“Everett,” I said.
“I just saw a camel in that field.”
First let me explain that Everett has been de-sensitized to my “sightings” as I’ve been known to mistake a wild turkey for a dinosaur, and many of the bears, moose and gargantuan hawks I’ve “seen” have definitely been products of my imagination. Brought on by the boredom of perpetually being the passenger in Everett’s domination of the driver’s seat, no doubt. THIS however, was different.
“Everett, you’ve got to turn around! I’m SURE I saw a camel!”
We were on a back road – a winding, narrow back road through rolling farm country – taking us from our camp site in Shartlesville, Pennsylvania to the Cabella’s retail store in Hamburg, Pennsylvania. Being proud holders of the Cabela’s Club Credit Card we had earned enough points through fuel and grocery purchases that we had several hundred dollars’ worth to spend at this, their largest store in the country. A mecca of outdoor sports and camping equipment and good country-style clothing, Cabella’s has everything Everett and I could ever need or want. Plus a museum quality exhibit of taxidermy (stuffed animals from prairie dogs to polar bears), a walk-through fresh water aquarium, a shooting gallery, and a restaurant. We might stay for days. With all that to look forward to, Everett nonetheless turned the truck around in somebody’s driveway and headed back to my camel field. He’s a saint.
He was not surprised when we arrived at the whitewashed paddock to see a couple of ponies and four or five horses – but no camel. I spotted a man tinkering underneath an old pick-up and hollered, “Excuse me . . . do you have a camel in that field?”
“Matter of fact, I do,” the man said as he rolled out from under the truck and wiped his hands on his jeans. “Want to see her?” He walked up to the paddock and shouted, “Hey, Matilda! You’ve got visitors.”
The man, who never offered his name, said that Matilda likes dog kibble as a treat. We happened to have some in the truck (what dog owner doesn’t?) and offered her a palm full. Everett didn’t get a picture of Matilda’s giant flexible lips engulfing my entire hand while gently sucking kibble from it, ’cause he was laughing too hard.