This is definitely one of the most memorable reporting experiences I’ve had. A lot of things happened between the time I pulled into the dirt path and walking into their home. The story below is how I remember it:
I drove out to interview a parent-volunteer at South Jackson Elementary School with my make-shift garbage bag window flapping in the wind. My car was broken into the week before, and the replacement had not come in yet. I’ve been trying to get to interview her for weeks, and finally, I was driving out to see her and her kids.
What better time to do it than on spring break?
What’s that you say?
Any other time than that?
You are correct.
But my car was still injured, and I didn’t see myself driving for six hours with the loud, drumming noise of plastic flapping and broken glass fragments flying around and possibly hitting me in the eye. That would not make for safe driving.
I remember she had told me to go over train tracks and it’s the next right after that. Sure enough, there it was.
I pulled up in front of a gate decorated with rainbow-colored spoons (which I liked) and parked right next to a blue car. I was glad to finally get there because the flapping was getting way too loud, and I needed to re-affix my plastic window to reduce the noise.
My person was in the car next to me, talking on the phone. Outside, a couple of children were trying to get her attention through the passenger window. I checked my equipment in the meantime, pretending to be doing something constructive while waiting for her to finish the call.
Three interesting things happened between getting out of my car and walking inside her be-rainbowed gate. I’m dividing the stories into little chunks, so that you (and I) can make sense of what happened.
The oldest son
We both got out at the same time. She shook my hand and apologized for taking a while.
“Sorry, that was my son. He said there’s a bomb threat at their school,” she said.
I was surprised.
“Is everyone okay?” I said.
“Yeah,” she said calmly. “They’re just all in the back of the school. He said they might be a little late.”
“I was in there calling teachers that I know just to ask what’s happening,” she added.
“Well, that’s good,” I thought to myself. I probably would never have been that calm if my child had called me about a bomb threat at their school.
The younger son and his friend
The two children, a boy and a girl, who were trying to get her attention while she was being informed of a bomb threat were her son and his friend.
“Mommy, we found a bird, and it’s wing is hurt,” the boy said.
She said she was going to take a look at it inside. She and the friend’s mom would later argue over who got to keep the bird.
“I don’t want to keep it,” the girl’s mom said.
“I don’t either.”
“What do you even feed it?” the girl’s mom asked.
I don’t remember what you’re supposed to feed baby birds. Maybe birdseed? It was something. Anyway, I don’t know what became of the bird, but Ms. Buley and her friend seemed capable of taking care of it.
Back to the outside…
Keep in mind that I hadn’t actually stepped foot inside their property yet.
As we walked inside the gate, I noticed a humongous turtle slowly making it’s way towards us.
This thing was huge.
“Oh look! A turtle!” I said.
“Oh that’s Dave!” Ms. Buley said. “Come on in Dave.”
She motioned him inside the gate.
That was not the answer I was expecting.
The turtle slowly made its way inside. I stopped walking out of confusion.
She later told me that Dave was a turtle from another state. He was getting bigger, and his owners were looking for someone who can take him in. He was already 19 years old (I think), and the owners could not keep in any longer. Ms. Buley thinks that she’s going to pass him on to her children.
The rest of the interview went smoothly, considering all that happened before I went in. Their greenhouse was full of seedlings and brimmed with new life. The leaves were just so verdant and bright. It was wonderful.
Her son eventually came home, safe and sound. A child apparently made a (joke) bomb threat and was in huge trouble. His/her parents might have to pay for all the emergency responders that were deployed to the middle school AND high school.
Dave was chilling inside his little sandbox thing. He was pretty cool like Crush from Finding Nemo. Except that he’s dry.
And in case you were wondering, I don’t know what happened to the bird.