It was only a couple of years ago that my phone was anything but useless out at camp. The Verizon map still says that we should not get a signal, and down in the hollers, I would agree. However, up on top of the ridges, we get a fair number of bars. In fact, I can now take the laptop out with me if I want to. The air card works just fine. I doubt I will. This is a cautionary tale.
Normally, I do not leave the cell phone on, but I take it with me. I am fifty. I am healthy as a horse, but I have also had a few friends wake up stone dead. I also watched the local EMS team resuscitate an elderly woman and get her heart beating after she died right in the middle of the dance floor at the bar over on the next ridge. They came fairly quickly, considering the roads; they seem to know what they're doing. I would not mind letting them know I was in trouble.
So last year, I had been having lousy hunting in the mornings, so I switched to afternoons. Wouldn't you know, but . . .
A) I fell asleep. This is not uncommon for me when I turkey hunt. I do not consider this a bad thing. Turkeys make enough noise that they will readily wake me from a light nap when they are ready to be shot. I have also noticed that they are attracted to snoring. As my #2 son-- oh, never mind he was the one asleep.
B) I left my cell phone on. The Cranston, RI office was getting a new data line installed that afternoon, and I needed to be on call. Yes, I was napping. They called. No, there were no turkeys involved.
c) Crucial missed detail: I left the cell phone on after taking the call. I heard turkeys while I was taking the call, so I left the bulk of my stuff behind and ventured out onto the point of this wooded knife-edge ridge we call "Virginia."
About 20 minutes later, having stalked to the end of the ridge, I was sitting at the base of a large three-forked oak. I had worked a group of hens up from the bottoms by a combination of soft calls and scratchings. I had three hens just feet away from me. There was a love lorn gobbler at the base of the hill trying to find his way up. Take a guess as to what happened next.
It really was not so bad that the phone rang at that point. The hens were passing by me. I was nearly ready to chase them off and then finish calling in the gobbler. I figured the phone call was going to work as well, so I decided to take it.
"It's your mother."
"You're not at the farmhouse. I let it ring."
"I'm out hunting."
"Oh, I'm sorry I bothered you. You probably don't want to talk."
"That's okay. You actually called at just the right time. I was just getting ready to scare these hens I have pecking at my feet. . ."
The hens did not scare so easily. For some reason, even with the phone, I did not register as a threat. There were a few plaintive clucks out of them and then they moved on the way I had come. Meanwhile I had a short pleasant chat with my Mom said goodbye and put the phone away. It did not bother the gobbler. He was making his meandering way up the slope. It was a big oak. I had to pick a side to sit on, and so I picked the side that had best covered the hens.
Less than a minute later the phone rang again. This time I had thought I had turned it off. It must have been the gloved hand.
"I forgot why I called you. . . " she said. She then started telling me a lengthy story about how my ex-wife, Satan, had called her. It was a fairly important call. I am not going to blame any one of the three phone calls for what happened next. I heard a crackle coming from my off side. Rather than try and get my gun around, I just swiveled my head and leaned and peaked. Just then the gobbler hopped up on a large log less than 10 yards away. I had less than a half a chance to swing my barrel around before he hopped down, and did an end-around headed for the hens.
"Are you there?" she asked. I explained that I had been a good 4 hours getting to this point and that I really did not blame her for the intrusion, and I had appreciated both calls, but that the gobbler had come and gone.
"I'll let you get back to hunting." she said.
"That's okay. " I said. I then had to face the ignominy of actually begging my mother to finish the call, so I could get the end of the story. The problem at hand was the sort of post-decree visitation issue you divorced dads would recognize-- nothing too serious, but there were lots of details. I had to act immediately, or my #2 son might miss hunting that weekend. I had a plan thought out by the time I got back up to the house, and really appreciated the heads-up.
However, I was left that evening with the sour pill of having had my life intrude on my turkey hunting. I suppose the transgression is no worse than a Catholic's Blackberry ringing in the confessional. Still it is an unwanted intrusion of the profane into the world of the sublime.
Now, I make sure I turn off my phone.