Our favorite thing to do when we are in Florida is to eat at restaurants that have outside seating looking out over the water. One hazard of eating alfresco is that you run the risk that at any second your dining experience can be interrupted by the dreaded sea gull. Sea gulls are a tourist’s delight. Standing on the beach throwing up just about anything edible, these black and white winged gliders will flock from miles around to snatch up the tidbits offered. Every once in a while an overly aggressive sea gull comes along and becomes the bane of an outdoor restaurant’s existence. There will be signs posted everywhere saying “DO NOT FEED THE BIRDS” but someone will want just that one Kodak moment with the wrong seagull and a monster is born.
Our particular monster swooped down out of the clear blue sky, flew under the patio and plucked a portion of appetizer off the poo-poo platter of a party of 20 before anyone at the table had time to register what was going on. Waiters were deployed with water bottles to deter the winged beast but they always seemed to be too slow to chase the bird away before he got his goods. Even though every diner was now on high alert it quickly became clear that this was not this bird’s first rodeo in the outdoor dinner raid department. The bird would swoop down within inches of a diner’s face on one side of the patio eliciting a squeal that drew every other diner’s attention. While everyone’s attention was turned in the squealer’s direction, the winged mastermind would swoop down from the opposite direction and help himself to whatever delectable treat had caught his eye. On one attack, he plucked a chicken tender right out of a man’s hand! Suddenly two little boys came running up swinging their white napkins over their heads. They shouted orders to one another as they kept a constant vigil on the location of the winged bandit, running to and fro, waving their napkins above their heads, shooing the bird away from the dining area and back out into the bay. With a sigh of relief the diners went back to eating. With true admiration we watched the two little boys as they played out their well-orchestrated battle against the determined sea gull.
All too soon, their father walked up and herded our little heroes back to their table muttering something about how he hoped they hadn’t bothered us. David and I started clapping for them and all the other diners that had felt protected from the birds in their presence gave them a hearty and heartfelt round of applause. I hope they remember their trip to Florida as the year they had to save that restaurant from being attacked by the crazy BIRD!