The wonderful thing about courting is that you are basically reliving your childhood by going out doing super fun things. I estimate that most men can keep up this round of activities for about three months before they revert to type, either in front of televised sports or the computer.
One day when Mickey and I were in about month three, we went to the zoo on a weekday, took in the dolphin show and were wandering around, when we spotted an empty stroller in front of the condor cage. We looked around, but there was no one in sight. We then bought ice cream cones and sat on a nearby bench, waiting, but no one returned to claim the stroller. After a while, Mickey turned to me and said, ‘I think you should start screaming, the condor took my baby!’
Now birdwatching readers, you’ll know that in the Balkans, we have no condors but we do have golden eagles which are sizable and have been known to take newborn lambs. So as a little girl, when I was sent to the countryside to visit relatives, I would live in fear that one of these monsters would swoop down from the skies and make off with a cute baby animal or attack me and peck out my eyes.
One winter when I was about four years old, my mother came down with a severe flu. There was a heavy snowfall on the ground, and I was feeling housebound, so I begged my father to take me with him when he went to the pharmacy to pick up her medicine. So like a typical Balkan parent, whose children have to be bundled up against the elements even if it’s summer, he put so many layers of clothing on me that when my little white ‘fur’ coat went on, I couldn’t even lower my arms. Of course, he wrapped a scarf around my mouth, so the cold wouldn’t get in. Needless to say, I was already sweating by the time we got downstairs, and he realized that as short and encumbered as I was, I would be unable to walk very fast, so he got out my sled and decided to pull me along to the store.
Now readers, my father was a horse crazy man and would tell anyone who would listen that my sister and I looked like roan fillies with white stars on our foreheads when we were born, which indicates to me that he perceived himself as the great stallion, Man o’War. Anyway, we picked up the medicine and as he was running home across a field, playing at being a horse, neighing and snorting, I fell off the sled. Man o’ War didn’t notice a thing, and I was left lying there,watching him fade into the distance, unable to cry out because the scarf was tied tightly around my mouth and unable to get up because I was so overdressed. I was reconciled to certain death ,waiting for an eagle to swoop me up since I looked like a baby lamb in my white coat, when my father noticed I was missing and came back to save me.