On one of our group trips to Cape Cod a few years ago Dave Henry and I stopped by an area, close to Eastham, known as Fort Hill for a morning session of painting. We pulled into the small parking area, built to handle about fifteen vehicles, and exited the car to take in the vast multiple views. Appropriately named, Fort Hill sits on a bluff that looks out toward the sea, offering its visitors some beautiful vistas. A hiking path winds its way down a sloping hill from the parking area, passing through a grove of trees before turning to meander along the seashore and surrounding salt marshes.
On this particular morning, as we stood on the hill, criss-crossing our fingers in front of our eyes to frame potential compositions, we couldn't help but notice a lone, scruffy seagull walking around the perimeter of the lot. Thinking at first that it may be injured we both started walking toward him to get a better look, but acting in true seagull fashion, as we got closer he would pick up his pace and manage to stay a good ten paces away. If he was injured it certainly wasn't affecting his walking capabilities.
We came to the conclusion that the only way we could determine if this seagull was feeling poorly would be to offer it something to eat, knowing that if a seagull turned away from anything edible, it would be a safe bet that it wasn't feeling well. As we rummaged through the painting gear in the back of the car all we could find at the time was a half-eaten box of gingersnap cookies, certainly not normal seagull cuisine, but it was the best we could do. Now by this time it no longer seemed adequate to continue calling our new acquaintance "birdie", or "little fella"...as we had been doing for the first ten minutes that we had known him...so we followed the natural progression of impromptu pet adoption procedure and gave our new little buddy a name...christening him Bob. For the rest of the morning, Bob became our close companion, gobbling down every morsel of gingersnap that was offered.
As we had finished our painting session that morning, and realized that our box of cookies was now empty, we only hoped that downing about twenty or so gingersnaps was not going to send our friend Bob to an early grave. We left Fort Hill that morning with Bob still standing in the parking lot...watching us as we drove away.
The following year, as our group returned again to Cape Cod as it had for well over ten years, my buddy Dave and I loaded our easels into the car on one of our first days of the week and headed back out to Fort Hill. We wondered, jokingly, if our old friend Bob would still be standing in the parking lot awaiting our return. As we drove up to the crest of the hill, we pulled into one of the available spots commenting on how many more cars were in the lot than the last time we had visited the spot.
Much to our surprise, as we crawled out of the car to briefly survey the old familiar landscape before unloading our equipment, we couldn't help but notice one car in the front row with two elderly women seated inside. Munching on their sandwiches under the extremely close scrutiny of a lone seagull standing on the hood of their car, he glared at them menacingly through their windshield obviously wanting to be offered a piece of a sandwich.
Was it possible this was our old avian buddy Bob...still hanging out all by himself at the Fort Hill parking lot? We certainly wanted to think it was him, but we had no way to guarantee a positive identification. Realizing that we had just crawled out of a car wafting in the scents of a freshly opened box of gingersnaps, we found it very interesting that he had quite decisively left the hood of the car with the elderly women inside to perch on the roof of a car next to our open SUV.