And I say to myself ….
Today began as any other and who could have imagined the fun that was in store. Lynn and I had to leave the house while a realtor showed it so I chose that we would go to the ocean. Since it was really rather nippy outside, we bundled up extra warm for the drive north to Deception Pass, which is about 2 hours northeast as the crow doesn’t fly (for Lynn and I are not known for taking the most direct highway to anywhere).
We loaded the car with oxygen, our jackets, water, cameras, phones, snacks, and our GPS (of course you know that stands for Global Positioning System) and off we were! First stop was the McDonald’s in Monroe where we each got a 32 ounce drink of our favorite beverage. I know … it sounds like heavy drinking … but if I were to tell you that wasn’t the only time we made a stop like that on this particular day would it change your opinion of us forever? Old people need a steady supply of liquid, don’t you know?
We laughed ourselves along for a good hour, talking about this and that; enjoying the sights and the towns, and the trucks and the animals in the fields and finally we thought that perhaps we should listen to the Book of Mormon since we are both trying to finish it again before we leave for home in Utah. Not long after that my heavy head pulled itself forward and my jaw relaxed sufficiently that my mouth could get comfortably open and I was fast asleep … with diet coke drool dropping slowly onto the collar of my white sweater. I slept like that until just before we got to the pass.
And now is when the story gets really exciting. I suppose it could be the climax of the entire trip … it was that dramatic! There is a pull off right before you actually get to Deception Pass, which is close to Oak Harbor, Washington. The pass itself is a very high, majestic bridge that connects Whidbey Island to the mainland. It looks down into the Sound and far off you can see that it opens out into the ocean … and as if all this isn’t enough … you add the beautiful trees and foliage, the tourists, and the wildlife … and the birds.
Just before the bridge there was a little look out area with a perfect view from my seat in the car and Lynn pulled over so I could sit comfortably and enjoy the view without having to go through all the work of changing my oxygen so I could get out. I had just rolled down my window when I heard a screeching bird very close to the car and looked out and a bald eagle was diving straight into the tree just 10-15 feet from me. From where I sat I looked down into the little grove of trees where it was diving and I could hear birds yelling and such a clatter of screeching and suddenly here came a second bald eagle zooming down from the left … out swooped the first closely on the tail of a beautiful golden eagle and they zoomed in and out of the tree and up in the air and down … the two bald eagles intent on driving this one golden eagle away from whatever it had been doing … and they ended up doing just that as it suddenly made a hasty retreat to the west with both of the other eagles close on its tail … the three of them shrieking obscenities at the top of their lungs. It was all over in a matter of minutes but our hearts were pounding from the excitement of it all. The three birds were so close to the car it was like front row seats to one of natures grandest treats. There was no time for pictures of the foray and if we’d have wasted the time trying to take them we’d have missed it entirely but Lynn was able to get a pretty good photo of one of the bald eagles afterwards as it kept a lookout above us in case the golden eagle tried to sneak in from another direction.
We sat there for a good long while, talking about it and listening to the comments from other tourists who’d witnessed it with us. It was actually too spectacular for words and just left us full of emotion and gratitude that we had pulled over to see it. The timing and choreography of seeing those kinds of unexpected gifts from nature always fascinate me. Just a few minutes later or sooner and we’d have missed a choice, choice experience.
Even though the rest of the trip was just as fun … nothing quite compares to those few minutes on the top with the eagles … except for one other magic moment on the way home. You can imagine that after we’d gone over the pass and had been driving for close to three hours it would be time to find ourselves another McDonalds. This time, however, it was not so much to purchase more liquid as it was to get rid of the 32 ounces we had consumed. The first McDonald’s we came to was hooked onto a gas station, Mini-Mart kind of place so it wasn’t ideal but in a pinch it would have to do. I didn’t have time to switch to the portable oxygen so I just took off the oxygen that is attached to the big tank we carry in the car and hurried into the store. I saw the sign pointing to the restrooms and made a beeline for the hall cluttered with empty boxes and brooms and buckets. There was a man sitting on a chair at the end of the counter near the register and just as you enter the hall so I thought I should get his permission to use his loo since I was actually in the store and not at the McDonalds. He just nodded his head on down the hall so I hurried past him and through the door at the back on the left. It was such a small bathroom that if I’d of taken my oxygen it would have almost been too hard to manipulate with it. It had a sink and a place to change a baby but you kind of had to stand in front of the door to use them, and then there was a door that led to an obvious stall and that was where I was headed. I gave the door a tug and it didn’t open and it was deathly quiet in there so I figured I was alone and gave it a hearty yank … and it still didn’t open.
It didn’t take me too long to realize that I was not the only one in the restroom but I figured they knew I was in there by now so I might as well stand there and maybe they would get the hint and hurry. I was feeling the affects of not having the oxygen available so I moved over where I could lean on the area by the sink for support while I waited, and finally I heard the toilet paper roll getting spun … and spun … and spun … and I am thinking, “Oh great, she is going to clog the toilet and I won’t get to use it and it will be all over for me.” Then it spun … and spun … and spun again … and I finally hear some shuffling around in there and the sound of pants getting zipped up and the click of metal against metal … and then the door opens and I am face to face with a guy in a McDonald’s shirt and apron.
“Holy Cow!” My first thought is that it’s a He/She sort of bathroom but that is proven false when I say, “I bet this isn’t the ladies room, is it?” And he says, “No, that would be the one across the hall.” “Wouldn’t you know it?” says I, as we begin to do the shuffle from left to right trying to pass each other. He was trying to get to the sink, and I was trying to get to the door and there is only room there for one person. “I am really sorry,” I say … not being able to think of anything else to talk about. “Oh don’t worry. It’s all good.” I’m thinking that no it is not all good since I can’t seem to get around him to get out of the men’s bathroom! I was almost ready to dive into the stall and just use the danged toilet when I got close enough to the door to open it. I should have said goodbye considering how close we’d gotten in such a short time … but I just left … retreated into the hall and disappeared behind door number two where I stayed as long as I dared, and then I briskly (with my eyes on the front door) made my retreat.
In looking back over the day I am supposing that in our lives we are gifted with these quick little three minute interludes every once in a while for a reason. The gift of the eagles was a gift of the highest order… and we have thoroughly enjoyed reliving it over and over. It is something we will always remember and will probably tell it to strangers we find in our travels. The bathroom incident … well it had to have had a purpose, too. I know when I told it later to my sister, Ann, she had such a good hearty laugh I was grateful it had happened. I have imagined her telling it again and again and supposing that the audience gets bigger and better each time … as does the tale. I know it made the day of the two men in the store … and probably a good many of their customers have heard it as well. Lynn seemed to have been uplifted by it and how here I am … doing what I love to do most … retelling it to the world. I know it will make the day of at least one of my nieces. Nothing would make her happier than me telling how I got caught in the men’s room. So, there you go … that’s the way it was …
“And I say to myself … What a wonderful world!”