Annie giggled with pure pleasure as she sat on her dad’s lap and turned the steering wheel of the golf cart back and forth chasing the killdeer that appeared to have a broken wing.
It was their family’s first vacation without a pair of grandparents to watch little Annie – while Annie’s parents played and pampered themselves. For the past seven years one set of grandparents or the other were along on every trip to watch little Annie, but they were always underfoot, even though they made a conscious attempt not to interfere. On this trip it was just the three of them, baby Annie, now known simply as Annie, her daddy, Al, but at 6’8’’ Al was still known by his high school basketball nick name, Stretch, and Annie’s mom, the beautiful corporate financial officer, Marge.
They arrived at the northern Wisconsin resort that had everything their little family could desire. New luxury condos overlooking the, only-in-Wisconsin mirror top lake, two great restaurants, both with good wine lists, 36 holes of championship golf, pool with hot tub and…. most important to Marge, a wonderful masseurs with soft strong hands, big brown eyes and a toothy smile that made Marge yearn for her days back at Madison.
Early the first morning of their 4 nights stay Stretch had scheduled an early tee time while Marge and Annie slept in. Then had a leisurely breakfast and played by the pool. Stretch met them by the pool about 11:30 and they enjoyed doing nothing while they watched Annie make new friends with her blow-up alligator float toy. After a few cocktails with the umbrellas, Marge said to Stretch, “What are your plans for this afternoon?”
When Stretch mentioned that he thought he might play another nine, Marge got that “look” on her face and said in a slightly p o-ed tone, “and what am I supposed to do while you are playing golf – AGAIN! Who will watch Annie? I have a session scheduled with Fritz.”
Stretch had been married to Marge for 10 years and already had the answer, “Oh that’s easy, I will take Annie with me, the resort has a kids play free deal during twilight hours after 2:30. I want her to get exposed to golf anyway. When is your massage scheduled?”
The father daughter twosome was on the third hole where washout in the rough had been re-seeded. The clay soil had not responded well and the grass was thin and clumpy. Annie had whacked her ball into this area and when she carefully guided the cart to her ball, a mother killdeer had played the broken wing trick to lure predators away from her nest. Annie had fallen for the trick, but Stretch knew the game. He let Annie chase the bird for a minute or two, then explained what the soon to be mother was doing. They carefully inspected the area and sure enough they found a well-camouflaged nest containing 4 small tan speckled eggs. Annie said with a big question mark in her eyes, “Daddy I thought birds had their nest in the trees?”
Stretch explained that most birds did in fact have their nests in trees but some kind of birds, like killdeers, did not. When Annie and Stretch got back to the condo, the totally relaxed Marge was enjoying a glass of wine and listened wide-eyed as Annie told her in great detail about the nest and the 4 speckled eggs. “Daddy says that he will take a picture of the nest, for show and tell, with his iPhone when we play golf again.”
Two days later the day was a carbon copy of day one, except when the twosome was on hole number three Annie steered the cart near the nest. “Where is the momma Killdeer,” she questioned? Then suddenly they saw something small scamper across their field of vision. “Sit very still and watch,” Stretch told her putting his finger to his lips.
Sure enough as they watched 4 little carbon copies of their mother darted around looking for bugs and other morsels of food in the newly planted grass. Stretch got a few pictures and Annie had a wonderful story to tell her mom and the kids when school started next month.
Killdeer chicks are born with long legs and big feet and are able to run almost from birth.