It had been a long day in the truck. We wound our way over White Pass and happily found a parking spot on a wide spot along the highway. Inside the city limits of Packwood, Washington, Ross and I settled down in the bunk for a cozy night’s rest.
Somewhere in the wee morning hours, I awoke with a jerk. “WHAT was that?!” I mouthed to Ross who was as wide awake as I. Thoughts tumbled over each other in my mind as I ran over all the possible options of what was happening to us. A thud, scuffling of feet and the truck shook slightly. “Was somebody trying to rob us, slash our tires, or was I going to hear gunshots next?” It’s amazing how much can flash through your mind in a split second!
We peered very cautiously around the front curtain but saw nothing in the dim moonlight. So Ross quietly peeked out the back window, holding up the corner of the curtain just enough to see. I hung on to Ross, my heart thumping. I didn’t know what was going to happen, but I knew it couldn’t be good. He dropped the curtain like a scorching hot baked potato and whisper-yelled, “There’s a man by the truck. He’s bent over.”
This nightmare had just became real. You never know how quietly you can communicate with your husband until there’s a need to. If the truck had been running, we would have quietly slipped it into gear and squealed outa there. But that wasn’t a option with a cold engine. Eventually we decided to look out again.
What a relief! My heart returned to its normal position in my chest and the oxygen levels in the truck sleeper slowly came back up. This time the figure had changed position and now it was evident that the robber was not a man at all but an elk. In fact there was nearly 35 of them! And believe me, they were robbing us all right. Great chunks of hay were missing out of the bales. The elk were all gathered around our scrumptious load of alfalfa like company sitting down to Sunday dinner.
When Ross had looked out the first time, there had been one right by the frame rail with its head down. All Ross could see was this flat back. In our mutual terror, assumptions were easily procured for when you are thinking down spooky lines, spooky things are seen.
After much hollering at the four-legged thieves, they slowly meandered away from their delicious midnight snack and headed off down the sidewalk and away through Packwood.
We laughed ourselves to sleep.