By the time that this goes to print, the gate will have been locked for the last night for crowds to view the bats at The Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve in 2008.
Wasn’t it just a few days ago that the season began and I unlocked that lock and tried to drive up a washed out road to the parking area? Didn’t a wonderful neighbor and friend of the cave stop to ask if he could be of any help to fix the road? Didn’t I come back out the next night and find a most wonderful, smooth road going up to that same parking area?
What about the elderly couple who had visited the cave in their youth and wanted so bad to share it with their grandson? Wasn’t it their eyes and not the sky that sparkled so brightly that night when their grandson voiced a most gratuitous “Awesome!” to the bats as they made their way out into the evening sky?
And Blinkey Bunny sitting on the path just blinking….as a youngster last season, he would sometimes meet us there too, and just sit and blink. It was a little girl who thought to call him, Blinkey, after his cute little habit. How grand it was to know that “elements” had not taken him away from the preserve and we could enjoy his pleasantries from only a foot or two away for at least this season.
Who could forget “Dillon”? This youngster when asked if he would like to name a bat was quick to respond that he wanted to name the spike-headed lizard that was vying for everyone’s attention on the rock wall of the cave mouth. Dillon it became. It rather liked the name I think, because it came right over to the bench where I was sitting a few weeks ago and I talked to it. I had never tried addressing it as Dillon, but when I did, its little head just cocked to one side and it just sat there for the longest, just listening to me rave on.
And what about all of the cameras and media….wonderful segments carried to the public through television, newspaper, magazine, and computer….teaching truth about the lives of those dear creatures who call the Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve “HOME”, or at least “HOME AWAY FROM HOME”?
Were any of you there the night when one gentleman had not one, but two flat tires? That same gentleman was shown the tremendous care for strangers that Mason has as an unwritten code of law in hearts and not law books. How did he get back to town and on the road back home with a smile, thankful there were still honest people who wouldn’t dream of taking advantage of someone in this situation?
I won’t neglect to mention the fluffy little teddy bear that was being carried by one arm by a sad faced little girl who was escaping “IKE” with her parents…. the deep sadness that the bats ripped away for over an hour, etching out memories in the deepest part of her little mind…. memories that would bring her back in the years to come... possibly with her grandchild…possibly because it was a warm and dear memory that served her to weather the terrible storms of her life and serve as a warm harbor, calm…peaceful…and worthy of sharing with someone you love.
I am Vicki Ritter, 2008 Bat Cave Steward. I bid you well until next season with one last thought: “Never miss a chance to make a difference…..never make a difference by chance…aim and hit the mark!”