of immense propor-tions and very soon, everyone with a vested interest knew that Macey had “swum” on the high seas. Back at the house in the box we tried him on his belly and though wobbly he managed to maintain his balance. Another breakthrough. And then, he began to eat: small bits of hot dogs and wet cat food held out on a toothpick. Frank continued to be discouraged by his lack of motor control until early one morn-ing when he and I came downstairs and found Macey sitting up on his ‘elbows!’ Such excitement. The entire neighborhood was elated by the news and even the carpenters working on our new porches were ushered in to view the miraculous recovery. Macey’s newfound steadiness meant daily trips to the dock where he sat — protected — under a plastic milk crate while the children fished and swam. Marine tidbits were procured and offered for his enjoy-ment — minnows, shrimp, unidentified slimy things — and he ate with relish, his eyes becoming brighter each day and his personality — if seagulls have one — more defined. A few days later, he raised himself from his elbows to a full standing position, and before long, William would take him swimming in the sound for brief periods. I wish I could convey some of the incredible joy that accompanied each of Macey’s accomplishments. He was such a part and parcel of our household — indeed of the entire neighborhood — by this time that it was almost as if he were a family member, critically injured but in recovery. Everyone monitored his progress and we recorded it on camera frequently. We took many snapshots of Macey swimming beside William and his sister or of Macey in his milk crate on the pier gazing out at the world beyond. One day, about three weeks after we’d found him, he surprised us in mid-swim by taking off and flying for a few feet. But he seemed to know he wasn’t yet ready for total freedom and returned to his box for hotdog bits and a dollop of cat food. During his morning and afternoon sojourns on the dock he entertained a host of visitors, some just passersby who had heard about the sick sea gull and stopped for a first-hand look. Meanwhile, summer was coming to an end and I began to consider the possibility that Macey might have to return home with us to Virginia. It wasn’t a horrible pros-pect for we’d all become quite attached, but I knew Macey would be better off gaining his freedom on his “home” turf. We needn’t have worried. It was a glorious morning with the sun high overhead and the tide lapping high up on the pilings when William, Macey and I ventured to the pier for a swim. As I 32 WBM may 2014 He was such a part and parcel of our household –– indeed of the entire neighborhood –– by this time that it was almost as if he were a family member, critically injured but in recovery.
Wrightsville Beach Magazine May 2014
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