaten all day and that was all he had, maybe he’d gotten sick.
“Lee!” I shouted out the passenger window.
“Lee, are you okay?” Still nothing from the wet woods.
We’ll, he did have all that sugar icing on his chin and jelly on his face. Maybe a bear ate him. No, I’m sure I would have heard the screams.
“Lee, brother if you don’t come out of the woods, I’m going to leave you here,” I figured I throw out a threat and maybe make him hurry.
After about a half hour I figured Lee’s time was up.
“Okay you crazy fool,” I shouted at the apparently empty woods. “I’m outta here.”
I got out of the truck and walked around to the tailgate, opening the back I pulled out his backpack.
“Lee, I’m leaving your pack here beside this tree,” I shouted as I set it off to the side of the road. I also left him some water.
I got back in the truck, but was feeling terrible about leaving. How had this guy become my responsibility?
“Greenville is about two miles down the hill,” I shouted and rolled up the window.
I started the truck and blew the horn. Nothing. I rolled ahead about 40 yards. There was nothing in the rear view mirror.
“Crazy Chinese guy,” I mumbled to myself as I backed up.
“Lee, lets go buddy,” I was wasting my breath.
The next day I had to go into Greenville to do some laundry. I figured I’d also look for Lee. I had told him about the campground just outside of town. If he had a tent in his pack, which he probably did, I expected to find him camped there nursing his sore leg.
I checked in the office for a Chinese gentleman named Lee something. They knew who I was looking for and told me where he was camped. I drove over to his site. Lee was there and he immediately recognized me and the truck. He had a big smile on his face as I got out of the truck.
“Lee, where did you go yesterday?” I asked as we shook hands.
He answered something about walking in the woods, but I didn’t understand him.
“Well you made it here safely,” I noted. “So what now?”
He said something about his injured leg and resting. Then he lit up in a huge smile and said something else, but all I caught was donuts.
“Did you like the donuts?” I asked.
I don’t know what he said, but he was pretty excited and I heard the word donut more than once. With my international diplomacy accomplished, I wished him luck, shook his hand and drove away. I don’t know what became of Lee. He may have developed an insatiable donut and beer habit, grown fat and still be living at the campground. Or he may have made it to Katahdin.
August 23rd, 2011 by
I don’t remember the last time I was in a laundromat. It had been raining for days and most everything I had was wet to some degree. I had some washing to do and plenty of things to dry. I knew I’d probably need quarters to run the machine. Luckily I had a couple of dollars worth in the ashtray of the truck.
I threw my dirty clothes and some wet towels, blankets, pillow cases, and shirts into the passenger seat of the truck and headed for town. It was still raining and there wasn’t much else to do, but maybe drink. I figured if I did the laundry in the morning, I’d still have the afternoon and if it was raining, maybe I’d have a beer.
Before I go any further, will someone out there please invent a washing machine, dryer and soap dispenser that allows you to swipe a credit or debit card in order to operate it. It turns out that to do laundry, you need more than a few quarters from the ashtray, you need to go to the bank and get a bag full.
Anyway, I guess going to the laundromat on a rainy day it something other people do as well. A lot of other people. They needed valet parking at this place. It turns out this was the only laundromat within probably a 50-mile radius.
It was too early to drink, or I certainly would have not have bothered to go in. It was eight o’clock in the morning, borderline drinking time for some people.
I gathered up my stuff from the passenger seat and headed in. There was quite a crowd, but my eyes were on the machines. I saw one, and only one, with the lid up. Unlike a toilet seat lid, this meant it was not in use.
I quickly made my way to the machine and dumped my arm load of clothes on top of the open machine, laying claim. Right away I could see I had too much for one load, but it was the only machine, so I’d have to choose what to wash and what to bring back out to the truck.
I stuffed what I needed to wash into the machine and closed the cover, that’s when I noticed the quarter slots – eight of them. It was two dollars for a tiny load of laundry. What a ripoff, I thought. I pulled my quarters out of my pocket and began to count. Luckily, I had nine quarters, one more than I needed.
It was then that I looked around the laundromat for the first time. I think I was the only guy. The place was crowed, awash in estrogen. A bunch of college-age girls were sitting on the clothes folding counter in the far corner laughing loudly about something. What I later learned to be several young mothers were hanging out on some chairs over by the wall engaged in rapid conversation. It seems when camping on a rainy day you leave the kids with dad and the moms gather at the laundromat for some girl talk. I think I saw one little kid the entire time I was there. There were some girls that looked to be pre-teens, and a number of just single women ranging from age 30 to, I’d guess, the one bent over in the back corner was about 80.
As I began to put my quarters into the slots, the woman using the machine next to me walked over and lifted the lid to her machine. Her wash had just finished. I must have done a double take as she looked just like someone from work. I was about to say something when she pulled a pair of pink bikini panties out of the washer and held them up with both hands as if inspecting or admiring them. She gave them a shake and a stretch and tossed them into a clothes basket at her feet. That stopped me cold. She looked at me and smiled.
“Jesus,” I thought, “this has got to be illegal somehow?”
I looked away without saying a word. I felt like a Peeping Tom. Was I some kind of a pervert?
I quickly shoved the tray with my eight quarters into the machine and marched out of the building. I think I was having trouble breathing.
I don’t remember the last time, if ever, a woman has held such a seductive pair of underwear up in front of me and handled them like that. I figured I’d better go sit in my truck and calm down.
I was watching my wrist watch waiting for my 30 minutes to be up. But I was also wondering what else she had in that washing machine. Those pink bikini panties were tattooed to my brain.
With five minutes still to go, I climbed out of the truck and with a mixture of hesitation and excitement, headed back into the laundromat.
My washing machine was on spin. That seemed good. The college-age girls were still over in the corner, now folding clothes. I think they had probably tried to wash and dry as much of their stuff as possible, because what they were wearing was just enough for them to get by without me being arrested.
The collection of young mothers had moved around the room. Some were working the washing machines, others the dryers or folding clothes. The pre teens were now giggling over on the chairs by the wall. She of the pink bikini panties was leaning seductively against the wall across from the dryers. All sorts of visions raced through my head. I had to look away.
My machine stopped and I opened it up. That was when I realized that I had mixed my colors, leaving me with some pink socks, and I had forgotten to add detergent. Here I was, the only guy in the place and I had everything screwed up. All the guys that aren’t stuck in a tent somewhere with screaming kids must be bellied up to a bar laughing over a beer, I thought. I was feeling very inadequate. I can do laundry. I do it at home. It must have been those pink bikini panties, images of which were lighting up my thoughts like Time Square.
I didn’t have a basket. Again, I bundled my laundry in my arms, now even wetter than before, and walked over to the dryers. My heart skipped a beat and I may have blushed. The only dryer available was right in front of Miss Pink Bikini Panties. I fumbled for the latch with my arms full of clothes and dropped a pair of blue boxer shorts on the floor. God! I was humiliated. Getting the door open I quickly tossed everything inside, and snatched the underwear off the floor throwing it inside and slamming the door.
I looked at her and she smiled again. I was hating this laundromat and loving it at the same time. With only one quarter remaining, I had to go over to the dollar bill changer for more. I figured I’d start with four quarters. Each quarter was good for six minutes of hot air. As the machine sucked in my dollar bill I glanced over at my dryer. There pinned up against the glass were my blue boxer shorts. Oh God, could it get any worse?
Grabbing my quarters I quickly retraced my steps to the dryer and dropped them in the slot starting everything tumbling. I turned and nodded at Miss Pink Bikini Panties and she said hi. I then happened to glance back at my dryer and in the machine next to mine saw the pink bikini panties tumble past the glass window. I think I began to sweat. I marched out of that place double time and planted myself back in my truck.
“What a jerk you are,” I said to myself. “You’re acting like a child.”
I was, and now I was feeling bad about myself. In my mind I recreated everything that had happen from the time I first walked into the laundromat. I was acting like a teenager. Determined to suck it up, I got out of the truck, took a deep breath, and marched back into the laundromat.
The college-age girls had left. That was both a good and bad thing, I wasn’t sure. Miss Pink Bikini Panties was over at the folding table. She did look remarkably like someone from work. I figured it would be best if I steered a wide path around the folding table. I walked over to my dryer and leaned against the opposite wall. One of the young mothers came over and put her laundry into the dryer vacated by you know who. Out of the corner of my eye I watched as she tossed things into the dryer. I still had about 10 minutes left on mine.
Oh good Lord, I thought as she finished and closed the dryer door. This time no women’s underwear! I looked at her and at the dryer twice, maybe three times, or four, it could have been five times. No underwear? Not even a bra? Maybe she didn’t wear… Again I ran from the laundromat as if my hair was on fire and jumped back in my truck.
What did that mean? What was I supposed to think? Should I be thinking about this at all?
It was still raining and I was a mess. What’s up with laundromats anyway? They rob you of your dignity, expose you to a room full of perverts and leave you an emotional wreck, but at the same time, I was coming to realize, laundromats could be pretty exciting. I had been alone in the rain in my tent far too long. I couldn’t wait for the bars to open.
Back inside, my clothes were done and for the most part dry, although in some cases not completely. But there was no way I was staying in that den of iniquity a moment longer. Again, I had no basket, so a gathered up my stuff and made my way to the folding counter. There I dropped everything and started to sort though my semi-dry clothes. For 25 cents you could by a plastic laundry bag. I had a quarter left. I dropped it in the slot and became the proud owner of a cheap, one-time use only, green mesh, plastic bag that probably cost two cents to make.
As I began folding my clothes the pre teen girls began to move closer. They were giggling and pushing one another. They took up a position behind me to my right and there they stayed giggling away. Juveniles with nothing better to do than hang around a laundromat I mumbled to myself.
Was it me, or every time I picked up a pair or my boxer shorts to fold did their giggling get louder? I was getting a little embarrassed. Maybe they should set an age limit for laundromat admittance of 18 or 21-years old and check ID’s at the door. What a cheap thrill, I thought. I wanted to turn around and say, “Grow up girls,” but thought better and just rushed though things not bothering to fold the final few items, just throwing them in the bag.
It was still early, but when the bars opened for lunch, I was at the door waiting. I had something to eat as well while I was there.
Washing, drying, detergent, fabric softener and laundry bag, six dollars. Pink bikini panties, or none at all, priceless.
August 22nd, 2011 by
She stared back at me, those big, deep, dark eyes enticing pools of desire. I was spellbound, watching in wonder. What was it about her that held my attention so intently? She took a step closer – so close I caught wind of her scent. The smell of dampness, decomposition and urine filled the air.
So began my day as a moose.
The rain wouldn’t stop. Sitting in my tent in the woods day after day was beginning to wear on my mind. But, even a short walk guaranteed I’d be soaked. It was early morning and the rain’s intensity seemed to let up, I heard just the dripping of the trees. I had to get out, maybe a walk down to the pond. I pulled aside the tent flap and that’s when I ran into her.
She enticingly wiggled her big floppy ears, all the while continuing to chew. Then she winked. I’m sure of it. I stepped out of the tent and stood silently. She winked again. I shook my head in disbelief. I had been in that tent a long time. She winked a third time, I’m sure it was an intentional wink.
“Did you wink at me?” I asked.
She looked right at me a let out a grunt. I lost something in the translation. But what the heck, I grunted back. She stopped chewing and stared directly into my eyes.
We seemed to connect.
There wasn’t another person for miles around, it was just the two of us. I didn’t know what to say.
“You’re a big one. What do you go – about 600 pounds?”
She lowered her head and slowly began to chew again. Maybe that wasn’t the best thing to say to a lady. Never mention her weight.
“That’s quite a set of hooves,” I was trying to be complimentary. After all, don’t most women have a shoe fetish? She continued to chew. Strike two.
“You’ve got a big butt,” I said, but got no response so quickly added, “It’s very shapely – you know, nicely proportioned.”
This time she raised her head and after a moment gave me another wink. Finally, I had hit on the perfect line. I had broken the ice. For the rest of the day we were inseparable.
I ripped off my clothes and together we went crashing through the alders. She took me to brunch at a nearby bog where we browsed on aquatic plants, willows and water lilies. She showed me how to tear plants from the bottom of the bog by submerging my entire head in the water. I think I impressed her with how long I could hold my breath.
After a quick snack of about 25 pounds of bog bottom, water plants and twigs, we headed for a nearby hiking trail. By now it was late morning and hikers were on the trails. We waited until there was no one near and together, crashing through the alders, we headed for the trail. My lady friend was in the lead. Once on the trail, just ahead of me, she let go with a huge release of Dunkin Munchkin size poop. Then she looked back at me. It was my turn. But I didn’t have to go – oh, wait a minute. Before I knew it I too deposited a respectably large pile of Munchkin poop on the trail. It must have been all that bog water. Quickly she crashed back into the alders. I followed. Hikers were coming up the trail. Side by side we hid in the bushes, watching.
I never thought about it before, but I suppose most times when I came across moose poop while hiking I did stop to look. This group for four people seemed fascinated with our poop. They gathered around it and pointed and oohed and aahed. My lady friend giggled.
The next group was a family and one of the kids stepped in our poop before realizing it was there. The little girl shrieked a high pitched, “Oh gross.” Her father looked back and smiled. “It’s just moose poop sweetie.”
My lady friend frowned in disgust. “If it had been dog poop, they would have stopped to scrape it off. No respect,” she mumbled, shaking her head and turning to walk away. Overall though it was a pretty good laugh.
We continued to walk through the woods together like two bulldozers ploughing our way through the low bushes. Every once in a while my lady friend would stop to munch berries. I was noticing what a well built woman she was.
That afternoon we came to a road. I could see it was a moderately travelled stretch of pavement, rippled by frost-heaves, with a yellow line down the middle. She stopped. I waited. Before long we could hear an approaching car. She smiled at me and winked.
Slowly she stepped to the roadside and nonchalantly began to browse on some grasses. The car came speeding around the corner. I had no sooner seen it, than I heard the tires screech as the driver stomped on the brakes. It stopped about 50 feet away and two people jumped out of either side, one with a camera, who immediately began taking pictures. My lady friend continued to browse as if the people weren’t there. They got back in the car and slowly drove past. She turned and came back into the woods where I stood, motioning that it was my turn.
“What’s the big deal,” I thought. But it seemed that messing with people was what moose did all day. Hearing another car approaching, I stepped to the roadside and began to munch the grasses.
It was the same thing. The tires screeched and a car full of people slowly rolled to a stop beside me. One woman was taking pictures out the side window. That’s when it dawned on me. I was naked. Moose don’t wear clothes. I was standing there beside the road in all my naked glory, and if you’ve ever noticed, a bull moose has plenty of naked glory to be proud of. Still, I was very self-conscious and bolted back into the woods. For the first time I realized that my lady friend was naked too. I managed to give her a bit of a closer look.
“That’s weird,” I thought as we both stood there. “She’s the pretty one, but I’m the one with the rack.”
We had had our fun, stopping traffic, watching people get excited, but I wondered who might see those pictures.
Together we spent the late afternoon nuzzling under a cool pine tree deep in the woods. I was growing captivated by her scent. After a quick nap, it was time to eat again, so together we crashed through more alders into another bog where we stood knee deep in the water and browsed the bottom for tasty tidbits. I could she that she was definitely impressed with how long I could hold my breath. Every time I raised my head and blew out a nose full of water, she giggled.
It had been raining all day, but I not longer seemed to care.
It was dark before we had our fill of bog plants. She caught my eye and with a nod of her head motioned for me to follow. When you’re as big as a moose, you can crash through the woods, so we did, making our way toward a highway. There was a fence along the highway, but my lady friend knew where there was an opening. She had been here before.
It was late and there wasn’t much traffic. We heard a car off in the distance getting closer. She didn’t move. It sped past at about 70 miles per hour. The next time we heard an approaching car she nudged me and winked. The headlights came into view. The car was approaching at a high rate of speed. Suddenly, with a burst of speed, my lady friend ran out in front of the car. The driver stomped on his brakes and the car went into a skid. He pressed on his horn as the loud blaring mixed with the squealing tires. My lady friend timed it perfectly, and just as the car neared her perfect, shapely backside, she raced off the other side of the road.
The car came to a stop and I could hear the driver swearing and cursing at my lady friend. Meanwhile, she stood in the darkness on the other side where I could hear her laughing. After he drove off, she came back to my side of the road.
“Your turn,” she winked.
I wasn’t sure what I had just witnessed. That car missed her magnificent butt by only a few feet.
“You’re some crazy moose,” I said. “What was that all about?”
“It’s fun,” she winked.
It was that damn wink again, probably that same one Eve gave to Adam as she handed him the apple.
“Look,” I began. “I’ve eaten from the bottom of bogs with you. I’ve pooped in public and stood naked on the side of a road while having my picture taken. But, running in front of traffic on a dark highway is where I draw the line.
She looked at me with those big, liquid, seductive eyes, her naked body glistening in the rain. Then she grunted. Between the winking and the grunting it was hopeless.
The headlights of another car came into sight. But, being a first timer, my timing wasn’t as good.
Onto the highway I dashed, but I was early. The driver saw me and went into a skid. Then he tried to turn away and the car began to spin. The light from the headlights flashed across the trees on both sides of the road. For a moment I could see my lady friend watching as the beams passed her. Between the noise of the squealing tires and the horn and the lights spinning around, I was frozen. Then I dawned on me that I was standing in the highway about to get mowed down. With all my moosely strength I made a leap for the far side of the road. The car spun past. I looked back before jogging into the woods. The car stopped spinning, and after a few minutes drove off. I was shaking.
The crash and snapping of alders next caught my attention and I looked up to see my lady friend. Her eyes sparkled. I got a double wink and one of the sexiest grunts I’ve ever heard. She stepped up to me and nuzzled my nose. What an incredible rush. I forgot all about the car.
I didn’t know what would happen at the stroke of midnight, whether I’d still be a moose or not. At that moment I wanted to be a moose forever.
“Next month is the rut,” she smiled coyly.
I knew what that meant. My knees wobbled with the thought of September.
“Do you mean it?” I asked.
She gave me another wink and a low moaning grunt.
The rut is like being Hugh Heffner on Viagra at a college sorority party.
“How will I find you?” I asked.
“Just rub yourself in urine and butt your head against a few trees really hard and I’ll come to you,” she began to back away. “It’s late. I have to go.”
I watched her large, but perfect butt knock over a rotted birch tree as she swayed away.
The next morning it was still raining. I looked around the tent. Same swampy mess. I fell back on my pillow and promised myself that that would be the last time I’d drink alone in my tent.
March 6th, 2011 by
Doves produce something referred to as pigeon milk, rich in fat and protein that they will give to their young. It’s not really milk; you can’t milk a dove. It’s a substance that the parent allows the nestlings to take from inside their gullet. Beside pigeon milk, it’s pretty much seeds and a bug or two.
The suet has the woodpeckers in a frenzy. The Red-bellied woodpeckers are all over it as are several Downy woodpeckers. The Nuthatches and Titmouse pick at it, but nothing like the woodpeckers. In the end it all works out for the Mourning Doves and Juncos who peck away underneath at the small pieces of suet that fall to the ground.
Three American Goldfinch joined the group of regulars at the feeder for a couple of days then stopped coming by, at least when I was looking. I don’t have any thistle for them, but they seemed to enjoy the black-oil sunflower seeds.
I put out some oranges to see if any bluebirds might stop by. I saw four during the week while walking in the Frances Crane Wildlife Management Area. The Chickadees have looked the orange slices over pretty closely, but two days later and no bluebirds yet. I’ll give them more time. I also saw quite a few Robins while walking at Crane. American Robins are here year round, but it still made me think of spring.
This morning while driving to Barnstable a flock of 14 wild turkeys wandered across the road. They seemed in no hurry. I stopped to let them pass. Once across the road they gathered on the far side and looked back to see what it was that disrupted their stroll. It was early morning and two miles later four more turkeys stood at the side of the road watching me pass.
At the beach this morning there wasn’t mush beyond the typical Herring Gulls. For a while I watched as several Common Eider bobbed on the swells and dove beneath for breakfast. The water was cold, but no match for eiderdown.
No sign of the flock of crows that came through last week, just solitary crows dropping by making noise looking for a handout.
I have a few items on my bird feeding list that I’d like to add out back. I’d like to get a thistle feeder for the Goldfinch and add a tray feeder so that I can put out some mealworms. These are the larva of the Mealworm Beetle. You can buy them and keep them in the refrigerator between 45 and 50 degrees and they become dormant. Some birds will do back flips over these worms.
You can buy 1,000 small mealworms online for about $20. A thousand medium worms are about $22 and for the large worms its $24. But the giant mealworms, that are just over an inch long, will run you about $38 for 1,000. Some local shops may have them for less. But I have to run this one by the wife first. She might not want 1,000 giant worms in the refrigerator.
I also need to get a bird bath. It’s not that my customers at the feeder are dirty, but they probably wouldn’t mind a drink once in a while, never mind an occasional bath.