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Anyone who knows Bob Fisher must be shocked to hear of this misfortune. 
Undoubtedly the first time something like this has happened to him!

Chris Hobbs
Shawnee, KS
[log in to unmask]

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Robert Fisher" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Saturday, August 04, 2007 5:28 PM
Subject: Good Samaritan experience at Schell Osage CA


> Gary Johnson and I were the beneficiaries of aid from a Good Samaritan on 
> Wednesday afternoon. In retrospect, the situation from which he rescued us 
> could have had very serious -- possibly fatal -- consequences for me.
>
> We were at the extreme west end of the Schell Osage CA. There is a parking 
> lot there, which adjoins a field on the other side of which I have 
> sometimes heard Sedge Wrens at this time of year. The field was bare of 
> vegetation Wednesday.  Tire tracks led along the west side of it on what 
> appeared to be firm ground. There was no sign prohibiting access. We drove 
> in along the tire tracks without depressing the ground significantly. We 
> assumed that the rest of the field was also firm ground. Instead of 
> backing out, we turned around by driving forward into the field, then 
> turning. The maneuver worked fine for a while. We got completely turned 
> around and began to head out. Then we got stuck.
>
> Although we had 4-wheel drive, it is useless when all four wheels are 
> spinning. We soon began to dig ourselves in. We definitely were hopelessly 
> stuck.
>
> Gary called AARP on his cell phone. AARP evidently has a motorist service. 
> Whoever answered the phone said she could do nothing without the names of 
> intersecting streets or a GPS coordinate. All I knew was that we had come 
> in from the west on County RA (which stands for "Refuge Access."). I knew 
> that Schell Osage CA is partly in Vernon County and partly in St. Clair 
> County. I thought we were probably in Vernon County, but I wasn't sure. We 
> had no idea how to give the AARP lady the kind of directions upon which 
> she was insisting.
>
> At this point, Gary asked me, "How far are we from the headquarters?"
>
> "About a mile," I replied. We later learned it was about three miles. My 
> cardiologist has advised that I not walk significant distances outside 
> unless the temperature is above forty degrees and below eighty degrees. It 
> was 2:00 p.m. and in the nineties. The road was unshaded. Nevertheless, I 
> grabbed a plastic bottle with about 3 ounces of  water in it, and we 
> started out.
>
> Gary went ahead, and I followed at my usual slow pace. After he had gone 
> about a quarter of a mile, I noticed a red pickup truck  coming toward us. 
> Gary waved. The truck stopped and appeared to be turning around to leave. 
> Gary kept waving, as did I from the greater distance. Finally, the truck 
> came toward us.
>
> The driver, dressed in dark blue overalls,  was Roy Schlud, a retired 
> Claycomo auto worker, who lives in Schell City and runs 25 head of cattle 
> on some acreage that he owns. He drove us to the headquarters.
>
> We arrived at the headquarters just as a young MDC employee was also 
> arriving on a tractor. I said, "Just what we need to pull us out!"
>
> "We're no allowed to pull anyone out," the young man replied. " It's a 
> safety issue. You're on your own." (For those who are familiar with the 
> parable of the Good Samaritan, the AARP representative and MDC employee 
> played the roles of the Priest and the Levite in this story. As to the 
> safety issue, MDC has evidently determined that it is safer to let dumb 
> birders like me collapse in the hot sun than it is to pull their vehicles 
> out of the mud).
>
> We considered throwing ourselves on the mercy of the refuge manager, but 
> Roy said it would be futile. "He'll just give you a ticket," Roy advised. 
> "You'd best come home with me, and we'll find someone to pull you out."
>
> Roy then drove us to his home in Schell City, and his wife gave each of us 
> tall glasses of ice water. I called AAA, and they put us in touch with 
> wrecker in Nevada. He said he had someone else to pull out first, but he'd 
> be along in about an hour.
>
> Roy continued to offer us his hospitality.  He showed us his Blue and Gold 
> Macaw and his five dogs.  He told us about his 22 cows and three bulls and 
> that he was going to sell two of the bulls because the calves they sired 
> were so large he needed to pay the vet to deliver them. He described the 
> two ponds on his acreage, which he has stocked with fish. We also learned 
> why he was at Schell Osage CA that afternoon. Some years ago, some hogs 
> had escaped near the refuge and become feral. Roy was looking for signs of 
> them. Apparently, it is lawful to shoot the hogs at any time of year, and 
> folks like Roy have been keeping the wild population down by hunting them. 
> Eventually, it got to be about 3:30 p.m.; and I had not eaten more than a 
> few nuts and raisins since breakfast. Roy drove us to a place in Schell 
> City, where I got a sandwich. Then he took us back to his home again.
>
> Finally, the tow truck arrived at downtown Schell City (if it can be 
> called that) and phoned. Roy drove us to meet him. He then drove us back 
> to Schell-Osage CA and led the tow truck to the parking lot where are car 
> was mired. The tow truck driver wisely refused to leave the parking area 
> with his tow truck. Therefore, he attempted to run a cable from his truck 
> to our car. The cable would not reach. Pretty soon, there was Roy, getting 
> chains out of his truck. The tow truck also had chains, which were 
> attached to the cable, then to the car. Finally, the tow truck pulled us 
> out. There was no way we would have been extracted without a tow truck!
>
> Thinking back on the experience, had Roy not come along and offered to 
> help it could have been very serious for me. I not only have a heart 
> condition but my mobility is considerably hampered by Post Polio Syndrome. 
> I can no longer walk the whole bicycle loop at Weston Bend. Indeed, when I 
> walked to the yellow bench (a little less than a mile) and back during 
> morning hours this May, I was totally exhausted by the time I made it back 
> to my car. And that was on a day when the temperature was in the 
> seventies; the path was mostly shaded; I was well fed beforehand, and I 
> had plenty of water with me. I shudder to think what might have happened 
> had I tried to walk three miles in the sun when the temperature was in the 
> nineties; I had only 3 ounces of water and I had not eaten since 
> breakfast! Nor would Gary have been there to tell me to sit in the shade 
> until he brought help. He went on ahead thinking he had only a mile to go. 
> It would have been at least two hours before he might have returned with 
> help. And what if the refuge manager had told him to get a tow truck from 
> Nevada? The more I think about it, the more I shudder.
>
> I told Roy that after he died, if St. Peter gave him any trouble, he 
> should tell him what he did for us!
>
> (BTW, if you have been thinking how dumb we are as you read the foregoing, 
> please be assured that the same thought has already occurred to both of us 
> many times.)
>
> There is a saying that God is kind to drunks and little children. I can 
> attest that He is also kind to some dumb birders, and He sometimes uses 
> angels like Roy Schlud to do it.
>
> Bob Fisher
> Independence, Missouri
> [log in to unmask]
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