Monday, July 4, 2016

Up the Lake: Animals Part 2

Aside from gaining hang ups about non threatening animals, Up the Lake also causes people to enjoy normally feared beasties.  That isn’t to say there aren’t many folks who immediately cover their heads and run screaming when the bats come out.

In fact Skip's two sisters did this for an entire fun filled evening boat ride once, fortunately the water absorbed some sound, and we suffered no permanent hearing loss on the frantic trip back, where I believe three of us tried to row a single boat simultaneously for maximum acceleration.

Most of the long term Up the Lakers enjoyed the spectacle.  Although it is very peaceful to commune with nature as you watch the flitting about in the evening air of the only mammals capable of true flight…

Not counting a hamster in a slingshot, of course…

There just aren't enough of the little flitters for honest high powered entertainment value. 

This led to the well planned method of tossing a rock straight into the air, leading a bat to mistake it for a bug, and chase it as it fell. 

The intention was to provide us with an excellent close up view of one of nature's most interesting creatures.

I’m certain we would have gotten many a magnificent sighting of those winged marvels of nature; if we weren't so busy dodging the rocks. 

On one late night fishing trip, Skip had a bat chase his lure as he did a high cast.  The location of the evenings quarry instantly switched from below to above the boat.  The fun of the tossing sharp objects above our heads culminated with the group of us hurling fully opened Swiss army knives into the air over the beach, in hopes of gaining a proud trophy. 

Completely unsurprisingly, no bats lost their lives that evening. 

Completely surprisingly, the same can be said of the children.

Some of us liked the nocturnal flyers so much we decided to emulate them.  Almost every day one summer, three of us would play "Bats" on the beach.  Our towels would go over our shoulders and we'd run around flapping.

Stop judging.  Come on, like you never did this?

We each had a logical name as well: 

Diane was "Nutbat": due to her Planters towel. 

Danny was “Dingbat”: most likely because he actually tried to fly over the Lake, with less than impressive, or dry, results.

Lastly, I was "Mushbat" because I would jump up and down on stuff and go "MUSH" for reasons which were totally logical at the time, but seem to have slipped my mind at the moment, along with the reasons for the whole game in general, and the reasons for actually admitting it publicly.

While loved by many at night, bats caused several near heart attacks by popping up unexpectedly during the day. 

My cousin had a furry flying friend pop out at him while removing the covering board from his bedroom cabin’s window, and made it to the top of the tree stump ten feet away in two seconds flat.

The truly amazing part is he was on a twenty foot ladder working on the window...never touched a rung.

My Dad was honored with one of the earliest confirmed sightings of a flying squirrel.  He didn’t truly appreciate the honor, however, as the sighting occurred when he opened the tool shed and the thing barnstormed his head. 

My sister, Kim, and Tracy also got quite a jolt one afternoon down the Lake when they asked me to see if there was a mouse behind the clock on the water shed.  Protective older brother that I am, I peeked around the left side and saw nothing, so I pulled the clock down.  This would be when the bat began his attack sortie from behind the right side of the clock. I didn’t have time to move much as it whipped by me, and directly at the two young girls, who hit the beach like they were intent on saving Private Ryan (or at least their hair).

Kim was also by the same water shed when a bunch of us heard an odd screeching/creaking noise coming from behind the rules sign.  Peering over I saw a copperhead slithering its way from the roof behind the sign.  I figured (because I must have swam too much and deprived my brain of oxygen) that the snake was causing the board to push against its nails and make the sound.  Being the oldest, I grabbed the standard, Up the Lake, Anti-poisonous reptile at the beach armament which my mother had used on many occasions.  No not a shovel this time, an oar. Note that this only applied to the venom filled slitherers.  A lengthy, if slightly bent, black snake I named Lumpy (pictured above) and its many projeny (pictured here),
lived in harmony (minus the occasional panicked scream) around our cabin for a summer.  

Back to the dangerous one: a swift jab at the exposed section of the serpent caused it to drop into a flumphing pile. 

Kim helped everyone stay calm and me to focus by screaming and running around in circles.

The source of the sound was then revealed to be the bat that the copperhead was trying to eat, which greatly increased the volume and pitch of the screams of terror which I had ascribed to bending wood. 

Kim helped everyone stay calm and me to focus by screaming and running around in circles.

I hit the snake a couple more times to push it away from the group of kids, which had the secondary effect of it dropping the bat.

Kim helped everyone stay calm and me to focus by screaming and running around in circles.

I then proceeded to dispatch the snake to insure it would not bring its venom filled head near the young campers who frequently got drinks and washed their feet at the water shed.

Kim helped everyone stay calm and me to focus by screaming and running around in circles.

I then carried the broken body of the no longer dangerous creature on the oar to toss into the woods.

Kim helped everyone stay calm and me to focus by screaming and running around in circles.

Finally, the little bat crawled, flopped and bounced its way to the nearest tree to climb to safety.

Before Kim screaming and running in circles could accidentally step on it.

Click here for the weird conclusion…even by Up the Lake standards

Up the Lake Index


Kim Luer said...


Jeff McGinley said...

Sorry, poor word choice on my part. I meant to convey it flolloped away BEFORE you could step on it. I fixed it now.

Thanx for reading, posting, and running in circles and screaming to add highlights to my stories.