I suppose there is someone somewhere who does not like Jimmie Stewart.
If so, I never met him.
As good as he was in his movies, Stewart was an amazing presence on stage. As if your neighbor had stopped by with insights from Chekhov.
The kind of actor you could invite to dinner at Simpson’s-in-the-Strand after a performance, and not feel like a fool for doing so.
At least, you could in 1975. It was the last time I saw him on stage. At the Prince of Wales in London. In Harvey, of course. Along with his pooka friend -- imaginary or not.
I thought of him -- and Harvey -- this morning during one of my backyard nature outings. Before I drove to Manzanillo for the day, I wanted to see if I could spot any of the crocodiles now that the laguna is filling up, and our little inlet is coming back to life. My landlady told me she had seen the small crocodile sunning on the bank last week.
So, I walked out my gate and across the andador (the walkway beside the laguna). Nothing. Well, a couple of birds, but no crocodiles. But something seemed odd. I could hear no chickens. No dogs. No birds.
Disappointed, I turned to head back through the gate. And then I saw it. First, just a quick movement out of the corner of my eye. Enough to stop me in place.
The small crocodile was not in the laguna. It was on the andador. No more than 50 feet from me.
My movement had obviously startled it while it was eating -- something. Something dark that already smelled of death. Whatever it was snacking on, it was not going to share.
It grabbed its meal, literally flipped around, and dashed down the bank. All of that took no more than 3 seconds. If that.
Imagine the speed of an iguana. Now, imagine the iguana is six feet long.
It was a rush. Almost as good as skydiving. And, yes, I know. It was potentially dangerous. But that was why it was a rush. No one gets an adrenalin rush out of OSHA-approved pursuits. And I am not going to see a sight like that in San Miguel.
While I was opening the gate (back at the start of this tale), I almost went back inside to get my camera. But, I didn’t. After all, I have all sorts of photographs of the inlet -- with and without crocodiles.
And if I had taken my camera, everything happened so fast that I would not have got my camera up before the crocodile was gone.
Instead, you get the Harvey version of my crocodile on the anador. Can’t you see him right there?
Jimmy Stewart would have appreciated it.