Home » Silence of the Lamby, Effing Running Nights, Princesses & Birds: Magical Moments in Patterson Park

Silence of the Lamby, Effing Running Nights, Princesses & Birds: Magical Moments in Patterson Park

So Chris had a thing with his knee.

And hadn’t been running in months.

It was glorious.  Glorious!

But one morning, after months of watching him do thrice daily stretches he learned from the women in his office who have Fibromyalgia, (because, yes, apparently we ARE that old and desperate), I told him I thought maybe he should just try running.

“Don’t go crazy, but just try.  You might not feel any worse.  You know?”  I said.


Longtime visitors here know I HATE RUNNING NIGHTS!  HATE!  HATE!!

I hate the fits Mac throws when Chris leaves to run.  I hate the daily questioning from Mac about whether it’s a “running night.”  I hate the extensive stretching and showering that follow.  I hate the SLEEPS LIKE A DAMNED STONE rest which ensues.


But I still stupidly suggested Chris try running again because I know how much he enjoys it and how much better it makes him feel.  (Please email me directly to let me know where I can accept my wife of the year award.)

So anyway, on running nights, the plan basically involves Chris and I (with kids) departing for Patterson Park at the same time.  Chris starts running.  Mac starts wailing and about half an hour later I’m to text him our location so he can meet us.

Tonight, I marched the kids around the boat lake.

I’ve become such a horrible birder I don’t even bring along binoculars because they add weight to the nearly 70lb load I’m already pushing and because I don’t have a damned second to use them anyway.

This evening felt like fall:  cool temperatures, nice breeze, gray but partly sunny sky.  The lake was particularly quiet.

To distract Mac, I walked very slowly asking him what he could hear, see, smell.

We observed the wind rustling through the cattails and trees. . .We paused for a red-winged blackbird. . .insects singing. . .

And then, a quiet raspy rattling wheeze?  Something?

Not an insect.

The ungroomed hair on my body lifted.

What is that?

My head whipped immediately to the right.

Why can’t I bird by ear like Chris?!  Why?

And almost immediately I saw it:  HUMMINGBIRD!!

It flew directly over our heads, flushed from the cattails.  I couldn’t make out more than a silhouette against the gray sky but I was confident of the id.

Sure, it was likely just a ruby-throated, but still pretty magical for a park in the  middle of a city.  And who doesn’t love seeing a hummingbird anywhere, anytime?

When we met Chris, we told him about the hummingbird and he was excited.  Especially excited because we heard it calling first.  (The man is REALLY jazzed about bird calls and quite proficient).

We continued our loop through the park.  And as we circled back to the lake Chris asked us to show him where we spotted the hummingbird.

And that’s when I realized LAMBY WAS MIA!

Lamby is Teddy’s favorite toy.

Somewhere between the Pagoda and the Boat Lake it was somehow ejected from the stroller.

“Chris!  I don’t have Lamby!” I shouted.

“Do you want me to go back?” he asked.

I weighed my options.  It was getting late.  Mac was exhausted.

“No.” I sighed.  “We should just go.”

But I knew how much Teddy adored Lamby and the entire time I was showing Chris the spot where we saw the hummingbird, I couldn’t stop thinking about Lamby.

We rounded the lake.

“Chris, I’m going to muck and mire to look for Lamby.”  (Muck and Mire is our name for the part of the park that’s really wet and muddy and Mac’s fav spot to play.)

“Really?  Leave it.  Teddy doesn’t care that much about it.”  Chris said.  “Lamby is no Sir Oinkerston.”

But what if he was?  

I couldn’t chance it.

My mind flashed to all those times I saw Teddy stroking Lamby’s ears.

“I’m going,” I shouted beginning to run with the stroller away from Chris and Mac.

When we got to Muck and Mire, my heart sank.

No Lamby.

I craned my neck to the left around the vegetation.

Maybe Lamby wasn’t too far up the hill?

I scanned the hill.

And there at Mac’s favorite “dirt and dust spot” (formerly known as the thrush spot), I saw her.

Her blonde hair brilliantly reflected the partial sun. . .

She was dressed in a coral colored princess gown. . .

And she was spinning circles holding something. . .

I squinted.

Is she holding Lamby?

I squinted again.

Yes.  She’s holding Lamby!

Then I saw her Father motion to start heading the opposite direction.  I was still out of ear shot.

No. No!!!!!


Teddy and I sprinted as fast as our Joovy double stroller could manage through the uneven terrain.

“Hey!  Is that your toy?” I heard the Father ask another Father and his children.


Heart nearly bursting, I ran faster.


And just as I was about to pee my pants, I managed to gasp, “Hey, beautiful princess that’s our toy.”

She planted one hand firmly on her hip, “Well, you just left it in the dirt.”

I crossed my legs, praying I wouldn’t pee.

“See, that was an accident. . .a mistake.  This guy?  Teddy’s his name.  He didn’t realize what might happen when he dropped it out of the stroller.  Does that make sense?  He’s still a baby.  It’s his most favorite toy.”

I pleaded with Princess with my eyes.

Fortunately, her Father approached, “Hey, know how you feel about turquiose turtle?”

She immediately handed Lamby to Teddy.

“Well, you just left it in the dirt.  And then I found it and. . .I was playing with it.  And you just left it. . .”

“Thank you so much for rescuing Lamby,” I smiled cutting her off.  “It’s his favorite toy and I need to use the potty.”

“Byeeeeeeeee!!!!” she exclaimed doing her best princess wave.

“Thank you so much!” I shouted running back down the hill.

Thank you so very much Patterson Park. . .without you I’d almost never nearly pee my pants. . .err see hummingbirds and meet Lamby-saving-hero-princesses.

Magical indeed.

Lamby.  Drying out.

Lamby. Drying out.