Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Game Warden Files--Be Careful What You Say

One thing that drives me nuts is inconsistency, particularly in reference to the folks who talk the talk but don't walk the walk.Few will claim perfection,  and my wife, kids, and coworkers would all rat me out if I were to claim perfection in any one area. One thing that's I have worked hard on, though won't claim to have down pat, is my use of language. As a Christian, I believe that my talk is an important part of my walk. It's not something I berate others about; but the standard I hold for myself.

One morning a call came in about two "black panthers" up in a tree.  Of course, by the time I arrived they were gone. The homeowner, who I recognized as the operator of a local Christian ministry, came out of his house and immediately began to describe what he'd seen--in very colorful language. After he described what he'd seen he paused and thoughtfully looked at my name tag. You could see the wheels of the mind turning and he asked me why I looked familiar. When I introduced myself and added that I was a deacon in a local church (that supported his ministry), he restated all he'd told me the first time; but he did it in far less colorful language.

He'd seen two very black, cat-like animals up in a small birch tree. Their weight had bent the tree over to the point where it had almost touched the roof of his home. Now that I had some information to go on, it was easy to identify the animals as fishers, a large member of the weasel family that has very cat-like actions and is very much at home in trees. First of all, at the time the official stance was that there were no cougars, mountain lions or panthers in New York, though that stance has been softened a bit since then.  Second, the blank panther is a southern species and wouldn't be found this far north.  Last, when talking about mountain lions, the operative word is LION.  They're big. If there'd been two of them in that tree, the tree would have broken under their weight.  It was only about 3 inches in diameter, just about right to support the weight of a couple fisher.

After that explanation, he seemed satisfied that he was in no danger of a mountain lion attack and AGAIN repeated the story he'd told me first in the plain-vanilla terms he'd wished he used the first time.

...and if you're interested, by way of our due process, our church's funding of his ministry was eliminated.

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