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The Seafood Buffet


by H. S. Friesen

“Don’t be overheard complaining… not even to  yourself” 

Marcus Aurelius

One fine June day in 2020, I was at my favourite slough just  North of Blackfalds, Alberta. I had been perusing my  surroundings to see what type of activity was afoot. I spied some  American Coots, farther out on the water. One was in the  shallows amongst the reeds and grasses, and the other was on  the open water. The distance was considerable but the two birds  were a little removed from each other, so their voices were raised  in conversation. The acoustics were good, and I was able to pick  up on their conversation.

Suddenly, there was a commotion as one of them excitedly  pulled one foot out of the water. “George, George,” the female Coot exclaimed excitedly,  “Something just touched my foot. I hate that, you know I hate  that. Why did you bring me to this miserable swamp, just to have  something touch my foot? I should never have believed you that  this was a five star establishment. Back home in Possum Bluff,  Florida, I would go down to the Saint John’s River and never,  ever, did something touch my feet.”

If you have ever seen the size of the feet on an American coot, you would find that statement as incredible as I did. How could you help but bump into something that size?

George looked over his shoulder from where he was swimming,  rolled his eyes, sighed and exclaimed! “Good grief, Stephanie,  Just bend down and eat it. It’s part of the seafood plate that I  ordered for you. You like seafood.”

Stephanie quickly reached down, and snapped up the  morsel. “Mmmmm, tadpoles, my favourite. My apologies George,  I don’t know what got into me. Long trips to Canada tend to  make me a little snarky. I apologize. I just don’t understand why  we always have to fly at night, you know I hate night flying.”

“Just enjoy,” said George, as he swam off, rolling his eyes  again. “I’ll just go farther over on the slough, out of earshot,” he  muttered under his breath.

And now, you know the rest of the story.

Thank you to Howard Friesen for donating this story for AIWC to post.

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