Saturday, March 14, 2009

Saturday Soliloquy-- Bookus Interruptus

It might be safe to place a bet that I'm the only person living in metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona, who's ever had her reading interrupted...

by an ostrich.

Hopefully you're intrigued enough to read more because I'm in the mood to write about it!

About ten years ago, I had a Sunday off work and decided to be completely decadent. (By this I mean that I planned to stay in my nightie all day and read as much as I could.) It was about 2 PM that peaceful Sunday afternoon in March, and my plans had fallen into place perfectly. I was still in my nightie. No one had phoned from work. I had just finished the book I was reading, and it was time to choose another. As I walked barefoot from the family room and through the kitchen on my way to the library, I heard voices outside. Quiet voices. As if they didn't wish to be overheard.

Wondering what in the Sam Hill was going on, I sidled up to the curtains at the dining room window and cautiously peeked out, not wanting anyone to see the flower print on my nightwear. Good lord....

There were two rifle-toting policemen standing on my driveway!!!

That made me stand up straight and take notice. I observed them closely. Was there a maniac on my property? Was my life in danger? If my life was in danger, why weren't the policemen notifying me in some way? The longer I watched them, I saw that they were cracking jokes with each other. Okay. That gets rid of the Maniac Theory. More than anything else, they seemed to be waiting for something, and a crowd was beginning to gather on the cul-de-sac in front of my house.

Since the policemen didn't seem to be worried about anything, my anxiety level went down. I really didn't want to get dressed, dammit. Today was my Lazy Day! Then I noticed that the policemen (and the crowd) kept glancing over at a certain section of my lawn off the library and carport. I walked into the library and carefully raised a slat in the blinds to peer out.

There was a half-grown ostrich nibbling at my sweet acacia tree.

I leaned over the bookcase and stood there looking at the prehistoric-looking youngster for almost a full minute before I stopped thinking I'd wandered into an episode of the Twilight Zone. Then all sorts of thoughts began racing through my mind. My property was rapidly becoming known as a place for very strange creatures to show up. Not long before this, I'd had to walk into the pool and haul out a floundering pot-bellied pig. Would anyone believe me when I told them that an ostrich had shown up? Where was my camera?

I dashed down to the opposite end of the house for my 35mm camera. Quickly running an equipment check, I saw that the camera had film in it...but no batteries. Damn! Precious minutes went by while I located and loaded the batteries. Dashing back to the library, I opened the blinds, raised the camera, and looked out. No ostrich. Where did the thing go? Tripping over a corner of the area rug, I made my way back to the dining room window. Every one's focus of attention had shifted over to the other side of my lawn, the side where I had just been feverishly searching for double A's. Dashing back down to that end of the house, I thought that at the very least, the ostrich was giving me a free workout.

I opened the curtains on the window overlooking that portion of my lawn, and the full blaze of the Arizona sun blinded me. Every window on that side of the house told me the same story: the bright sun that I love so much was not going to let me take a picture of my latest, and strangest, visitor. I was going to have to get dressed.

By the time I did, the owners had shown up and loaded the runaway into the horsebox at the back of their truck, and I learned that I had dud double A's. The Energizer Bunny had let my Kodak Moment down. It turns out that the owners and their very tall young bird were on their way to the Chandler Ostrich Festival when they stopped for a bite to eat. While the couple went in the restaurant, the young'un decided to go walkies, and where else would he go but here?

Shortly after all the excitement died down and everyone wandered back to their own homes, my phone rang. Denis was still living in England, and we made do with weekly phone calls.

"Did you manage to have your lazy day reading, Cathy?"

"Yes, but I didn't get nearly as much read as I'd originally thought."


"I'm not sure you're going to believe this, but...."

[Both ostrich photographs were taken by me at Rooster Cogburn's Ostrich Ranch at Picacho Peak, Arizona.]

How about you folks? Ever had anything interesting interrupt your reading time?


  1. Wonderful. I love the image of you dashing round the house in your nightie whilst an ostrich, policemen and a crowd were outside!

    My reading has never been interrupted by anything so dramatic, or so interesting.

  2. OMG! I loved that story. I have no story better than the ostrich. Too funny!!!

  3. That is hilarious! I don't have a story to match that one.

  4. Cathy, if I´d been an ostrich, I would certainly also have chose your house. Who else could have written such a nice story about me?
    Afraid I can´t match this one on the spur of the moment (or any other moment?)
    Thanks for sharing it.

  5. We just had a similar run-for-the-camera experience with a bobcat. Only in our version, I couldn't figure out how to get to the fancy setting for "Wildlife" before the wildlife was gone!

  6. We love to "go bush" with our caravan. My decadence takes the form of lolling on a lounger in the shade of a big gum tree, and reading. So far, I've been interrupted by a huge goanna ("Quick, Les, get the camera"), a mob of wallabies, ("Quick Les..."), three young heifers that had escaped from their paddock, and a constant assortment of parrots, magpies and kookaburras.

  7. You truly had me laughing out loud, Cathy (between this story and the comments on your Amazon review ... what great material!)

    The only interesting thing(s) that interrupt my reading are my husband and four kids :)

  8. Margaret--I'm glad you liked my tale. It was rather exciting whilst it was happening!

    Beth & Kathy--If my tale of the pot-bellied pig in my pool was book-related, I'd tell you that one, too! LOL

    Dorte--You're welcome!

    Rhapsody--I think I would've skipped the fancy setting and gone for the shot in regular mode! There've been too many times when my husband and I are out on the trail when I just don't have time to "fiddle"! LOL I would've loved seeing that bobcat!

    Susan--we love going bush, too, and now you've got me thinking, "Quick, Les...". LOL

    Dawn--I love laughter, so I'm really glad you enjoyed my long-necked tale!


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