the much-cherished sand dollar. Ahead and behind, the children shuttled back and forth like balls on a string, returning to us again and again with their discoveries. All the drinks and snacks had been consumed as the morning turned slowly to afternoon, and we began to think about returning home. We called the kids as they stood huddled together at the water’s edge deeply engrossed in examining something that caused agitated conversa-tion among them. My son William, 8, dropped to one knee beside a lifeless object being rolled back and forth by the waves of the rising tide. Carefully, he lifted it. Why was I surprised to see an almost comatose seagull cradled in his hands? This was a boy who collected injured creatures as a pastime; the son of a man whose mother has said that she rarely sat down for a second cup of coffee after he biked off to school that he didn’t return 15 minutes later with a wounded animal for her to “take care of” until he got home. William was cut from his father’s cloth. After appropriate exclamations, I suggested to William that the bird looked sick unto death – as indeed it did — and perhaps it would like to die peacefully nestled in the sea oats on Masonboro. Six pairs of eyes looked at me in horror; how could we abandon this helpless creature that still showed a spark of life? Well, we couldn’t. Porter, one of the two girls in our group, donated her T-shirt to wrap him in for the trip home, though he hardly needed restraining, and we made our way uneventfully back to the boat and home. As the finder, William was designated permanent caretaker. The name Macey, short for Masonboro, was selected without hesitation and a box procured for lodging just as my husband Frank — the ole nature boy himself and also a physician — returned from a fishing trip. The box, surrounded by the original six children and some new additions, made its way to the pier as the boat docked and excited voices began explaining and cajoling William’s father before he even secured the lines. The boat bucked and weaved on the incoming wakes of other boats and the little emissaries on the floating dock bobbed up and down as well impatient for a consultation with the doctor who could diagnose Macey’s ailment and surely provide the treatment which would restore him to health. I had to laugh (and still chuckle as I remember the scene) as I watched my hus-band peer dubiously into the box at the gull that lay on its side, cartoon xs almost visible in its eyes. Frank’s hands patted the air as he tried to calm the surround-ing babble of voices, assuring them that he would examine the patient when he got back to the house. Away went the box and the stream of children to await “office hours.” Waves of heat wafted up from the pier’s rough boards and the sun glinted blindingly as I caught Perhaps it was the goodwill emitted by the myriad visits of the children or Janet’s daily inquiries, or the show-and-tell sessions provided by William to any interested party; Macey began to revive. 30 WBM may 2014 Macey was not highly regarded by Clare Gwathmey’s cat, Lilly, and only tolerated by Winston Gwathmey’s dog, Winnie.
Wrightsville Beach Magazine May 2014
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