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The Armadillo chase/dance


markdohle

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The Armadillo chase/dance
 
One of the pleasures that I enjoyed while growing up in the Panama, Canal Zone, was to simply walk home after it was dark from the Gulick Teen club, or after going to a movie. I have always enjoyed the nighttime and the dark and the quiet that accompanies it. One night after I watched a movie, I started walking home to Gulick Heights. Not sure how long of a walk it was, perhaps a mile and a half, or less. There were not many at the movies, it was during the week, so there were not many cars going in either direction. I enjoyed the full moon, the stars, and the gentle wind, and yes the heat lighting that would light up the sky from time to time. There was no one around. I guess it was around ten in the evening.
 
As I was passing the parade field on the base, I saw an Armadillo moving around on the field eating whatever they eat. I find them to be interesting critters and I learned that it is a great sport to chase one of them. In a group is better than just one person but as I watched it I decided to give it a chase.
 
So ‘bam’ off I went running straight towards it, it took off, I almost caught up with it, when suddenly it went left and I lurched by. I skidded to a halt and went after it again, and yep just as I was about to gain on it, it went right and then back and left and right and I was just getting dizzier and dizzier and out of breath. By then I was laughing and whooping trying to get it. Suddenly it turned around and went under my feet and I tripped and feel laughing my head off.
 
As I lay there laughing I kind of thought I must be crazy or something. Then a flashlight shone on me and someone asked if I was OK. It was one of the Military Police checking me out. I think he thought I was drunk and just staggering around on the field. So still laughing I got up and tried to explain to him about ‘Armadillo chasing” and he did not get it. I was still a little dizzy so he might have thought I was drunk out of my mind. So he let me calm down and walked me back to the road and asked if I wanted a ride home, but I thanked him and said no. “I liked to walk at night, in the dark, all by myself….thank you”. He shook his head and drove off….though I think he was a little worried about me.
 
After he left I slowly walked home, went into the house, and saw mom reading as she always did late into the night. She looked up and asked me how the teen club was and I said it was OK but chasing the Armadillo was more fun. She just looked at me the way mothers do and kind of wondered, about my state mind. I was used to that.
 
After that for a few months, I would spot the MP looking at me as he drove by in his patrol car. One day I spotted him pointing at me and the other MP laughing. They just did not understand the giddy fun of chasing Armadillo's. I should have invited him and his MP friend to join me in the chase. With others, it is like a drunken polka, people running into each other trying to catch the Armadillo and way more fun.
 
Of course, now that I am a mature adult, I would never do such a thing…..or would I, if I had the chance? Well, I could try, but I think the Armadillo would not have much to worry about.-BrMD

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