Cruising on a Sunday Afternoon | Mary’s Farm

Instinct draws the sweet-singing birds to make their homes in the same fields that farmers must harvest for hay.

By Edie Clark

Jun 15 2017

Photo Credit : Clare Owen/i2iArt


One recent Sunday after church was what we all think of as the perfect summer’s day: blue sky with puffy white clouds edging the horizon; dry, breezy, and just enough heat. One of my friends from church, a consultant who travels across the country, was giving a ladies luncheon. This was not the sort of thing she would usually do—or ever has done—she told us, but she loves to cook and wanted to take advantage of a lull in her schedule, so she invited some of the choir for lunch.

We sat for a while in the sun and worshipped the mountain from her patio, then went inside to the cool of the house, fragrant with the winter’s wood smoke. She made lobster burgers, which she served over a colorful salad—bright green Bibb lettuce from the garden, red and yellow peppers cut up into matchsticks. It was very satisfying, and we all fell into needed conversation about matters of the town. We sipped our iced tea, and suddenly we realized it was past 3 o’clock!

Knowing that poor Harriet, my dog, had been inside for a long time, I hastened my departure, albeit reluctantly. When I got home, she really needed to go out, so I didn’t pay much attention when she didn’t come back right away. I’m having repairs made to my drainage system, and I went back to talk with my handyman, Brian, about this big dig. And while we were standing there, the Harrisville police cruiser drove up.

The town just recently bought this sparkling-new SUV (as yet unmarked), and since crime around here is infrequent, we sometimes think the police simply like to drive it around to see what they can scare up. We have only two policemen in town, and this was Buddy, our chief, whose name never fails to make me smile—it’s as if it had been scripted by Norman Rockwell. But he has his eye on things, always. If we’re digging, are we doing something without a permit? The guys who were digging grew nervous at the sight of the police car jouncing into the driveway, and then they started joshing me about what crime I might have committed. I wondered, too.

Buddy got out of the cruiser. He’s about my age and has been our chief for a long time. He has a signature swagger and is heavyset—and he’s more or less outgrown his uniform over the years. The wraparound sunglasses complete a fierce picture. Even knowing Buddy as well as I do, I tend to feel a little trembly when he’s near. “Have I done something?” I asked.

“No,” he replied with a big smile, “but I’ve got Harriet in custody. Found her over on Willard Hill.” That’s not very far, just the next road. I looked into the back seat and there she was, wiggling at the sight of me. I wasn’t so surprised, but he called her an “outlaw.” I think she’s nothing short of an angel and wish I’d had my camera to record her in custody in the back of the police car. She didn’t even look contrite, her happy terrier face sticking over the bulletproof window.

I think it’s possible Buddy was looking for an excuse to come by and see what and why we were digging. But maybe not. It was a lovely summer’s day and the ladies were lunching, and I think maybe Buddy wanted to try out his new cruiser, and when he saw Harriet in the road, he just wanted to bring her home safe. That’s all.