Hero Fred

Fred telling me how the hunting was that day.
Gabby, in all her five-pounds of fighting weight.

It’d been so hot all day, the Kibble Kids – original and v.2 – had been in and out of their hunting grounds and the house yards repeatedly. Fred came in about 5:30, looking worn out, telling me it hadn’t been a very good day for hunting.

Finally, I got their small building cooled off to a bearable temperature, and began scooping them up in my arms and putting them through their cat door, thereby securing them against coyotes and other hazards. Sis went in first, then Ta’Male (more about him in a future post) and Hoss. Fred was still resting in the cool grass, watching me as I helped Pete retire to his greenhouse – and I started calling the last little missing one – Gabby.

Then I realized Fred had disappeared too. It grew later. Seven o’clock. Even calling “Gabriella!” and “GingerFred!” didn’t bring them in, and I was getting worried. At only five pounds, she’s a very petite smokey grey girl – just right for a coyote’s dinner. And Fred’s strong and athletic, but no match for a coyote or two. I went across the street to the huge cornfield and called. No one. Walked down to the edge of the property and the old oak trees.

Last week, Fred and I had had a very uncomfortable fast walk home of about a quarter mile, going along the edge of the neighboring farm’s wheat field – and listening to two coyotes calling back and forth. Fred kept watching over my shoulder when I picked him up, and I’ll admit the hair was standing up on the back of my neck. He growled when the second coyote answered the first call. We were both very glad to reach the safety of their building.

And now – I wondered whether the same coyote pair was out and about, only this time watching the cornfield for dinner. I turned and started back towards the house and their backyard building, discouraged. Then I heard Fred calling!

He and Gabby had come out of the cornfield and were running quickly across the street, Fred making no allowance for Gabby’s shorter legs and stride, but hurrying her along. I ran to meet them and scooped Gabby up in my arms. Fred was at my feet and we took off across the newest apple orchard and the back fields. Fred was watching over his shoulder, and Gabby was trying to see over my shoulder, just as Fred had done the week before. “Don’t look back,” I said to Gabby. I was afraid if she saw a coyote behind us, she’d panic and jump out of my arms, running on her own – and start a coyote racing to catch its prey. “Don’t look back. We’re almost home.”

Obviously, we all made it back, Thank Heaven. I thanked Fred, too, for going to look for his niece, Gabby – he’d had to hunt at least half an hour for her, tired as he was. And he ushered her home, no dawdling!

So Fred’s a hero. Wish I’d had some caviar to give him. He deserved it.