Was emailing a friend not long ago relating three stories from the
four years I lived in the Arizona desert town of Cave Creek. All three stories have shock value: one with a crazy sweetness, one scary but with a hero and the other just plain scary.
Duck, Duck, Splash
Just north of Cave Creek is the town of Carefree … higher altitude in every way. My good friend Jason and I were having dinner at a Mexican restaurant early one evening. We sat out on the large flagstone patio with a lovely pond as its centerpiece. Pond had a 2½-foot retaining wall to sit on, sip cocktails and chat. All very lovely and peaceful in the waning light.
Two ducks were swimming idly when suddenly one duck viciously attacked the other. It was an awful sight, with one duck screaming while the other tried to drown it!
Then, just as suddenly, a woman came running across the patio. Over the wall she went and splash! into the pond to rescue the poor duck! People were so focused on the pond that few saw this woman’s approach. She went splashing and screaming after Mean Duck until finally Mean Duck flew off with Poor Duck right behind it.
All of the diners inside, all of the staff … EVERYONE came out to see this. We were all in shock. Interestingly, there was a duck-savvy diner who knew what was going on and made an announcement: Apparently, this was the duck idea of courting. Ducks have a very violent mating ritual. Are you glad you’re not a duck?
As for the rescuer, of course, she thought she was saving Poor Duck from certain annihilation. They gave her towels and drinks. We all applauded her.
The first cold snap of the season came at the end of September that year. Time for bed. Went to close the front door and sitting outside the screen door was a BIG rattlesnake. I yelled at it; it coiled and yelled back at me! I slammed the door, ran into the bedroom and phoned my desert-wise friend Bev. She laughed at me and called me a weenie, which did nothing to soothe my hysteria. She told me to call the fire department; they would come and take the snake.
911. 911. Cross my heart … Twenty minutes later, a big red firetruck pulled in and a brawny fireman got out with a large bucket and snake stick.
“Good evening. Where’s the snake you called about?”
“It was right where you’re standing.”
“Seems to have left,” he said. “Unless you keep a snake angry, it will go away.”
So I turned on all the floodlights and he looked around. No snake.
“I’ll just take a look in the garage to make sure it’s gone.”
“Good idea,” I said nervously. I turned on the garage light for him and to my HORROR, right at the base of the big doors were FOUR baby rattlesnakes.
As I stood there shaking, he said, “Good thing we found these. The babies are more dangerous than the adults. They’re too reactive and haven’t yet learned how much venom to inject so they give everything the full load.” I nearly passed out and was at his feet thanking him.
He put the babies in the bucket and off they went … leaving me to forever wonder where the big snake had gone.
Driving south on Scottsdale Road towards Scottsdale, I was stopped by a red light. Single-lane road. Two cars in front of mine. I wasn’t paying much attention, caught in some music. Until the driver calmly got out of the car directly in front of mine with an ice pick in her hand. She walked up to the same-side rear tire of the car in front of hers, bent down and ice picked the hell out of it! Can you visualize this madness? I was stunned into immobility although I certainly wasn’t about to get out of my car.
Just as calmly, she straightened up, turned, walked back to her car, got in and handed the ice pick to a woman in the passenger seat, who was holding a CHILD!
Light turned green and we all moved off. I went slow and took a different route at the first opportunity. Who drives around with an ice pick in their car????
. . .
Although desert living is surreally gorgeous, I was not unhappy to leave and move back east.
Enjoy this issue!
(Don't forget to SHOP CREATIVE MAINE.)
Nancy Gordon, editor