The Zebra Story (Parts 1, 2 & 3)

July 27th, 2008

Part 1:

“Hey Heidi,” my Dad said as he poked his head into my room, “I’m gonna go to a llama ranch across the valley, do you want to come along?”

I was laying on my water bed, completely engrossed in a Nancy Drew mystery novel.

“Um, I don’t know…..,” I said with characteristic teenage uncertainty.

Every once in a while, my Dad liked to visit other local llama owners and swap business ideas and rearing practices.

I often went with him, but this morning I was gripped in the suspenseful plot of the book in my hands.

Smiling to himself, my Dad continued, “Well your Mom and sister are coming.  And I thought you might like to see the llamas…..  And the zebras.”

He said the last sentence with complete nonchalance and I almost missed it.

“The what?!” I asked, sitting up and staring at my father.

“The zebras,” he repeated with a chuckle.

I immediately launched off my bed, “You bet I’m coming!!  I’ve never seen anyone with pet zebras!!”

—–

When we finally arrived at the ranch, we poured out of the car and were greeted by the owner of the ranch.

My father stepped forward and they shook hands and introduced themselves–having heard of each other through other local llama owners.

As they talked, I eagerly scanned the surrounding corrals for anything that looked like a zebra.

“Do you see them?” I whispered to my Mom and sister, who were also looking for them.

“No,” they shook their heads.

Then my Dad and the owner started to walk off towards the nearest llama pen.

I elbowed my Mom and she politely called out, “Excuse me!”

They stopped and turned back towards us.

“Excuse me,” she said again, “Could you tell us where the zebras are?”

The owner smiled and pointed to a far off pasture, “They’re down there,” he said and then turned away.

“Thank you!” we called and the three of us started off in the direction he pointed.

—–

“I still don’t see any zebras,” I said with disappointment.

We’d been walking for quite sometime, but all we saw were empty pastures and a few llamas and sheep.

“They must be in the next pasture,” my Mom said as we came upon another gate.

“You’re probably right,” I said and we opened the gate and walked into the next pasture.

We looked around, but still didn’t see anything.

“Well, they’ve gotta be around here somewhere,” my Mom said hopefully, “Let’s just keep walking.”

While we walked through the large pasture, we talked about how fun it would be to see a zebra up close.

“They’re always so far away in a zoo,” my sister said, “It will be fun to pet one.”

I nodded with excitement, “And maybe we can feed them grass or something.”

Suddenly, I noticed a movement out of the corner of my eye and I curiously turned to look back at the ranch house.

I squinted in the sunlight and put a hand up to shade my eyes.

“Hey, Ma,” I said strangely, “Do you see that?”

“What, dear?” my Mom asked, turning in the direction I was looking.

“That man,” I said, “There’s a man up there and it looks like he’s yelling at us.”

We all stopped to watch.

“I think you’re right, dear,” my Mom said, “I wonder what he’s saying…..”

The man was running towards us at top speed, waving his hat and yelling frantically.

He looked very upset.

“What on earth can he be saying to us?” I mused outloud.

I cupped my ear and strained to hear.

He was very far away, but his words finally reached us and cut through the air.

“Stop!!”

“Get out!!!”

“The zebras will kill you!!!”

To be continued…..

Part 2:

“Stop!!”

“Get out!!!”

“The zebras will kill you!!!”

His words froze us on the spot.

My mind began to spin.

Zebras?….. Kill me?!?…..

These thoughts repeated themselves and swam around inside my head, trying to latch onto something coherent.

It had never crossed my waking mind that zebras could be dangerous.

Or that walking up to them in their pen was anything but a good idea.

After all, the ranch owner had blithely smiled us on our way without so much as a backward glance.

Nothing had occurred to make us think zebras were any more dangerous than the occasional skittish, spitting llama with a penchant for kicking that we knew we could easily handle.

It wasn’t long before the man, who was still racing toward us, reached the gate we had recently entered.

He hastily climbed up on the fence and urged us to come back.

“Get out, senoritas!  Get out!” he called repeatedly with great urgency as he tried to catch his breath.

Without a word, the three of us retraced our steps and slowly exited through the gate he held open.

As I followed my Mom through the gate, I looked over my shoulder at the empty pasture we were leaving with an arched eyebrow.

Is he telling the truth?…..  It sure doesn’t look like we’re in danger…..

But there was no denying the sincerity of his evident concern for us, so I had no choice but to believe him.

“We’re sorry,” my Mother finally broke our collective silence, “We just wanted to see the zebras and were told they were down here somewhere.”

Now that we were safely out of the zebra pasture, the man (whom I assumed was a ranch hand), collapsed against the fence, removed his straw hat and began to fan his bronzed, sweaty face with it.

He nodded his head, but didn’t speak until his breathing had finally steadied.

“Yes,” he said quickly as he pushed away from the fence, “You want to see zebras.  Come, senoritas, I will take you.  I will put you up high safe.”

Then he motioned for us to follow him.

I gave my Mom a confused look as we walked behind the man.

Up high safe?” I whispered, “What does that mean?”

My Mom shrugged and quietly answered, “I don’t know.  I guess we’ll find out soon.”

Eventually, we came upon a backhoe and the man halted.

Pulling a key out of his pocket, he began climbing into the driver’s seat.

As he climbed, he pointed to the shovel at the front of the backhoe.

“Sit, sit!” he instructed us.

The three of us stared at the huge shovel in front of us.

“Sit in there?!” I exclaimed as I pointed at the muddy shovel that laid on the ground.

“Yes!” the man declared, now seated in the driver’s seat and starting the engine, “I will put you up high safe.  Then you will see zebras.”

I looked at my Mom with a gaping mouth.

She had a little grin on her face and a fun sense of adventure in her eyes.

Briefly meeting my eye, she shrugged and said, “Here goes!”

Then she bent down and sat in the shovel.

My sister said, “I can’t believe I’m doing this,” and followed my Mother’s example.

Hesitating, I looked from the man I didn’t know sitting up in the backhoe, to the muddy shovel in front of me, to the apparently empty pasture we’d just left.

This is just too weird, I thought as I finally settled into the shovel.

We held on tight as he slowly raised the shovel up off the ground, causing our feet to dangle over the sharp edge.

Then he kicked it in gear and we bumped along over the dirt and sagebrush back to the forbidden pasture.

It was too noisy to talk much, so my Mom, my sister and I just sat in our backhoe shovel and kept our eyes peeled for anything that resembled a zebra among the sagebrush and trees.

Then suddenly we all stiffened.

There they were.

Way off in the approaching distance, we saw them…..

To be continued…..

Part 3:

From our perch up in the backhoe shovel, the zebras looked very small.

But they were definitely there.

My heart rate accelerated and a smile came to my lips.

There they are! I thought, Real live zebras!

I turned to my sister and Mom.

They looked just as excited as I felt.

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As we rumbled closer, the zebras perked up and looked at us.

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And quite understandably, they appeared to be as interested in us as we were in them.

(Something about three gals sitting in a backhoe shovel with their feet sticking out).

(Probably not something they saw every day).

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Then the man driving the backhoe slowed to a stop and let us just sit and watch them for a while.

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They were truly beautiful.

And as I clutched onto the sharp edge of the shovel, I shook my head in disbelief.

And to think, I smiled to myself, I almost missed all this because I wanted to stay home and read a Nancy Drew novel!

(The End!)

So that, my dear blog readers, is how I almost got killed by a herd of zebras. :)

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Pictures by: Teenage Heidi

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1 Comment

Vicki (Mom) | 8/4/2008 9:03 pm

You did a wonderful job telling the story of our encounter with the zebras. It’s amazing how you made the experience into such an interesting story.

 

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