I think that the most asked question that I have had at the cave or from people in general who know me and where I work is: Why? Why do you work at the bat cave? I will tell you so that you will understand why I have a hard time trying not to talk about what I do.
My daughter, Melissa, worked at the cave for three years prior to my taking the position. During those three years I remember waiting for her to get home at night because it didnt matter whether the groups were made up of one or one hundred, she always bubbled when she walked in the door.
I came in last Sunday night and my grandson met me at the door to ask me what I had seen and how it went. He knew it was a special nightand it was indeed!
I had spent the whole day in Austin and made it back by the skin of my teeth to get out of the door by 5:15 p.m. I changed clothes, grabbed my water bottle, truck keys, paper work and was skittering around like a rat in a corn crib. Yes! I was on the road and things were good - they were very good. UNTIL ding..ding..ding! I looked down to see that I was on “E” on the gas gauge and I was only half way to the preserve. Ok, I am a stickler for being on time. I knew that I could make it to the preserve, but doubted very strongly that I would make it all of the way back home. Still, that thing inside my head told me that late it was NOT going to be, so I turned off the A.C., rolled down the window, and let the wind do its damage. Still good and going strong,I turned a corner and saw an object out of the corner of my eye in the grass on the side of the road. My brain did a quick rewind and I realized that I had just seen the tiniest little fawn that I have ever seen. My brain was trying to do a scan to remember whether or not I had seen a doe anywhere around but due to advancing age and circumstances beyond my control, a black fog lit up the frontal lobes between my eyes and there was no getting through. I drove about a mile and decided that I had to find out if it was standing there alone or if there truly was a mom standing somewhere unseen on the sidelines.
During that mile I truly debated - deer or walk - deer or walk. Some greater-mother instinct overrode my somewhat tired and lazy anatomy and I turned around to check on the tiny creature. It was still there. It was standing and looking across the street with the biggest and most frightened eyes that a person could imagine.
Rats!!no phone, no gas, baby deer, no mommy... I am going to be late,,,grrrrrrrr! I thought that I would pull into the driveway and ask the resident to use the phone to call,,, hmmm, who to call! Yes, the game warden. He's new in town and if I acted helpless he might just take pity and come out and see about this baby. All of a sudden my brain played me the scene of this guy trying to catch this little but spunky fawn.
Mason has rodeos, but I think that this would top any that I have seen. I also had a small revelation of that same game warden putting me in cuffs for calling him on a Sunday afternoon. I havent yet met this gentleman, but I can almost assure you that he probably would not take great delight in dealing with me after I put in that call.
Then, out of the blue, it happened. A big, intent, not so happy looking doe walked out into the open and snorted at the fawn. The fawn responded with a quick jump and back kick like I had just threatened to run over it. All I can say is that I will never forget the look in that mothers eyes as I pulled back into the road. There is not a doubt at all that I would much rather face a game warden's wrath than that of that doe.
I did make it to the cave on time. I did make it back to the gas station in town. But more importantly, I made it back to my door to see the look in my grandson's eyes as I told him the saga of the exciting night on my way to work at the greatest place on earthThe Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve.. and fluttery little butterflies exploded in flight deep inside my heart!!!