We drove past our first Buc-ees on the way to San Antonio and had to stop the podcast we were listening to in order to see if war had broken out or the zombie apocalypse had begun. We’d never seen so many vehicles at a rest stop before and immediately assumed something was wrong. A quick check of google maps revealed that this was actually less busy than usual.
Buc-ees is a Texas institution, a rest stop to end all rest stops. They have branded everything. Stuffed animals, key chains, t-shirts, cups, cutlery, lip balm. You name it and they have put a beaver on it. They also have some delicious BBQ, incredibly cheap soda, and something called Beaver Nuggets which were not what I was expecting at all. When a friend on Facebook said, “GO TO BUC-EES AND GET BEAVER NUGGETS” I assumed they were like chicken nuggets. Or maybe actual beaver – it is Texas. Maybe they eat beaver in Texas. As it turns out Beaver Nuggets aren’t anything like chicken nuggets – they’re sweet puffed corn. And they’re delicious.
After pulling into the ample parking lot of the Katy Buc-ees we noticed a grackle tangled in some string on a tree and decided to take action. Living in an RV means having all your belongings at your disposal. First we got our step stool, but were unable to reach the bird. Next we pulled the RV near the tree she was stuck in, climbed the ladder on the back but were still unable to reach the bird. We got the machete out to extend Kyle’s wing-span. No dice. I climbed on his shoulders…still too short. So I went inside and asked if they had a ladder we could borrow.
I was redirected to outdoor maintenance who informed me that neither Kyle nor I could climb the ladder because it was a liability, but a Buc-ees employee could do it. Outdoor maintenance then got on his walkie talkie to see if any employee wanted to help rescue a bird. Within about three minutes a girl came jogging out. “I came to save the bird!” Then she headed inside to get a ladder.
We provided scissors and the girl was able to snatch the bird, cut the string and then hold it still while Kyle cut away the string still tangled tightly around her foot. As soon as she was free she flew off to sit on top of a light post about 20 feet away and we congratulated ourselves with some brisket sandwiches and Salted Caramel Beaver Nuggets.
P.S. Kyle is forcing me to write that “after lunch we noticed the bird was still hanging around, limping a bit, so we fed her some leftover bread and bird seed. Then she followed us down the road.
After a few days of this we finally opened the door of the RV (and our hearts) and she flew right in to live with us because of her love for us. Now we have a pet grackle named Buckie that accompanies us everywhere. We’ve taught her a few tricks – she can do a headstand and will scour the countryside for quarters that she brings us so we can do laundry. She’s totally house broken. She saved us from an alligator today.
P.P.S. It was a small alligator. But still. Alligator.”