So, there I was. Driving down the tree-lined back roads between Breezy Point and Nisswa around 4:45 Thursday morning like I have been doing for the past 17 years. Seventeen years of dodging deer, skunks, porcupines (even one with its head stuck in a jar), bear, fox, owls, birds and frogs…when all of a sudden, far off in the distance, I see “an animal” I have not seen before – or so I thought.
As I got closer to said “animal,” I realized it was NOT an animal, but a human. In fact, THREE humans huddled and walking together along the side of the road heading north as I was heading south. Now, mind you, I see humans on that road from time to time… with headlamps, flashlights, reflective clothing as they walk or bike this same road. HOWEVER, all three of these men were NOT lit-up but WERE dressed in “desert camo” – at least that’s what my Air Force brother called his uniform when he served in the Middle East. Not only were they covered head to toe in this gear, but one had a rifle strapped to his back and I could see the “butt” of the gun sticking up behind him!
My mind immediately went to “this has GOT TO BE some sort of military training mission they are on from Camp Ripley.” Then, my mom-brain kicked in and said, “better safe than sorry” as these men were heading north where I know there are homes… where people live… and children play…. Right?
So I did it. I called the authorities.
**Ring*** Ring **
Dispatch: “County dispatch, what is the location of your emergency?”
Me: “Um… Hi. My name is Tess and I am not sure if this is an emergency but I felt I had to call it in just in case. I am driving south on ********* Road in Nisswa and I just saw three men, dressed in desert camo walking north toward ***** Road and one was definitely carrying a rifle! I have driven this road for years and this is the first time I have EVER seen this, so it’s a little suspicious to me. I thought it may be a Camp Ripley training thing, but then I saw two vehicles that were most certainly NOT military vehicles. It’s just weird.”
Dispatch: “Ma’am, it looks like you are calling from Crow Wing County and this is Cass County Dispatch…”
Me: “Oh NO! I am so…”
Dispatch: “…I am transferring you to Crow Wing County Dispatch. Just hold on.” (click click click)
CWC Dispatch: “Crow Wing County Dispatch. What is the location of your emergency?”
Me: “Hiiiiiiiiii, my name is Tess and I am not sure….. (see above explanation of what I told Cass County)”
Also me: “I know this sounds crazy, but I swear… I am not nuts.”
CWC Dispatch: “Okay, can you describe the vehicles you saw?”
Me: “Well they certainly were NOT military… one was a truck and one was a car… a sedan of some sort.”
CWC Dispatch: “Ma’am… is there any chance that the men could have been turkey hunters?”
Me: (dying inside)
CWC Dispatch: “Ma’am?”
Me: “OH MY GOD. I AM SO SORRY!!!!!!!!!” YES…there is MOST CERTAINLY A CHANCE they could have been turkey hunters!!! I AM SO STUPID!!!!!
CWC Dispatch: “It’s okay, we’ll send someone just to check it out. Were any of the men carrying a turkey decoy or anything?”
Me: “NO!!! I didn’t’ see anything like that, but DON’T SEND ANYONE!!!!! They were probably hunters!!! I feel like an idiot!!!!!!!!! I AM SO SORRY! (laughing my head off!)
CWC Dispatch: “We have someone en route, it’s okay.”
She then takes my name, phone number, confirms my year of birth and address (probably to make sure my permanent residence isn’t a padded cell somewhere), and hangs up after I thank her and apologize again and again.
Now, I have called the cops a number of times on my commute in to work… for dead animals (hazards) in the road, debris in the road, cars in the ditch, etc…. so I KNEW that in a matter of moments, I would be getting a call back from the sheriff’s office… or an officer.
AAANNNDDD… there it was.
Me: “ Hi….This is Tess…”
Deputy: “Hi, this is Deputy Mike calli….”
Me: “Welllll, good morning, sir….. I am SO SORRY but I think I may have made a mistake and just called the cops on some innocent turkey hunters. I feel like a toolbox!”
Deputy: “You may have, but where did you say you saw these three men? I am on ****** and I don’t see anyone.”
I directed him to exactly where on a different road I had seen the men and I, again, said that I probably had made a big mistake and to not worry about it.
Deputy: “Well, you never know … we could have a group of survivalists just trying to make it here in Nisswa.”
Me: (LAUGHING) “yeah, MAYYYYbe! I am so sorry…. I can’t tell you how dumb I feel… I’m so, so, SO sorry!”
Deputy: “Don’t be sorry…. I am guessing the turkeys are glad you called.”
Me: “I hope so. Thank you, sorry to bother you…have a good day!”
Deputy: “You too… good-bye.”
It is at this point that I would like to publicly apologize to Cass County Dispatch… Crow Wing County Dispatch and Crow Wing County Deputy Mike for what happened this morning due to my lack of judgement (or THOUGHT!). I am sorry for bothering them this morning. I would also like to apologize to the (most likely) three INNOCENT TURKEY hunters that I thought I should “turn in” as “suspicious” as they walked in (what I described as Desert Camo) carrying a rifle down the dark back roads of Nisswa on their way to (most likely) HUNT. Sometimes I wonder about me. Better safe than sorry? If you see something, say something? Mind your own business? Or remember: If you can’t laugh at yourself, you cannot laugh at others!
After posting my personal apology on Facebook, Crow Wing County Sheriff Scott Goddard stated:
We would rather check and make sure everything is good, than not knowing. Please don’t feel guilty for reporting suspicious activity.
Thank you, Sir…. If anything, I hope it was good for a laugh.
Kudos to Crow Wing County Dispatch and Deputy Mike. They are PROS!
Learning something new every day! I am now fully aware that it is Turkey hunting season.
My work here is done. LOL!!!