Sunday, May 6, 2012

Dr. Ben and the Whippoorwill

Last night I as I crawled into bed with my book the frogs were giving quite a concert which I enjoyed until they stopped a little before 10. I turned off the light and was just about asleep when I heard this loud high pitched piercing cry – it sounded like a bird and it might have been a pretty if it wasn’t so obnoxious. Not to mention that it was silent except for this awful bird noise.  It took me by surprise, but it didn’t take me long to realize what it was.  It was a whippoorwill. 

I hadn’t heard, nor thought about whippoorwills in years! We used to hear them at my grandparents house on the lake in KY.  Hearing the whippoorwill last night made me think of a funny story that happened to my family, maybe you’ll think it’s funny too…

It was summer of 1985, I was 10 years old, and my mom’s whole family was heading to my grandparents house on The Barren River Lake in Scottsville, KY.  Going to the lake was our vacation when I was kid – we went every summer for about 2 weeks.  My grandparents had lakefront property on a big lot with few neighbors.  The lake was perfect for boating, swimming, jet skiing and all sorts of other summer stuff!  This time however my cousin Liz, who was 8 at the time, and my new cousin Lauren, who was just about a year old, and I would all be there at the same time!  With 11 people coming my grandparents house quickly ran out of beds. 

My grandfather, Dr. Ben, decided it would be fun to rent a teeny tiny fiberglass camping trailer for Liz and I to sleep in in the front yard/parking area.   I was pretty excited, even then I’d wanted to like camping!   He rented this little trailer and towed it home from Bowling Green behind his Volkswagon Rabbit convertible!  It was the cutest thing you ever saw!  Bunk beds, a dinette that turned into a bed, and a kitchen! I couldn’t wait till Liz got there and we could go camping! 

My excitement was short lived.  Liz’s mom wouldn’t let her sleep out there because she had a cold and the night air would aggravate it.  Boo.  Not worry though, my grandmother would sleep out there with me!  So we got all ready for bed and headed out.  I crawled into the top bunk and she crawled into the dinette turned bed and we were ready to sleep.  Not 10 minutes later there was a clap a thunder.  At ten I was still terrified of thunderstorms and there wasn’t any way I’d be staying in the trailer in a storm.  No amount of assurances that the storm wasn’t coming where we were would make me stay.  I hightailed it into the house and took up residence on a pool (lake) raft by my parents bed. 

Well, someone had to sleep out there, there just weren’t enough beds, or lake rafts, for everyone in the house.  So the next night my grandma and grandpa go out to the trailer to sleep.  All is well and no one comes running for the house.

My mom and her siblings were up late that night chatting and as they were crossing the dining room, with it’s big picture window looking out over the front yard on their way to their beds, they heard gunshots!!!  My uncle, who was in the Army and had actually been in combat, went into autopilot mode and started low-crawling across the dinning room like he’d been trained.  The others were just in shock. 

It wasn’t long before the whole story came out…my grandma and grandpa had been rudely awoken by a whippoorwill in the tree above the trailer and Dr. Ben went out with the shotgun to scary him off! 

What I always wondered was why he brought his shotgun with him to sleep in the front yard/driveway?!?!

I couldn’t shoot at my whippoorwill – didn’t even want to try my shotgun app for my phone on him since the other folks in the campground might get scared! I did try to talked to it to scare it away, but that didn’t work.  It woke me up 3x before it finally went to bother someone else.   I hope he doesn’t come back tonight!

If you want to hear a whippoorwill for yourself click here. You have to scroll down and click on the sound player. 

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