Category Archives: The Bird Dogs and the Bees

The Bird Dogs and the Bees – Part IV of IV

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I could tell immediately that I wasn’t going to like the discourse of the call. It was 11:30 at night, and the only calls that come in at that hour involve bodily demise, catastrophe of the vehicular nature, or a person on the other end with a death wish for getting me out of bed. Since we have no suicidal friends, I braced myself and started rummaging through my mind’s closet for black dresses.

“In jail? Why?” Callie raised her eyebrows in my direction, and I switched my mental search from ebony attire to orange jumpsuits. “About 15 minutes, I guess. I just need to pull on some shoes.” She used her free hand to work the lever on the Lazy Boy, and her feet descended from comfort back into action stance. “Ok. I’ll be there soon.”

“Where are we going?”

“Exit 13. I need to pick up Heather from the Luke Bryan concert.”

“So we’re not busting her out of jail?”

“Nah. Her ride got arrested for fighting, and she’s stranded. You don’t have to go if you don’t want to.”

I didn’t want to, but there was no way I was leaving Heather, my nephew’s girlfriend, wandering out in a field with a group of people who were obviously having way too much fun. “You’re not driving up there by yourself. Do we have time to change?”

“She sounded a little panicked.”

“Let’s go.” I walked out the door wearing loaner pajamas from Callie. There’s just no way to emphasize how fetching I looked in those parachute teddy bear pants and oversized t-shirt. The bulky sneakers I’d been wearing ever since the doggie poo incident of 1300 hours really polished off the ensemble beautifully. But hey, no one would see me, right?

Ready for a night on the town

Ready for a night on the town

We made good time up the Interstate, although headlights illuminating the southbound side foreshadowed the chaos to come. We made it off the exit easily because we were the only morons trying to wade into concert traffic that involved enough police car strobe lights to send half the state into an epileptic fit. The concert had been held in a cornfield, and the line of automobiles stretching into the Land of Orville Redenbacher gave me flashbacks of that movie Field of Dreams. Except that instead of being interested in building something for them to come, I was more interested in making everyone go away. If you build the concert stage, they will come . . . If you tear gas them, they will go away.

We crawled along until we reached one of three exits for the crowd. Cops had traffic on our side of the road stopped, and people swarmed around the car like gnats around a nose. Go ahead and call her, Aunt Traci. I have no idea how we’ll find her otherwise.”

I dialed her number but got voicemail. Moments later, a phone call from Live Oak, Florida, lit up the screen, and I put it on speaker.

“Are you here?”

“Yeah. We’re at the middle entrance.”

“Is that the one with the cops?”

There were cops everywhere, but they did seem concentrated in our area. “Yeah.”

“Great! We’ll be there in a minute.” She hung up, and I looked at Callie.

“We?”

Callie shook her head. “I didn’t know there was a ‘we.'”

“What are we going to do with more than one?” We might have been discussing marriages or slices of Cheesecake Factory cheesecake. One is delightful and even manageable, but a surplus is just overwhelming.

“I don’t know, but I hope they show up before the cop waves us through.”

I could echo a hearty amen to that. We were fine on this side of the road, but if we had to turn around and try to make our way back . . . Let’s just say it would have been quicker to take a shortcut through Canada.

As I scanned the crowd for Heather, I noticed the standard issue uniform seemed to be Daisy Duke shorts for girls and open flannel shirts for boys . . . if they were still wearing shirts, that is. People yelled and staggered in all directions, and trucks emerged from the cornfield so laden with bodies that the tailgates almost dragged the ground. The dashboard clock read midnight, and the cop was waving us through without our cargo.

“What should I do, Aunt Traci?”

“We’re not turning around. There,” I said, pointing to the shoulder, “pull over there, and we’ll wait for her.”

People continued to pour around us like water in a stream. Inebriated faces peeped in my window from time to time, but one glance at my bear britches sent them scurrying away. That’s right; go away children of the corn. Go find someone else to punch and someplace else to vomit. We redialed Heather’s number, but the kind soul on the other end told us her phone was dead, but she should be up front by now. Thankfully, Callie spotted her, and Heather and a friend spilled into the backseat.

Forget autumn harvest . . . think Steven King

“Oh, thank God you came to get us! It’s crazy out there.”

“Yeah,” said her friend. “We didn’t know what we were going to do once that guy hit Michael and he hit him back and then the cops came over and I ran into the bushes to pee . . . ” Nice to meet you too, total stranger. And thanks for all that information. She continued to prattle loudly, so we finally interrupted to ask their destination since the meter was running.

“Our car is at the Winn Dixie in Lake Park. I thought we were going to have to walk.”

That made it official. Lake Park was 8 miles up the interstate, and this girl was thinking about walking back. She was either drunk or as crazy as a sprayed roach. My bet was on Bud Lite.

I told Callie how to get where we needed to go without turning around, and we dropped the girls off and pulled up to Callie’s house around 1am. I took one last look at my phone, whose belligerent attitude seemed bent on disappointing me, and then I crawled into bed in the guest room.

© 2012 – Traci Carver

The Bird Dogs and the Bees – Part III of IV

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We took the Interstate on the way back, and as we approached exit 13, cars lined the mile long off ramp and spilled into the left lane of the freeway.  As I surveyed the developing mayhem, I congratulated myself on a well-planned day. The Luke Bryan concert was gearing up for an all day country extravaganza, and I had taken great pains to avoid the exit that I normally take to and from town. There’s nothing quite so satisfying as the smug certainty that you have circumnavigated a couple of hours of deadlocked traffic. Please remember this statement for Monday’s segment.

I arrived at my sister’s house with the intention of watching a movie with Callie and then heading home. I strolled over to check the progress of my Apple products only to discover that one had successfully completed both a backup and a download while the other had kicked back on its apps and accomplished nothing. I hate procrastinating appliances. And why wasn’t it like its older brother who did everything when told and in a timely manner?  This little phone had obviously been switched at birth because no mobile of mine would dare look me in the face and tell me Backup Incomplete. Hadn’t I given it specific instructions and four hours to get this software cleaned up?  No shammy cleaning for this little device later on.  He’d be lucky if I let him out of my purse again before daylight.

So close, and yet, so far away

I checked my iPad and discovered that only one of my 70+ pictures had descended from the cloud. How frustrating. Why was this so hard?  They’d been sitting side by side for hours; how long could it take to move them five millimeters?  I picked up my phone and shook it like a salt shaker over my iPad, but no luck. Thinking it needed higher elevation to activate the cloud, I struck an Avengers’ pose with my fist and phone high in the air and waited for transference.  Or maybe a superpower from Iron Man who never seems to experience technology glitches. Have you seen the movie in which he walks along while robot hands peel intricate pieces of futuristic armor from his body?  I can’t even convince the copier at school to collate and staple without ending up waist-deep in its bowels, pulling out scraps of paper from slots H through EE and wiping toner out of my eyebrows.  So with technology travails such as these, I hung around far longer than I’d intended, trying to coax pixels from one screen to another, and ended up on duty when Callie took the call after 11pm.

Arch nemesis from the planet of Xerox

© 2012 – Traci Carver

The Bird Dogs and the Bees – Part II of IV

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After our brief running from the bulls session, we slowed our gait. People along the parade route fanned themselves with flyers or used paper plates, and a few fortunate souls even showcased a couple of cardboard funeral fans fastened to extra wide tongue depressors, items I hoped didn’t give insight into their recent past experiences nor foreshadow their immediate future. I wore jeans and a sleeveless top, but even those seemed heavy under the sun. I looked back at Callie, who was raising her long hair and wiping her neck.

“It’s a lot warmer than I thought it would be,” she said. “I wish I’d worn shorts.”

“Let’s get something to drink.” We wove a trail over to a hamburger stand that advertised local favorites. As soon as I saw Fluffy Fries on the menu, I was on the hook no matter how deeply they dug into my wallet.

Fried goodness

Six dollars later, I had a plate of both sweet potato and regular fries in one hand, and a small rainforest of napkins in the other. I spotted a small area of shade off the road, and we dodged other attendees as we closed in on the oasis. As with other mirages in blazing climates, this one also proved to be an illusion just a few seconds later.

I spoke to Callie, but the Harley Davidson segment of the parade was passing our piece of real estate at that moment, so I turned my head to repeat myself. That’s when I felt the telltale squish of a big pile of doggie remembrance. I stopped dead in my tracks and fixed Callie with a look that let her know we were at Defcon One.

She froze and her eyes grew large. “What is it, Aunt Traci?”

I slowly inclined my head to survey the damage and saw at once that while it was too late for my right foot, we could still salvage her flip flops and open air piggies if we kept our heads about us. “Don’t move, hon. I want you to slowly take two steps back and then wait for instructions.”

She looked down, saw the gravity of the situation, and gingerly began to retreat with the care one might use in a rattlesnake confrontation. As soon as she was out of danger, I tossed her my valuables and then used a long arm extension to transfer the Fluffy Fries. Once I had my hands free and could devote my attention to the task at hand, I began the extraction process. Callie called out encouragement, and I was keeping a stiff upper lip until I looked over and saw an overweight dad with a diaper bag laughing at my predicament. This was probably the type of man who knocked over little, old ladies and drop-kicked kittens on the weekends. He was lucky my niece was in charge of the fried delicacies, or he would’ve been wearing six bucks worth of Idaho exports.

I pulled my shoe free with a sickening suction sound, and the aroma that wafted up made my recent purchase seem like a bad investment. I was relieved that only one soldier was down, so I began a series of toe heel movements on the grass with my right foot that resembled a sock hop. After removing as much canine memorabilia as possible, we found another shaded location and sat down to eat. Ever try eating your lunch surrounded by number two? After ten seconds with my leg extended in The Karate Kid flamingo pose, I finally had to remove the offending apparel and cast it several feet away. I lacked my former enthusiasm for the Fluffy Fries and ate mostly out of financial obligation rather than for dietary desire. Callie also made a poor showing, so we finally just tossed the remains and I reclaimed my shoe.

Exiled for bad behavior

We made our way around the various vendor stalls, and I must say, that if you’re going to step in dog poop, a parade is an excellent location because no one can smell you over the horse manure baking on the asphalt. We browsed through booths with painted gourds, crocheted pot holders, knives that hinted at 10 to 15 years in maximum security, and guns with interesting wood grains, because in South Georgia, it’s just not a festival until firearms have been displayed. Every time I passed a large breed dog, I’d shoot him an accusing look as if to demand, “Are you the one?” but no one confessed to petty vandalism. I bought some local honey and a mason jar of watermelon rind jelly, and we came to the end of the gauntlet.

Timing was finally on our side, and we saw the last of the horses ride past, denoting the end of the parade and the ability to cross the street again. As we crossed with the masses of people balancing funnel cake and pushing strollers with wheels that go in every direction except the one desired, I told Callie that I was planning to go horseback riding in the near future.

“Really? Why?”

“I don’t know. It just sounds like something fun to do. Want to come?”

She evaluated the proposition before admitting, “You know, I don’t think I’ve ever been horseback riding. Maybe one time when I was little, but then again, that could have been a goat.”

That answer stopped me in my tracks, and a lady hellbent on a slice of red velvet cake bumped into me. “What do you mean it might have been a goat? I’ve never heard of goatback riding before.”

“Well, I was little. It’s hard to remember.”

“Must have been Himalayan goats if they were putting children on them.” She giggled, and we bought our own slice of chocolate cake, which was a masterpiece of sixteen layers.

To share or not to share . . . that is the question

We melted our way down the other side of the street, and I had the good fortune to spy a puddle that was just deep enough for a sole cleansing. By the time we made it back to the car, we were sweated down like field hands and every bit as grumpy as some of the disgruntled toddlers we had seen earlier. The thermometer inside the car read 93 degrees when I first started up, and I could only dicker it down to 90 after ten minutes of full-blast AC. We pulled out of our roadside parking spot and made our way home, my naive nature thinking we were done with the excitement for the day.

© 2012 – Traci Carver