Monday, July 29, 2013

The Welcoming Committee of One

After days and days of packing up our possessions and lives, and some days to move all of them out of the city and into a quiet -- more accurately, a small island -- setting, I had finally put my feet up on the recently assembled coffee table and let out a bone-weary sigh.

It was quiet outside.

No sirens. No cars. No commercial jets.

Birds, a slight rustle of some leaves in the late afternoon breeze... just the hint of ocean air but filtered through cedar, fir, and arbutus trees.

I let out another bone-weary sigh.

"Dad, Dad!" my oldest daughter yelled from the front yard. "You've gotta see this!"

All the kids had spent the day "deer spotting" which we've learned is like shooting a fish in a barrel on the island. (Without natural predators like bears or wolves and no hunting allowed, deer on the island are plentiful.) In the absence of real deer they would shout out false sightings and zing me with, "Made you look!" It had happened enough times in the day that I wasn't about to be zinged again. After all, I was wallowing in my bone-weariness.

"Sure, sure," I yelled from my seat in the living room. The french doors out to the deck were open.

My wife came up the stairs to the landing at the front door.

"What's going on?" she said. "Aaron, Aaron you've gotta see this!"

Okay, so maybe this time it wasn't an imaginary deer, I thought. I heaved myself up after rolling sideways off the couch and walked down the stairs to the front landing.

There, standing under the arbor that arches across the front path, was a donkey.

A donkey.

My eyes registered this fact before my concious self could decipher that there was a donkey standing not 15 feet away. My jaw swung open.

He nodded his head, backed up a little then walked up the lawn toward the main road. A "welcome" delivered and he was on his way again.

Remembering all those blurry Bigfoot images that dominated my early adolescence, I whipped out my phone to take some pictures. I managed to snag one. And wouldn't you know it -- blurry! But there's no denying it's actually a donkey of some sort and not two guys in a donkey suit.

On our way to the beach the next day, one of our new neighbours stopped and introduced himself. He mentioned he saw that the donkey had dropped by.

'Oh yeah, he's the neighbourhood donkey," he said. "Usually he roams around with a Shetland pony."

So, while some neighbourhoods are battling street corner drug dealers, drive-by shootings, urban blight, ours will cope with the Equine Duo of a donkey and a Shetland pony.

Seems fair to me.

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