A Race Across the Green

First published in the Tri-Town Transcript Jun. 18, 2015

BOXFORD Last week our family was playing golf – – it’s a thing you can do when the ground is covered with grass and not snow. (How long am I going to be traumatized by this past winter, Regular Readers? How long!?!)

At any rate, we like to play golf together as a family.
 Well, let’s parse that out: technically my husband loves to play golf. Our eldest daughter likes to play certain holes, sometimes, but varies on whether she likes to drive and putt, or just putt.
 Our youngest daughter really likes the fancy little cover she has for her single putter; also she has a shiny, nearly translucent, pink ball. She likes that a lot too. And me? I like driving around in the golf cart and parking in sunbeams, but I don’t own any clubs, not even one with a fun cover.
I also like the beverage cart at the 9th hole – – they sell the best juice boxes with grown-up juice.
For all those highly compelling reasons we, as a family, like to play golf.
So last weekend we found ourselves in the hills and vales of a local course on the 5th hole. The putting green was on a gentle slope surrounded by woods and a nasty sand trap that led up to it. Our youngest daughter chose to stay in the cart and consider her bag of trail mix, and I stayed in the cart because somebody had to keep her from accidentally unlocking the brake and rolling down the hill backwards (it’s happened . . . more than once).

Suddenly we heard sounds of bushes being snapped and branches slapping and an odd, rather loud, chuff-hooting sound. “Woot, woot, chuff, woot!” It became louder and louder and my youngest and I could see some large shape begin to take form through the foliage.
 Meanwhile my husband and eldest daughter stopped mid-putt and stared down from their perch towards the wood line. More shrubbery snapping, more woots and chuffs, and then suddenly in a burst of leaves, a gigantic, and I mean simply huge, turkey burst forth onto the green running pell mell towards my oldest daughter.

I am hear to tell you that turkeys are fast! So fast that my daughter barely had time to react as the turkey gained on her. But then, what was this? More snapping of branches and out shot another creature streaking across the course.
Time slowed down as I realized that the second creature was the notorious, pet killing, terror of the Tri-Towns: the fisher cat. It was chasing the giant, speed-racer turkey, and both were making a furry, feathery, beeline for my daughter.
Many things happened at once.
I screamed (breaking golf etiquette I can only imagine). “IT’S A FISHER CAT!!!”

Simultaneously my husband computed this fact, and let out a primal, “HIYAAHHHHH” and threw a hybrid karate chop, body slam gesture towards the fisher cat, while lastly, our daughter leapt across the sand pit and began, herself, to run in the race of highly strung creatures.

This all had the effect of freezing the fisher cat. It stopped, perhaps noting my husband’s size and rather large menacing driver club, and then dashed back towards the woods.

And here is where the story takes it’s final unexpected twist. The turkey, upon realizing it was no longer being chased by the fisher, and finding itself halfway across the green in pursuit of a tween-aged girl who would no doubt become hysterical in a way that would unnerve even the strongest of species, made the executive decision, to follow suit. We all remained frozen as the turkey turned, and with the same great speed, bolted back into the woods behind the fisher cat.

It was an act we couldn’t follow in either speed, surprise or stupidity.

Except perhaps if I attempted to actually play golf. But I’m betting I can be smarter than the turkey . . . at least for now.