October 24th was a beautiful autumn day in Northern Ca. – perfect day for bike riding and bird watching at the Alviso Marina Slough.
A delightful day for opening duck season, too.
Did you know that local duck hunters love the Slough?
The Princess and I recently learned this little fact.
While the Phil and Willie look-alikes, of the infamous A&E reality show, “Duck Dynasty”, were at the Slough vigilantly scouting for Mallards, the Princess and I were gaily riding bikes and observing sandpipers.
So, as Phil and Willie inconspicuously floated by us in their Hawaiian-skirted, camouflaged boat, the Princess and I gleefully (and naively) scouted for egrets, herons and various other shorebirds, in the surrounding wetlands and salt ponds; while casually peddling our bikes.
Everything was going along just ducky.
We then unexpectedly heard the “pop pop” of a 12 gauge shot gun ring out from the left side of us, and saw the Red-Head camo caps of the infamous Phil and Willie two-some, come popping out of their Hawaiian-skirted, floating duck blind; like two camouflaged jack-in-the-box clowns.
As their gun muzzles suddenly materialized from their Hawaiian-skirted floating duck blind, we immediately saw Donald, Daisy and the gang, fanatically scatter throughout the slough.
Aware of the fact that they overshot their prey, and evidently observant of the two fat, old, women bikers staring at them with mouths agape; Phil and Willie quickly sank behind the auspices of their duck blind, like the furry, buck-toothed little moles of the 70’s arcade game, Wack-A Mole.
About the same time that we saw our daffy duck hunters disappear into the confine of their camouflaged boat, I began to develop dancing, whirling butterflies in the pit of my stomach.
It then suddenly dawned on me – these Hawaiian-skirted boats that were around us, were actually duck blinds!
And the Princess and I, with our brown and blue-visored bike helmets, were two, over-sized female Mallards, soon-to-be (unwittingly), the main ingredients of Willie and Phil’s delectable duck soup!
Suddenly, the Princess and I felt like two of the chain driven targets of Disneyland’s original shooting gallery, and auspiciously determined that we needed to high-tail it to safer ground.
We skedaddled to safety and decided to take a breather at one of the Slough’s man-made lookouts; when we heard a group of four, seasoned walkers, casually come shuffling in from behind us.
At this point, the Princess felt like she was headed for a permanent dirt nap and was attempting to control her shaking, wobbly knees and calm her frayed nerves, so I congenially greeted our unwitting guests and nervously asked,
“So, did you guys hear the gun shots while you were walking today?”
“Yes,” the one woman kindly and promptly responded.
“Kind of disarming to hear the sound of gun shots so close to you while you’re out in nature, isn’t it?” she benevolently queried, while looking over at the Princess and giving her an encouraging smile.
“Yeah,” I nervously giggled.
“Seeing the muzzles of their gun barrels aimed in our direction, kinda made us question if we were soon to be wearing toe tags?” I jokingly added.
“I can imagine,” she amenably answered, while nodding her head.
Finding our interchange amusing, but highly improbable, one of their male companions calmly interjected, “We saw the duck blind, as we were walking. I’m guessing they were using 12 gauge shot guns; and with that caliber of gun, you wouldn’t be able to shoot the distance to where the trail is.”
“I can assure you,” he competently continued, “there’s nothing to worry about, but I can understand how you’d be alarmed.”
Before I could even attempt a response to his pithy comment, the other female companion (whom we assumed was his wife), smiled and tauntingly replied,
“Geeze, Harold, ya think?!”
At this point, the Princess had successfully gained control over her wobbly knees, and was s l o w l y unthawing from her catatonic state; when she started one of her asthmatic, snort-laughs.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Princess’s snaughling – it’s a condition that arises when she laughs so hard that she snorts, and emits a cacophony of sounds that is not for the faint of heart or what you’d call, “newly acquired acquaintanceships”.
Trying to salvage any decorum of dignity, that we might have had left, I awkwardly looked at the foursome, flashed them a toothy, nervous grin, and congenially nodded my head back and forth; while conciliatorily shrugging my shoulders, as if to say, “She’s new to me, too. Just met her myself today on the trail.”
Go out and celebrate life today, People!
And remember: “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s learning to dance in the rain.” Unknown author
Catch ya next adventure, looking at life from my shoes.