‘As I was walking to St. Ives…’

Earlier this week, as I was walking to St. Ives… or to First United Methodist Church in Warren… I met a man with a story idea, no wives nor anyone else with him, and presumably far less than seven wives who were not present.

Then, I finished my trip to St. Ives.

So, the question about how many people were going to St. Ives might still be tricky, but the math to do it the wrong way is MUCH easier and the answers match. One person was going to St. Ives. The man I ran into was not. His hypothetical wives were not. Their hypothetical children were not. One person. Me.

I found the right contact at the church, had a nice chat, and finished up with my information gathering.

One three-block walk, two stories. Not bad.

On my way out of the church (As I was walking out of St. Ives… ?), someone said there was a bat on the steps.

I volunteered to be bat removal, provided someone could find me appropriate equipment.

Having done this particular task before, I requested a CD/DVD spindle. One was in my hand a minute later. I put it over the bat, slid a notebook under the bat, and picked it up carefully, making sure I did not crush any bat parts, even when it spread its wings and told me my efforts were not appreciated.

Bats can make audible squeaky noises. I heard them. This bat also looked at me. It neither looked, nor sounded, happy. I could be mistaken. I have limited training and experience with bat emotion. Maybe it was thanking me.

The last time I found a bat on the floor of a non-residential building in the daytime, I called people at a couple of places that have expertise in that kind of encounter. I was told the bat could be released if there was no chance it had bitten a sleeping person and it was not acting strangely. I hadn’t seen anyone sleeping that soundly at work that day — it was a weekend, so I hadn’t seen anyone at work that day — and the bat was doing exactly what I would expect a healthy bat to do in the daytime — which is not a whole lot. So, I took it outside and released it.

I skipped the expertise-seeking part of the process on Monday and went directly to walking it outside looking for a likely spot.

I picked a leafy tree that was in the shade of the church, figuring this night creature would want to be somewhere as dark and cool as possible until it flew away later.

At the tree, I kept the plastic between me and the business end of the bat, slid the critter off onto a leafy branch and started to move away.

I may have moved too quickly — my interest in seeing the bat safely not inside was tempered by my interest in not spending too much time around the bat. It fell off of the branch and fluttered the four feet to the ground. I hope it lived, but I didn’t hang around any longer.

On my way back from St. Ives, I met a man with a different story idea. Actually, it was the same man I had met on the way to St. Ives.

So, over the course of an hour, I walked six blocks, found one story I was expecting, two I was not, got those three stories from exactly two people, and removed a wild creature from a basement.

I rank that as a successful afternoon.

Oh, and St. Ives is a pretty seaside town way out at the southwestern part of England. I looked it up and have decided not to walk there.