…in Mound City. What’s that? You’ve never heard of Mound City? Mound City in northwest Missouri happens to be the nearest town to the Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge, a feeding and breeding range for migratory birds and other wildlife. Snow geese by the thousands, ducks of all kinds, and numerous eagles make this a happy playground for photography geeks like me.
It had been a few years since I’d visited Squaw Creek to drive the ten mile loop, and when my Kansas City cousin offered to ride along, it was all the incentive I needed to head north. Arriving in mid-afternoon to scout the place and be ready to catch the best light , the Cuz was somewhat deflated when I told him he would have to ride in the back seat in order to accommodate two cameras, several lenses, bean bags, and other photo paraphernalia for quick access in the front..
The weather was bright sun with a stiff north breeze and although the refuge headquarters listed 56,000 snow geese in residence, it seemed that most had packed up and headed south before I got there. But there were enough eagles and even a few swans around to keep me entertained. We hung around long enough to grab a sunset shot and had to scurry to make the exit gate before the 5:05 closing time. I should mention here that there were numerous complaints from the back seat on the cramped seating and lack of food and drink I told him to relax and pretend he was on an airplane.
The motel was comfy enough and it was unanimously decided that we should cap off the day’s activities with a spooker or two… or three, the whisky thoughtfully provided by yours truly. A couple hours and a few drinks later, the Cuz once again brought up the subject of food and what was the plan? While thinking that over, I paged through the on-screen TV guide and discovered that the OSU basketball boys were playing in less than an hour. Outside, the temperature had dropped dramatically and a light mist had begun to fall. I made the brilliant suggestion that we order a pizza and have it delivered.
The Cuz calls the front desk and chats with the young lady on duty. She tells him this is Mound City, not Kansas City, and there is no pizza delivery here. Not to worry, she says, there happens to be a pizza place right across the street and she gives us the number. Twenty minutes says the pizza parlor, plenty of time for one more spooker.
At five minutes before tipoff, the Cuz and I are on our second slice when I discover the TV remote no longer works. Unlike just a short time ago, I couldn’t change channels or even access the guide. How strange. Thinking faulty equipment, I go down the hall, remote in hand, and inquire at the desk if I could try another devise as this one is obviously broken. The young lady smiles and patiently explains–as if talking to an old fart with too many drinks under his belt–that the most common cause of the problem I was describing, was an object in the path of the remote signal.
I assured her this was not the case and I was now declaring an emergency in room 115 as the game had no doubt started and I was missing all the action. What I really wanted to explain was that I had spent most of adult life in the field of electronics, had a Federal Communications radio license, and was quite knowledgeable in the field of radio propagation waves. But in view of the time constraints and knowing she wouldn’t understand a word I said, I let the moment pass. The lady said she would come to the room in a few minutes and look into the problem. Blocked path. Humph.
Soon, we hear a rap on the door. The lady walks directly to the dresser; removes our pizza container from in front of the cable box where the motel had diabolically hidden it, and says, “Try it now.”
You know the result of course.
The Cowboys won.
The egos, and one in particular, suffered an embarrassing loss.