Please pray for my friend Niki (photo). She was just kicked in the head by a horse, and has undergone a stroke and two brain operations. Hundreds of prayers have gone out for her, and she is – truly miraculously – getting better.
Here’s an excerpt from my book “Touch of the Man” the publishing date of which has now been pushed back to early next year for marketing purposes. This is from the chapter called “Hawk Trapping” and reminisces on some of Niki’s and my adventures together…
I got ready with the cage. “Tell me when!” My hand was on the door handle.
“Not yet…” Niki drove slowly past the hawk. “If we put it down now she’ll see us and know we’re up to something.”
We drove just a little ways further and Niki slowed more. “Ok get ready.”
Just as the car stopped I opened the door and swiftly set the cage down on the shoulder. Back inside I closed the car door very softly and we nonchalantly drove on down the road. Then we turned around and came back just far enough so we could watch and see what happened.
Through our binoculars we could see the hawk. The hawk could detect the movement of the bird but it couldn’t see the cage. It began to look down, shuffling its feet on its lofty perch. “She’s thinking about it!” whispered Niki excitedly
“Now it’s my turn, gimme!” my fingers were poised, barely able to wait. I watched through the binoculars. “I think she’s going for it…no, not yet…”
“Lemme see again!” said Niki. With riveted anticipation we watched our hawk as it eyed our pigeon. At last the hawk became convinced that this was really a live animal. For a moment the great dark body leaned forward on its perch, perceiving that breakfast awaited below.
“There she goes!” shouted Niki. In one exhilarating moment the great wings spread and the hawk swooped down, intending to grab that pigeon with its talons. But in the next instant, its instead met the wire rungs of the cage.
For a very tense moment it stood there atop the cage, looking quite confused.
“Ohh, I hope the nooses catch!” Niki was glued to the binocs and almost bouncing in her seat.
“C’mon,” I yelled. “Get caught!”
The hawk crouched and looked up. “She’s gonna fly,” said Niki. “Let’s see…”
The hawk propelled itself upward, but went nowhere. The nooses had done their job and had caught around its toes! Its attempts to fly away were futile.
“Awesome!” shouted the jubilant hunters. Niki threw the binocs in the back seat, started the car and roared up beside the hawk. We both jumped out. I grabbed the blanket and threw it to her. She went up to the struggling bird and laid the blanket over it.
As soon as the world went dark, the bird stopped struggling. While I held the hawk wrapped in the blanket Niki released its talons from the nooses. We carried it home where Niki fitted its legs with leather thongs called jesses.
From then on began the long and difficult process of training the hawk to come to a whistle. Niki attached a long, light rope to the jesses and the bird was allowed to fly up into a tree. Then she blew a whistle and one or the other of us held up our hand protected with a big leather glove that went up beyond our elbow. In the glove we held a morsel of fresh meat. Sometimes we waited a long time for the hawk to come down from the tree, but eventually its hunger overcame its fear and it flew down and perched on our arm and ate.
All who dared be Niki’s friends learned to carry plastic bags with them wherever they went. Whenever we saw a squirrel which had met its end as road kill, our assignment was to stop, get out of the car, scrape the mass off the pavement and “bring home the bacon” for the hawk!