My hero husband: escorting a family to safety
Make no mistake about it. My husband is macho in all the right ways. His full head of salt-and-pepper hair, his silver fox beard (people have repeatedly told him he looks like the world’s “most interesting man”), his stocky, muscle-bound body and his careers as both an FBI guy and a firefighter leave no doubt that he pulls off “hero-esque” pretty well.
But if you saw him yesterday, you might wonder how someone who used to tear ceilings down in burning buildings and drive huge vehicles all over the streets of San Francisco could care about ducks.
I digress. It starts with my reclining in our family room with a giant Restoration Hardware throw draped over me, watching an old movie. Our home phone system somehow flashes an indication on our big screen TV that George is calling me on his cell phone. This makes no sense to me at the time, since I know he is just outside the door, trimming bushes in the front yard. So I ignore it, thinking it's a butt dial.
Then the house phone rings faintly (this time I hear it over the TV noise), at which time I realize all the cordless phones are dead, including the one right next to me. So I rush to my office to try to get to my corded phone before the perfunctory 4 rings become a voicemail message. I fail. But when I play back the message, all I hear is a hang up from George. Now I am curious.
I walk outside, calling his name, like any wife would when trying to find a husband in the great outdoors. Then I see a 6-foot long hedge trimmer sitting abandoned on our driveway. This is a tad alarming to me, since George is known for his security-laden ways, going around locking doors by 6 pm and never chancing anything being stolen by leaving things sitting around. I look in both directions down our street and all I see in the distance is someone walking their big dog. If I believed in the Biblical rapture, I’d see his clothes all over the ground, but they’re not there. What was going on?
So I call his cell from my own mobile phone from our driveway. “Where are you?” I ask, totally confused.
“I’m following some ducks,” he says. “A momma duck and her five babies.”
I am speechless. Then he instructs me to take the trimmer into the garage and shut the garage door. Of course. That was the reason for his call.
“Why are you following ducks?”
“Well, I saw them crossing our front yard. Then they headed toward the street and I wanted to stay close to them so they would get to safety and not get run over.”
By now my heart is melting. He explains how he was slowly shadowing this tiny family of ducks, by now three blocks away from home. On this journey, he waved off several cars, warning them of the tiny parade, getting both video captures and heartwarming reactions from the occupants. When he saw someone walking their dog off-leash, he noticed the momma duck disappear into some bushes. George told the dog owners what was going on and they quickly applied the leash to their pet. Then, just as quickly as George's feathered friends had disappeared behind the bushes, they emerged again, not bothered by George’s watchful eye.
The climax of the story came when crossing a busy street near our house. Riley Street is known for a few speeders, but there was George — guarding the ducks by pointing down at them as drivers slowed their vehicles. When he saw they were headed to an area that contained a creek, he watched as they toddled down an embankment to safety. And before long, I saw George rounding the corner to home, knowing he may have saved a small family from disaster.
Explaining how I ended up being married to a guy like George would take too much time and some of you already know that story. Suffice it to say that George has no shame in calling himself a Renaissance man. He cooks. He cleans. He dances like a pro. He sings. And he cries when watching sad movies. But most of all, he cares. His other-centered ways constantly instruct me, amaze me, and embarrass me inwardly for not demonstrating as much compassion as he does at times. All I know is that I wouldn’t trade this sweetheart of a guy for the world.
And neither would the ducks.