Journey to Ukazoo-Slide 17


Eight Birds

Journey to Ukazoo

Slide 17: Eight Birds


After several stops in large metropolitan areas, I could sense the anticipation of a few days of peace and quiet as I checked into a Bed & Breakfast in Yreka, California. The innkeeper, after going through the normal b&b cadence, offered one final note, you might want to reframe from feeding the birds. “Nothing major, but one particular bird, we named Cliff, seems to be rather persistent in wanting more”.

The following morning after breakfast, armed with a good mystery book, cup of tea, and my last few favorite store bought cookies, I made my way to the front porch. Couldn’t have been 10 minutes into my reading when a very unique bird, whom I had to assume was Cliff, landed on the railing. He took to staring at me and my cookies. I remembered the innkeepers warning, but it was just one bird. I gave in and held out my last cookie. With one quick motion he took it from my hand and flew off. I smiled, seemed like no harm done.

Later that evening after dinner and a trip to a store to replenish my cookie supply, I returned to the porch to finish off a couple more chapters. Couldn’t have been five minutes when Cliff returned to the railing. Only this time he was back with a friend, and with that same intent stare to me and my cookies, I gave in. Well, with a little less of a smile, it was just the two of them.

The next day, I again went to the porch and I took the cookies just in case Cliff and his friend returned. They did, but he also brought two additional friends. With a weaker smile, I offered each a cookie. That included the two I had put aside for myself. Oh well, it was only four of them.

That evening, with a slight chill in the air, I retired to my room with the book and a very comfortable soft chair next to a window. Within five minutes I heard a soft tapping on the glass, and slightly startled, there outside the window was Cliff, and with two more friends, now bringing the total to six,  and all with those same intent stares.

My smile stretched thin, and the innkeepers warning now echoing in my head, still, I gave in. Opening the window, the same scenario played out, take the cookies and fly.

Returning to the book, I stayed up very late wanting to finish it since I would be leaving tomorrow. As the morning light filtered into the room and I worked reluctantly to open my eyes, I detected a rustling sound at the foot of the bed. I slowly lifted my head and peeked over the sheets, and remembering I forgot to close the window, I now found eight birds sitting, patiently waiting for me to wake up and offer them a cookie.

I reached over to the nightstand where I had left my camera and peering back over the edge of the sheets I took this picture.

Now making myself decent, I walked to the dresser, got what happened to be my last eight cookies and explained that this was it, no more, besides, I would be leaving today. Just as before and without any hint of understanding, they took the cookies and flew off.

A few hours later as I was bringing my bags out for departure, I noticed sitting on my windshield a coupon for my favorite brand of cookies. I looked around and across the road, I saw Cliff sitting on a fence post. With coupon in hand and the sheer silliness of this cookie episode playing in my head, my smile returned. I tipped my hat to Cliff, as a thank you and goodbye, and he gave a slight nod in return, spread his wings, and flew away. Onward to Ukazoo.


Art notes:

All images and text are copyright Craig L Haupt

Postings of “Journey to Ukazoo” Slides are every Monday Evening.



Journey to Ukazoo-Slide 16


Journey to Ukazoo

Slide 16: Skateboard

During breakfast at a small Bed & Breakfast among the hills of San Francisco, California, the innkeepers son, Narbendo, and daughter, Ramia were discussing this evenings Arts & Craft/Dance to be held at the West Side Community Center. Ramia, an art student, finding out that I dabbled with art, was insistent that I attend. Some of their discussion also centered around Ramia’s new boyfriend, Kirk Kirk Kirkpatrick, nicknamed “Stony”.

Problem was, Stony used to have ties to the “Rockets”, a rival skateboard group to her brother’s group, the “Alligators” and Narbendo adamantly didn’t approve of Ramia and Stony seeing each other.

That evening while attending the Arts & Craft/Dance both skateboard groups arrived at the community center and tensions between the two groups quickly accelerated. First, each group worked at one-upmanship in the Arts, who pulled off a difficult Graffiti, who found the perfect location for a Plein Air painting experience.

Not striking any boastful edge they turned to the dance floor. The Alligators, with some beautiful Middle Eastern moves and the Rockets kicking up a few Irish jigs,  proved equally adept at Dance. Thus, is was only natural that they turn to skateboarding trash talk. A challenge was made. Tonight at midnight both groups would meet at an abandoned cement factory to determine who ruled the streets.

I, among most of the other evenings guests, attended the challenge event.  Trick after difficult trick was performed and instead of the expected tensions accelerating, each feat was met with newfound approval from members of the opposing group. Slowly a respect between the two groups grew and Narbendo and Biff, leaders of each group, would give the final say to the two groups becoming friends and sharing their territories for future skateboarding events.

Narbendo seeking to embarrass Stony in front of Ramia, offered a final challenge. A bond of both groups would be recognized if Stony could take “The Hill” without falling.

“The Hill”, highest and longest in West Side area, crossed five intersections before ending at the bottom and adjacent to a shoe factory with 30 foot of parking lot between the bottom intersection and the building, a crucial distance for stopping at that speed. A very reluctant out of practice Stony agreed. As he remembered, once a Rocket always a Rocket.

I took this picture of Stony as he started down the first incline. Speed picking up and crossing each flat of an intersection met with a higher lift in the air before dropping back down several feet into the next incline, sparks spraying as the wheels connected to the surface.

Crossing the last intersection, Stony, in that last thirty feet to the wall, instinctively pushed down on the back of the board, managed to grab the front edge with his hand, turned it perpendicular to the wall and with a slight tilt drove the side edge of the wheels into the parking lot pavement. The board stopped inches from the wall but the momentum sent him crashing into it.

Everyone rushed down the hill and Ramia, first to arrive, dropped to his side, calling his name repeatedly for a response. What seemed like hours to Ramia, was in reality only a minute, but slowly Stony opened his eyes to all the group gathered around. He was sore but alive.

He took the hill without falling, stopping, Narbendo said, was another issue altogether. Narbendo proudly recognized a bond between the two groups and his assurance to not get in the way of Ramia and Stony’s love for each other.

Art notes:

All images and text are copyright Craig L Haupt

Postings of Journey to Ukazoo Slides are every Monday Evening.

Journey to Ukazoo-Slide 15


Journey to Ukazoo

Slide 15: Spaceburger

I took a room at a Bed & Breakfast in La Canada-Flintridge, California just at the base of the Angeles National Forest. The next day I made my way up 45 minutes of winding roads to the Mount Wilson Observatory. While part of the guided tour in the area that housed the main telescope, we passed a chained off archway leading to a smaller Dome. Inside this dome, connected to a vast array of computers was a very complicated looking telescope. Our guide mentioned that only someone with the highest level security clearance was allowed to look through that telescope.

During a brief moment away from the group, I whispered to the guide, if he let me look I promised I would never tell. He seemed satisfied but needed to confer with several head honcho scientists and security people. The general consensus was , they felt a stronger promise was needed. I offered a Pinkie Swear.

Upon a second conference they concurred that a Pinkie Swear would be acceptable.

Once all visitors had vacated the premises, I was escorted to the special telescope. While setting up to look through the lens, the guide recounted that six months ago, by accident, they spotted an immensely popular little planet co-owned by a prince of sorts. By deciphering intermittent radio frequencies it was believed the “Space Burger” Diner was universally famous for it’s burgers and had t-shirts made proclaiming itself as such.

With word leaking to major Fast-Food Corporations, their lobbyists pressured the Government and FDA to fund a space program to send a spaceship to the planet in question, buy some burgers, transport them back, and run their own in-house taste tests to dispel the “Best Burger” advertising claims. The telescope, meanwhile, was to continue to get a fix on the planets orbit, chart an accurate route, check for any toll stops, and the best times to avoid rush-hour space traffic.

As I was taking this picture through the lens, I happened to noticed several of the local occupants appear to be staring right at me. One in particular started some tapping with his finger against the crater wall.

Recognizing the tapping as Morse code, it read “We deliver, place your order”.

This was rich, but what the heck, I had a small flashlight in my camera case so I held it to the telescope lens and signaled back. “One Cheeseburger, LTM, One fries”. They tapped back CC#EXPDate.

Funny, funny, but I can ride a joke, so I flashed back my credit card number and expiration date. Had my chuckle, thanked the guide for letting me look and left.

Later that night, back in my room, in a comfortable chair, cup of hot chocolate, and a good mystery book, I noticed, for just a split second, a bright White light just outside the bottom edge of my door. I opened the door to an empty hallway but at my feet was a small bag with an attached register receipt.

Lo and behold, in the bag, a cheeseburger and fries.  I looked over the receipt, Burger-$3.95, Fries-$1.65, Delivery $11,345.14. After one of those “Mouth dropping to the floor” moments I relooked at the receipt and noticed the small print at the bottom. “First time customer-Free Delivery”.

It was by far the best burger I have ever had and the fries were pretty good too but relooking at the delivery charge, I don’t think I will place a second order any time soon.

Art notes:

All images and text are copyright Craig L Haupt

Postings of Journey to Ukazoo Slides are every Monday Evening, Except Slide 15 which will post Sunday Morning, Sept. 8