The Blog Post previously scheduled for this week has been put back for a while in order to write about a recent occurrence involving the Gretchen and myself on the back porch.
So … I was sitting on the back porch, minding my own business, and occasionally throwing peanuts to the Blue Jays all the while trying to get the Gretchen dog, if remotely possible, to cooperate with my efforts. I was, since the light was excellent, trying to get some additional Blue Jay action photographs.
Gretchen, on the other hand, decided some time ago that it is great sport to chase not only the doves from the yard, but anything with wings or sporting a large amount of cat hair. At times, she can be quite difficult and contrary. And that is being kind to say the least.
I had just finished taking her photograph chewing on one of my Blue Jay peanuts when I noticed an exceptionally large raccoon hurriedly crossing my neighbor’s backyard. It was heading straight for us.
Gretchen didn’t see the approaching danger. Her attention was focused on chewing up a Blue Jay peanut she had found out in the yard. She was oblivious to pretty much everything happening in a quarter mile radius.
My first thought at seeing what looked to be a forty pound raccoon suffering from a bad case of of hair static running across the yard in the broad daylight was that it was sick. Nocturnal creatures generally stay true to their nature and this behavior was highly peculiar. And, around this part of the country peculiar in animal behavior generally spells Rabies which is a real and ever present danger best avoided. Just last summer my neighbor had a sick raccoon in his front yard flower bed. A city policeman dispatched the animal with three quick gunshots. Evidently, being sick eliminated the possibility of surrender.
Over the years, I have lived through several county and state Rabies scares. During one particular nasty Rabies outbreak I was helping a friend move a couch from his Mother’s house when her dog bit me. Turned my back on the little beggar and it got me good. I was assured the beast had been properly vaccinated.
A week later … the dog died. I mean it passed away, had expired, no longer was breathing and was pronounced dead as a door nail. Rabies all around me and poor Muffin was no more.
What would befall me? There were visions of turning into a creature of the night, a Werewolf or a target for Atticus Finch’s 30-40 Krag rifle. Fortunately, I was only a victim of a painful dog bite and quite a few sleepless nights.
That left the spade which awkward to wield was in itself an exceptionally dangerous weapon. This would be true even in the hands of an amateur or your common everyday Old Guy.
I took a deep breath. The battle was about to begin. The beast was approaching quickly and was at the fence. I was prepared to have a biting, growling, shouting, screaming, metallic shovel ringing war down in the yard. I was determined that if Gretchen and I were to endure a series of painful Rabies shots because of wild animal injuries … it would be after we attended a large raccoon’s funeral.
Fortunately … my voice and the element of ambush surprise proved pivotal to the situation …
“Hey … what do you think you’re doing? Get yourself out of here!”
The beast came to an abrupt stop, looked at me, turned and ran across the yard where it crossed the back road and escaped into the woods. It disappeared at a pace that would make hunting dogs envious.
Gretchen, as is her habit when outside, thought I was shouting at her and paid little attention to my directives as she continued the destruction and consumption of the Blue Jay peanut.
As a photographer, I failed during the crisis. Not a single image was recorded; didn’t cross my mind. I sat up and reached for a weapon. Being Southern Born, my first instinct was to protect Gretchen and myself from harm or foul.The one thing someone or something, including wild critters, doesn’t do to a Southern man is hurt my dog or Sweetheart … well let me quickly rephrase that … the one thing someone or something, including wild critters, doesn’t do is hurt my Sweetheart or my dog. We’ll bite, smack, push, shove, holler, and or wear you out with a spade shovel if what we love is in danger, compromised or threatened.
Yep … I was ready … to this day … the raccoon has yet to make an enore appearance.
Next Week … Mr. Andrew or something current …
To See more photographs go to oldguyphotography.com