“Hurry! Pileated woodpecker!! Come here! Quick!!”

Following the direction of my husband’s voice, I leaped up the stairs, finding him peering out the “guest room” window. Just as I panted my way to his side, he gasped, “Oh, no! He flew away! This direction! Come on!”

He spun out of the room, clattering down the hall, his footsteps disappearing towards the east. Suspiciously, I looked out the window seeing nothing but the usual white and red oak trees dancing in the breeze, leaves backlit by the sun. “Come on! Hurry!”, my husband yelled from across the house.

Feeling like a quarterback, having to dodge and dart around both dogs who were more concerned about getting my attention than about an illusive woodpecker, I reached my husband’s face-plastered-into-window side just in time to hear, “Oh, no! You missed him, again! He flew this direction”, he said, spinning around, pointing toward the south as he disappeared from the room.

“Third time’s a charm”, I muttered to myself, disentangling my legs from the dogs who were determined to stick close by, not at all sure about this new game.

“Hurry! You’ve got to hurry! He’s here! Our bedroom!”, his voice, a woodpecker beacon, echoed to me from down the hall towards the north.

I paused, thinking about the saying, “you’ve got to get up pretty early in the morning to fool some people…”. Given the fact I was usually awake several hours before he was, I thought it was safe to say I was on to his little joke. Yes, sir, I could see how this worked: Call out to the Wife. Run to a Room. Lure Her In. Oh, No! Birdie Gone Bye-Bye. Watch Husband’s Backside Disappear. Give Chase.

What’s that other saying – “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me”. Expanding that thought, “Fool me three times….”, well, that’s when a nice, long, quiet, hot bath is in order. My husband’s pleas, throughout the evening of, “there really was a woodpecker out there…there really was!”, fell on deaf ears.

Tonight, many years and recitations of that story later, with everyone seated around the dinner table, my daughter suddenly screeched, “A woodpecker! In the tree! No! Two of them! Look! Two huge, gigantic woodpeckers”.

Her eyes were staring several feet above my head, out the patio door window behind me. Oh, she was good. The surprise seemed so real in her eyes, she almost had me convinced.

“Sure thing, honey”, I calmly replied, serving spoon in hand, “just pass your plate on over”. The “Daddy Made Mommy Chase Him All Around The House” story is one of her favorites, having taken place several years before her birth. I wasn’t taking any chances.

“NO, MOM! I’m SERIOUS! This isn’t a joke! Turn around and LOOK!!!”

My husband piped in, “It’s a pileated woodpecker! She’s right! And there are two! TWO pileated woodpeckers!!!”

“Okie dokie, who wants potatoes”, I said, reaching for another dish. I mean for heaven’s sake. I don’t mind reciting the story for their entertainment, but to continue the joke, FAR past its date of expiration is…..

“TURN AROUND NOW”, they pleaded in unison. Shocked by their passion I turned. One glance, and with a shaking voice I pleaded with my husband, “Please, tiptoe over to the counter and hand my camera to me.”

I’m not even going to try to apologize for the really awful lighting of the photograph, grainy texture, bad angle, having had to shoot it into the sun, AND through the glass of the patio doors, nor will I point out that I had to “lighten” it and use a “fill” in PhotoShop in order to highlight the one woodpecker’s body which blended in against the tree bark.

I’m just really content with the way it is, because experience has shown, this whole There’s A Pileated Woodpecker claim could have easily gone south. For that matter, north, or east, or back to the north….

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