The retired old couple had lived in the small town in North Dakota for the past 40 years. The loved living there. Their daily ritual: Finish supper about 5:30 PM. Clean up the dishes then hop on the golf cart for the two block drive to the course for a quick nine.
Ethel always wore her large brimmed straw hat with a bright blue bandanna that tied under her chin. It was the same hat that she wore when she worked in their large garden or tended to her beloved roses. Ethel loved being outdoors and all of God’s creatures. But, the sun was not going to cause wrinkles in her beautiful skin that she cared for with the same loving care as her flowers.
Hans, retired now, spent 40 years working in the local lumberyard. Hans loved playing golf, but loved his blue denim over-alls even more. So everyday, except Sunday, Hans wore a golf shirt and golf cap, with some exotic logo usually USGA or PGA, and his clean but faded blue over-alls. When he took his cowboy boots off and slipped into comfy golf shoes he had to roll up the over-all pant legs.
For the past two days the unique couple had noticed a Great Horned Owl sitting on the ground near the pond that fronted on #3 green. Ethel had mentioned that she thought the bird must be sick, “it is not acting normal.” Today as they approached the pond, she said to Hans, “that bird is sick, I think we should take it to Dr. Sally to see if she can fix it.”
“Vell how do ya tink ve gonna catch tat damn bird and get him to da vooman vet?” Hans snorted.
Ethel says with an air of authority in her voice, “you gonna run him down. Then you gonna wrap him up in that worthless US Open towel you are so proud of. Then we gonna take him to the lady vet.”
The chase lasted longer than Hans or the owl would have liked. But Hans finally captured the, obviously very sick, bird. Hans held the owl under his right arm with its head and wings wrapped in the red, white and blue US Open towel. The sick owl’s talons were intertwined in the fingers of Han’s powerful left hand. “Vell now vat ve gonna do?” Hans shouted as he tried to catch his breath.
Ethel gave him that look, “You hop on the golf cart and I will drive us to the vet’s.”
The trip to the other side of town took about 15 minutes as the locals wondered why Ethel was doing driving the golf cart and what Hans had wrapped in the US Open towel under his arm. After a 20-minute wait they finally got the bird into the vet’s office. The diagnosis was simple; the bird was suffering from lead poising from ingesting ducks filled with lead shot. As they chatted with the Sally, Hans subconsciously scratched his right shoulder. Then he clawed at his left arm and the nap of his neck. As Dr. Sally got a big smile on her face Hans was scratching and itching with both hands. She said to Hans, “thanks again for trying to save this sick owl, but I am afraid that the mites, found on all owls, have found a new host on you.”
With a irritated look on his face Hans says, “Vell Doc, how do I get rid of dem gol-dang tings?”
Dr. Sally’s answer was short and to the point: “They will live on you for only about 24 hours, then die. They don’t adapt well to a new host.”
Needless to say the trip back home was COLD. Hans spent the night attempting to sleep on the barn floor while he cussed those gol-dang mites. After dinner the next evening Hans and Ethel were on there way to the course. Hans had showered and his fresh over-alls well pressed.
Both the owl and the mites died!