The Eighth Page

The Beast Monster

As my parents and I pulled up to campus in our sweet, sweet metallic grey minivan (A rental, of course. My minivan at home is blue), I peered out the window and watched students walking along the paths, stopping to hug their friends or answering the riddle that allows you to pass by the troll that lives between Pearson and Morse. “Well, Well,” I said wisely, stroking my thick handlebar mustache, “I guess summer really is over.” I began to look back on the glorious summer I’d had. If I told you that I became an official Canadian Falconry Master, and also found time to tour the French countryside as an acrobat, you’d assume that one of those wild and crazy things isn’t true. Well, you’d be right. I did not tour the French countryside as an acrobat. For my grandma’s 70th birthday party, our extended family contemplated several ways to celebrate. A big banquet, a family cruise, and a race around the world were all suggested, but she finally chose something that we couldn’t believe we hadn’t already thought of: Falconry. Now, many of you must be wondering what falconry is. That’s exactly what I was wondering as I sadly unpacked my collection of Hawaiian shirts from my Mickey Mouse backpack that I had planned to bring on our Disney Cruise. I was told that falconry is basically holding a huge, falcon with razor sharp talons on your arm, then sending the falcon off on a hunt in the woods. “Oh, now I see why we’re doing this,” I said. Now you’re thinking, “Where does one go to falcon?” Take a guess, that’s right…Canada. Mounties, Moose, Hockey, and apparently, world class Falconry. So the whole family loaded up the blue minivan and began the five hour drive from Cleveland to Toronto. We spent a day in Canada’s big city, living large, eating Canadian bacon while watching Canadian ESPN. The only difference between their ESPN and America’s is that a grizzly bear wearing a red flannel shirt reveals the answer to the ‘Did You Know?’ trivia question. Don’t get it wrong, because that bear has quite the temper. Seriously, he points to the correct letter choice on his screen with the severed arm of an old co-worker. So anyway, after a long day of exploring all of the foreign wonders that Toronto had to offer, we went to bed, anxious to begin our falconry the next morning. I awoke, groggy and for some reason, in a complete Mountie uniform (The horse was in the bed next to me). We hopped back into the car and set off north of Toronto, towards “The Canadian School of Traditional Falconry.” On its web site, it was pictured within the walls of a lovely stone castle, on the edge of a thick forest. Well, don’t trust the Internet folks, because the ‘School of Traditional Falconry’ was more or less ‘This Canadian Dude’s Backyard.’ I held a few massive falcons, got pooped on several times (Mostly by falcons) and watched our Canadian Falconer Instructor rip a quail in half and feed it to a falcon. He then smeared quail blood all over his face and screamed, “To the raptor room!” So we decided it was time to leave. We packed up our things, our official Falconer’s certificates in hand, washed the pungent smell of quail blood off of our hands, and drove off. As we drove back into the U.S, I felt so proud to be an American, especially now that I was one of the elite Americans who held an official Falconer’s certificate. As we passed over the border and into beautiful, and not the slightest bit depressing, Buffalo, NY, the dirty streets and smell of grime wafted in to the car. Man, it’s great to be home.