A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster
I am a brave man, far more heroic than most males I know, but I’m modest and rarely mention it, although I could and probably should.
This morning my courage was put to the test. I planned to walk the trail from the 14th Line of Oro to the 13th and then walk back. For some reason, a sudden burst of ambition possibly, but more likely a seizure, I decided to walk down the 14th to Carthew Bay to see if there are any big lakefront homes for sale if I ever win the 649, which is a bit of a stretch since I rarely buy a ticket.
As I trudged along a fox ran across Lakeshore Road and into the dense woods on the far side. I wasn’t exactly frightened, more panic-stricken and terrified. So I slowed down. Well you never know, the little devils can be rabid. Once I realized he was wearing a government-approved KN95 face mask and his paws smelled of hand sanitizer, I relaxed a little, but I picked up a big rock just in case the little b*******d doubled back and came up behind me. Foxes are known to be sly and you can’t trust them. They are sort of like American Republicans, rabid or not.
Shaken, but nevertheless eager for adventure in the great outdoors, but keeping an eye out for a sneak attack, I shuffled along to the walking trail a few hundred yards up the 13th. That should have been the end of it.
However, as I headed east (alone and unarmed except for the rock) I noticed two mallard ducks waiting for me in the middle of the walking path. Now normally that wouldn’t bother me as I usually have my friend Gary with me and I think I may be able to outrun him if I kick him hard enough and in the right place. But the birds didn’t move; they just sat there looking back at me like I had no business being there. I started to get that eerie feeling one gets when alone on the Toronto subway at midnight and see two guys with Blue Jay hats on backwards (a sure sign of mental instability and very likely homicidal tendencies) staring at you. I wondered if the ducks were sizing me up. I thought I heard one quack, “You take his throat and I’ll go for his testicles.”
A few weeks ago I met two senior ladies on mobile scooters in that very same spot. Although they seemed quite friendly I didn’t stick around that time either in case they had plans to throw me down and have their way with me.
But back to the mallards, they didn’t fly away until I was 40 or 50 feet from them. It was then I began to think of how walkers and bikers are at the mercy of ferocious animals whenever we trek or cycle off into the wilderness. After all, the ducks could very easily have flown back around and pecked me to death.
Forest creatures are not to be trusted. If you remember, it was not that long ago a bear was seen on Bradford Street in Barrie. Why a wild animal, or for that matter any thinking creature, would want to go to Barrie at any time is a bit of a mystery, but I suppose with COVID 19 all over the place people might do strange things – not that strange granted, but strange nevertheless.
As a precaution I am thinking of going to the next Oro-Medonte council meeting to ask Harry Hughes, their grand Poohbah, to hire armed guards to patrol the walking trails to protect us from marauding animals and vicious wild birds. Back in March I was walking along James Street and didn’t see two Canada gooses standing there. They both honked at me at the same time. Perhaps I shouldn’t have called 911 but they did give me quite a fright. I still had several blocks to go to my car and my under-britches and socks were now wet and my shoes squishy.
It is probably just as well I wasn’t born in the 1600s and canoed across Huronia with Samuel de Champlain. I would be totally useless as a courier du bois. Not only am I afraid of wild animals, but also my sense of direction is notoriously underdeveloped. I can’t even go downtown without a bag of breadcrumbs and a ball of string. Had I been a guide for Champlain, Canada’s western boundary would be Rue Ste. Catherine’s in Montreal. Not only that, there wouldn’t be a statue of him in Couchiching Park.
(Wait a minute, there isn’t!)