The crew and I have been followed.
I recognize him right away — the black and white checkered suit, the little red hat, his hunched shoulders, thin legs, and that pointy beak.
Oh dear, it’s him all right. I was afraid this might happen.
Quickly I lower the blind.
Darn! He knows where we are! I wait a few minutes. Then slowly I lift a slat and peek out. Whew! No sign of him . . . for now. How did he find us so quickly?
A possible scenario forms in my mind . . . .
“Okay, hombres. Listen up. We are about to deploy Operation Strawberry. You four have been chosen for your flying skills, your reconnaissance abilities, and for your quick-thinking under pressure. You’ve trained well. I expect you won’t let us down on this important mission.”
Four red berets nod in assent.
“Here’s how it’s going down. You’re gonna’ fan out to your designated location. Then you’ll work your way back here, scanning the desert as you go. You’re looking for a white fiberglass trailer quite possibly with a white Chevy van, a solar panel on top, South Dakota plates.”
He gives out the assignments.
Benito, you go to Cow Plop Mountain.
Pancho Gila, you take Black Mountain.
And Miguel, go to the copper mine. Any questions?”
Pancho Gila hesitantly speaks up, “Perdone, commandante, what are you going to do?”
“I’m going to wait here in case she and her two companions return. I’ll expect you all back here by oh-two-hundred hours. Adios, hombres, and buena suerte.”
Meanwhile, I busy myself with housework, pushing the stalker out of my mind.
I sit up straight and strain to listen. The tapping becomes louder and more insistent.
It’s him! For heaven’s sake, he’s drumming on the side of the BLT!
I dash outside in time to see him swoop to the top of a saguaro.
I open up the PTV and pull out the strawberry hummingbird feeder. I go into the BLT, pour a cup of sugar and four cups of water into a saucepan.
Before long I’m hanging the feeder full of sugar water onto the palo verde behind the BLT.
If you think I made this all up, you’re wrong.
Well, the part about the commandos, but the rest is true. All five gila woodpeckers — and I firmly believe they are the same ones from our last campsite — are now fighting over the plastic strawberry. There’s a total breakdown in military discipline out there.
Canine Corner: “A Secret” by Bridget and Spike
“Hey, Bridge, wait up! I wanna tell you somethin.'”
“What is it, Spike?”
“Can you keep a secret?”
“What kind of a question is that, Spike. What are you trying to hide now?”
“Oh, never mind. You’ll rat on me. I know you. Little Miss Ratface.”
“Let me tell you something, Spike. You’re a sneaky boy and everybody knows it. So you better keep your secret to yourself. I’m going to tell RVSue.”
“Tell her what? You don’t even know the secret.”
“If it has anything to do with an avocado, you’re in big trouble. Like the old saying goes, Spike . . . The truth will come out somehow. Hahahaha!”