Saturday, August 31, 2013

An incident at the ballgame last night involving swearing

So last night at the Bees game Ken Cannon toddled off to buy dinner for the family.  He came back with a paper tray loaded with excellent crap, including a hot dog slathered in mustard.  It's like that hot dog went to a hot dog spa and said, "Girls!  Give me a mustard bath!"  Which they did.  OBV.

Anyway.  Somehow that paper tray loaded with excellent crap tipped a little, causing the hot dog to do a graceful swan dive straight into Ken Cannon's lap, which (in addition to surprising Ken Cannon) caused the hot dog to share some of that mustard love.  A lot of that mustard love.  It ended up all over someone's shirt and pants, and so that same someone in the earshot of many children and their parents shouted, "S#$%!"

Seriously.  IT WAS EPIC.

Everyone turned around to look.  They even stopped the game so the outfield could turn and gape at Ken Cannon in surprise.

I, of course, started to laugh because that's what I always do whenever I get pulled over by a cop or receive bad news or watch my husband struggle with a wayward hot dog in public.  I laugh.  And then I told all the kids sitting around us that they shouldn't say that word until they're old farts wrangling hot dogs at baseball games.  Like us.

Meanwhile, once he showed that hot dog WHO WAS BOSS, Ken asked if I was going to write about this.  And I said should I?  And he let out a resigned sigh.  And I took that as a yes.

I love that guy.  I really, really do.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Going gray: wherein I ask the Universe a question

First, let me say I think all my friends who have let the silver naturally happen look AMAZING.  I sat across the breakfast table from Lisa B. the other day, and all I could think was how much prettier she is now than when we were kids.  And she was way pretty back then, too.

So there you are.

But.  I have never considered letting myself go gray.  Women in my family don't do that.  As I've said here before, the last words TRQ's mother ever uttered on this planet were,"I need a tint tomorrow."  Her hair was red, red, red until the day she died.  And, in fact, the day after she died, too.  Meanwhile, the Coach's mother--a lady who had to put on platform sandals (which she often did) to clear 4'9"--kept an ongoing journal about everything she did to her hair.  So you can see that graying is not really an option in my world.

Until yesterday when I realized I have roots showing again, even though I just did something to them.  And that doing something to them takes a) time and b) money, and I am so so so so so lazy these days I don't want to mess.  Not anymore.

So I floated the question out there to the Universe:  "Should I let myself go gray?"  Then I went to Target, because why not go to Target every chance you get?  Anyway, while I was at the Tar-jay, all these women my age practically kept running me over with their shopping coats--not because they were hostile but because (like me) they're blind.  Or mostly blind.  In my case, I still have enough vision left to notice that all these shopping-cart-crazies who were my age had graying hair.  And it wasn't cute.  It was like the Universe answered my question.  See, Ann?  This is what you'll look like when you run someone over with a shopping cart.  Is this what you want?

I appreciated the answer.  Truly.  Who doesn't want to look their best when they ram a shopping cart into a stranger's backside?

  Only I wish the Universe would get around to answering some of my larger life questions now and then, you know?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

What I've been reading lately

Well, as reported earlier, I've been reading a lot of non-fiction for kids.  My favorite so far is a book for upper middle grade/ jr. high kids called The Nazi Hunters by Neal Bascomb.  It's the story of how Adolf Eichmann finally got his--partly because a teenage girl who innocently dated his son was able to ID him.

I also read the ARC for the new Martin Cruz Smith novel called Tatiana.  I admire Smith a lot.  His Rose is a favorite of mine.  And I like his detective Arkady Renko.  And I REALLY liked the first half of the book.  But then it started feeling all been-there-done-that to me--especially the romance part of it.  WAIT!  Not that I've personally been-there-doing-that.  Especially in Russia.  But you know what I mean.

I will say this.  Any time I read a novel set in Russia I am just really, really glad I don't live there.  Oh, Mother Russia!  Nobody's calling YOU for a good time!  That's for sure.

I also read Winston Churchill's Secretary, which I kept reading because the period is interesting to me--London during the Blitz.  The striking thing about this book is that it was not only about the 1940's, it felt like it was written during the 1940's.  And I don't think that was on purpose, frankly.  I enjoyed it, but probably not enough to read the rest of the books in the series.

Gee.  I sound so grumpy.  I don't mean to, because the truth is I'm in awe of anyone who writes a book and finishes it, let alone gets it published.  That is hard, hard work, people.

I also read Harvest by Jim Crace.  Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.  And so dark.  I don't need any more dark for awhile.

Started reading a new ARC Betsy loaned me called hmmmmm.  Now I can't remember.  I'll report back.

And finally I've been going through manuscripts writer friends have given me.  I have a lot of talented writer friends.  They keep me humble.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Thanks for the help!

Thanks so much for your responses last week about how-to-feel-like-a-kid-again.  I'm pleased with how the column turned out this week!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Non-fiction for kids

I've got a deadline today, so I'm scrambling.  A little, anyway.  Back when I wrote a lot for Utah Holiday I would talk about stories in terms of how many cheeseballs I would snack on while writing.  Like, I'd say THIS IS A TWO CHEESEBALL STORY!  And that lent me an air of importance, don't you know.

This isn't a two cheeseball story.  But I've left it longer than I should have.  I'm writing about what's available in non-fiction for kids these days.  I have to say I'm enjoying non-fiction in all arenas even more than fiction right now.

Monday, August 26, 2013


So, I'm back.  And I did have myself a very productive four days of writing, although I have discovered that my attention span is as bad as I feared it was.  I don't have the mental stamina to stay with a project as long as I'd like to, it turns out.


I wrote.

Also, as I wrote I could hear this amazing bird call outside my window--loud and rattling--and when I rushed to see what made that noise, I found cranes.  CRANES!  They took my breath away.

I'm trying to link to some information about them here.  You need to hear them for yourselves.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Going into the Federal Witness Protection Program for a few days

. . . which means I won't be posting until Saturday.

I will have my phone (in spite of this week's column), so you can get me that way.  Otherwise, I am staying away from WiFi so I can try to finish The Novel that will soon turn into a millstone around my neck if I don't get it finished.

Talk to you later.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Like a kid

Louise, correct me if I'm wrong.  But didn't you tell me that you've notice how I often say I like an activity--biking, running barefoot--because it makes me feel like a kid again?

Or did I make that up.

Please lie and tell me you said that, because it would make an EXCELLENT intro for a column I'm thinking about doing.  Which brings up this question for you, my fabulous blogging friends--what makes YOU feel like a kid again?  If I write this column, I may use your response, although I will let you all remain nameless.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Hey, ho! Column time!

Even though the column appears on Wednesday in the paper, it's often online the day before.  So here it is--another (mini) rant!

Monday, August 19, 2013


Not Sherlock.  My dog.  The little Cav.

So here's the deal.  He's turning out to be one of my favorite dogs EVER.  Why?  Not because he's a typical Cav, which (as it turns out) means he's sweet-natured and ready to please.


I love this dog because he is a natural-born glutton.  He wakes up, wondering what he's going to eat.  And then he spends the rest of his day pursuing it.  Driving around the valley looking for Mexican cokes.  Heading out for a cupcake.  Eating ice cream at the Hatch Family Chocolate Store.  Buying tacos at the taco cart in front of Sears.  Ordering a southwestern burger from Tony's Burgers.  Going to 7-11 to get a Dr. Pepper.

Oh wait.  That's me.

Holmes and I?  We are muy simpatico.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

A summer ritual

I think you know by now that summer is my favorite season, although I will say yes.  It's been a lotta hot this year.  We'll all be happy to say adios to some of that.

Anyway.  I've been feeling the summer slip away the last few days, and I realized I hadn't done the one thing I always try to do at least once a year--sleep under the stars in my backyard.

This is something I usually end up doing by myself, because COME ON.  Would you want to sleep on a basketball court in the backyard of an old Avenues house?  Nay. (Although Quinton the Hippie sometimes did before he went to Chile from whence he sends letters talking about missionary work and asking if I can send him some pachouli soap.  Oh, Quinton!  Your mama misses you!)

Well last night I finally did it.  After we came home from the Bees game, I made myself a bed outside and went to sleep under a dark full sky and only woke up whenever the cat decided to lick me, including once on the nose.  Which is weird.  No one wants a cat licking them on the nose in the middle of the night--at least if we're being honest with ourselves about things.

But otherwise I had a perfect summer evening.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Writing Local

Sometimes people ask if I've ever thought about syndicating my column.  I'm flattered, of course, but here's the reality.  Columnists like me are a dime a dozen.  Papers all over the country have people who do what I do, so it's not like I have anything unique to offer.  I don't say this out of false modesty.  It just happens to be the truth.  Also.  It's much harder to get something syndicated than one might expect.  You have to have the right kind of machinery behind you.

But here's the real reason I'd never really want to be syndicated:  I like writing about where I live, i.e. the Wasatch Front.  I like to mention familiar places and specific events.   When I left the D-News, my friend Todd Curtis who still worked there said, "But if you stay with us, people in Australia will read you."  Which is true, actually.  Because of the Mormon church, the D-News has historically had a larger online readership--something I assume is still true.  But what I said to Todd was this:  I like to write for my neighbors.

I like to write local.

Friday, August 16, 2013

How to have a good day when it feels like everything around you is blowing up

I think you have to decide to have a good day.

I mean, not in a way where you put pressure on yourself, like it's another thing to check off your already impossible To Do List.  You shouldn't be going around with the cords on your neck showing and shouting to yourself through clenched teeth DAMMIT!  I WILL HAVE A GOOD DAY OR ELSE!

But you can float the idea out there to the Universe.  Gently.  As in, "Wouldn't it be nice if instead of letting all this crap I'm contending with get me down, I just decided to--you know--stay upbeat.  Be of good cheer."

Along the way you can also remind yourself not to give other people the responsibility to make YOU happy.  Do it for yourself.  Watch the hummingbirds in the back yard.  Pet the cat.  Eat a cupcake.  Buy a cheap pair of earrings at Target.  Read a mystery.  Cut some roses and put them in a Mason jar.  You know.  Stuff like that.

I'll tell you if it works, okay?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

On the road with family stories

One of the pleasures of a road trip with my parents is listening to the stories they tell.  Most of them I've heard--which doesn't diminish my affection for them--but a few I hadn't.  Like this one, for example.

Once when my great-grandma Pat (game warden of Sublette County who slept with a shot gun) was driving through LaBarge--(which had the reputation of being such a wild town that Ava was not allowed to go dancing there until after she was married) (also it was the home of the local prostitute, known far and wide as "Saddlehorn")--she got so angry with someone who crossed Highway 189 in front of her, that my great-grandmother pulled over, crawled out of her car, and yelled, "GET OUT OF MY WAY, YOU DUMB SON OF A BITCH."

You see?  I come by my cussing honestly.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

And in other news!

Our son Phil is having some of his work featured at Art Access' upcoming gallery stroll.

Seriously, I am such a fan of his.  And I'm so proud of him, too.

Off to see our relation Ava

So the Coach, TRQ and I are leaving in a few minutes here to visit our relation Ava in Wyoming.  Ava just turned 94, and we're going up there today because she's taking off for Wendover on Friday to celebrate.  Can't interfere with that.

Oh, Ava.  If I ever have the misfortune of turning 94, I hope that I'm like you--living on my own, walking to the Senior Citizen Center to play Bingo, reading romances with half-naked cowboys on the cover, and heading for Wendover on a post-birthday weekend to play the slots.

Rock on, Ava.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Martha Stewart, blogs, Daniel Boorstin, and the whole damn kitchen sink

This week's column is already up and at 'em.

I've been thinking about this subject for quite awhile, actually.  I love to blog.  And I love to read other people's blogs.  And I think we all realize intellectually, of course, that we're only seeing a portion of another person's reality.  But emotionally sometimes we forget that.

Or at least I do.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Eating a buffalo

Okay, first.  I'm sorry I didn't post yesterday.  We did a whirlwind trip to Vegas to attend my nephew's farewell, and in all that whirlwindy-ness, I didn't find time to sit down and write.  Can we have one of the thousands of posts I wrote during Oscar night count?

Thank you!  You guys are way cool!

Meanwhile last week, Doni and I went to Cucina here in the Aves, a place I've had mixed feelings about over the years.  But it was close and convenient, so we walked over there, where I discovered they now have a dinner menu with actual wait service, etc.  Anyway, our server (who was v. cute and friendly) talked up the special, i.e. a bison burger.  I was in right away because this is My Summer of the Hamburger.   But Doni demurred for a moment.

"I don't know how I feel about eating a buffalo."

Our server took this as a comment on buffalo as a food source--that it might somehow be all fatty and bad for your arteries like regular hamburger.  She said NO!  Bison is a super food!  It's like awesome lean protein!

Which wasn't exactly Doni's point.  It's just that some meats we can eat without thinking twice.  But others?  Not so much.  Can we really?  Dare we?  Isn't that meat taboo somehow?

In the end we both ordered the bison burger, and I have to say it was really good, partly because bacon was also involved.  Oh, Bacon!  You make everything awesome!

Anyway.  I had a point originally, but I can't remember what it was, because I have been distracted by the memory of that burger and how good it was and also by the thought that I am not sure I can use the words "buffalo" and "bison" interchangeably.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Another witch is dead

First order of the business:  I had fun earlier this summer rush-writing about the nouns you sent me.  Vampire.  Aardvark.  And so on.  So PLEASE SEND ME SOME MORE NOUNS.  I feel the urge to do a little rush-writing this week.

Second order of the business:  Last night I saw a shooting star.  And, like I always do whenever I am lucky enough to see a shooting star, I said, "Another witch is dead."  Because that's what people said when I was growing up.

Or at least I think that's what they were saying.  Maybe they were actually saying, "It's time to go to bed" or "What's that on top of your head?" or "Did you put the shovel in the shed?" or "It appears the neighbors have fled" or "I fell and then I bled."  They could have been saying any of that, because I wasn't a premium listener when I was a kid.

So my point is this--did you ever hear that saying about shooting stars and dead witches?

Friday, August 9, 2013

Things to Fear in the Avenues, Pt. One

The very first week we moved to New York, our son Dylan came running into our new house and told us he'd almost been hit by a tree.  We scoffed.  HAHAHAHAHA.  Because we were scoffing parents. And besides trees don't hit people.  People hit trees.  Just ask my new BFF at Liberty Park who was engaged in peacock avoidance maneuvers.

Anyway.  When we went outside later we discovered that a tree the size of Jack's beanstalk had fallen across the street and up the entire length of our driveway, taking down power lines with it.  So yes.  Apparently our son had told us the truth.

I bring this up because today Nancy told me on our walk that she'd seen with her own two eyes (both of which work) where a tree had crushed a car in the parking lot at the State Capitol yesterday during a microburst.  Of all the things you think might happen to your car during the course of a day, getting crushed by a tree at the State Capitol isn't necessarily one of them.

Which leads me to this:  when you're a kid and doing class reports, the teachers are TREES ARE AWESOME!  Trees make leaves which make air.  Or something like that.   Anyway, TREES ARE OUR FRIENDS!

Except in Babes in Toyland, of course.  Or when they're falling on top of kids and cars.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

In case you're looking for that perfect book . . .

Over at the Trib, I get a lot of press releases/product promotions/invitations from Russian dating sites--most of which I delete w/o even reading.  But I don't know.  The word "sordid" apparently caught my eye in this one.  My favorite sentence is the one in bold at the end.

-- A Sordid Tale of Danger and Revenge Set Against Organized Crime and Flesh-Trafficking in the Now-Defunct Soviet Union
Dear Ms. Cannon,
In his spellbinding new thriller, Birth of an Assassin - the first in a new series - British author Rik Stone introduces his readers to Jez Kornfeld, and his transformation from wide-eyed recruit into an elite soldier and outlaw.  Through a searing narrative, Stone pulls his readers into the gritty and dark underworld of human trafficking, prostitution, and organized corruption in Russia.
When Jez is given orders to arrest a crowd of Jewish demonstrators in Red Square, he breaks up the rally but finds his sisters as part of the demonstration.  He quickly hides the girls from the secret police by placing them in downtown Moscow.  However, he knows they will not be safe in Russia for long and that his own security has been compromised.  He plans to move his sisters out of Moscow - but unbeknownst to him, his every move is being observed.  Ultimately, Jez's plan is compromised, and he enters a desperate and constant battle just to stay alive.
A visceral saga filled with complex characters and shocking and unpredictable twists, Stone flawlessly weaves historical events with fiction as he takes his readers on a chilling journey through one of history’s most memorable and darkest times.  Birth of an Assassin ultimately combines the elements of deceit, lies, violence, and murder into one fascinating narrative, which will be sure to leave readers clamoring for more.
This intense, dark, and page-turning mystery also touches on the following themes:
·      Anti-Semitism and Jewish experience in post-war Russia
·      The brutal life as a new recruit in the Red Army after World War II
·       Physical and emotional torture endured by human trafficking and prostitution victims
·      Governmental and military corruption in Russia after the war
·      And so much more!
            “My wife’s family descended from Russian Jews. The family fled the pogroms there in the late 19th century and settled in England,” said Stone. “Their background piqued my interest - I thought I could bring drama to a period when Jewish unrest was bubbling up once more.”
Would you be interested in receiving a review copy of Birth of an Assassin and possibly adding it to your holiday gift guide?  Stone is also available for interviews. 
Looking forward to hearing from you. 
Kristin Marquet
Smith Publicity

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Things my son's mother told him

Today as Phil and I were driving out to meet Kim, who wants to put some of Phil's art in her uber cool store, The Paisley Pomegranite, I (apparently) went a little too fast for comfort.  His comfort.  Not mine.  According to him I nearly ran into a guy and a car.  And also a guy IN a car.

HIM:  I remember something my own mother once told me . . .

ME:  Your mother?

HIM:  Yes.

ME:  As in me?

HIM:  Yes.

ME:  What did this mother say?

HIM:  She always used to say it doesn't matter how fast you get to where you're going.  The only thing that matters is that you get there safely.

That was pretty much the end of our conversation, but what I wish I'd said was this:  Well YOU guys didn't listen to your mother.

So why should I?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Summer of the Yellow Eyeballs

I've written about that summer before.  Sometimes I think I CAN'T stop writing about it, because it was so consuming.  And also who doesn't love a good hepatitis story?    Anyway.  Here's this week's column.

Monday, August 5, 2013

For a good time (in sacrament meeting) call us

Some of you will remember when Ken Cannon had his fake heart attack a few years ago.  I found him slumped over at his work desk, all drenched in sweatiness, the color of a scary wax icon, with a couple of his co-workers standing around, wondering what to do next.

Apparently calling an ambulance didn't occur to them.

Anyway, I ran him up to the hospital where they kept him overnight for observation--because who doesn't want to take a gander at Ken Cannon in a hospital gown now and then?--and then released him the next day without finding anything wrong.

Well, yesterday in church the same thing happened.  Suddenly Ken was covered with sweat, and he went all yellow and gray.  Also, he was a little disoriented.  Finally, Rick Horne (whom I sometimes call Paul Bunyan--another story for another day) helped me get Ken out of the building and into the getaway car supplied by Geoff "the Hammer" Cannon, who drove Ken straight home and put him to bed.

I made Ken promise that if he felt any worse, he had to tell me so I could get him to the ER pronto.  "Please don't put me in the position of having to explain to the ward why I let you die at home instead of taking you to the hospital," I said in a very loving wife voice.

He is much better this morning.  In fact, he put on his going-to-work clothes and went to work.  Hopefully we can get figure out what causes this, right?

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Saying a prayer

Over at The Chattering Crow, Louise posted this, and I've been thinking about it for the last few days.

So here's the deal.  I wasn't one of those parents who campaigned for my kids to get certain teachers when they were in elementary school.  There was a part of me--a BIG part of me--that thought one of the lessons my kids should learn in this life was how to get along in a variety of situations, even if it was a less than ideal situation.  And I thought the school environment was a good place to do this.

Anyway.  When one of the boys was in the second grade, his teacher felt he should be assigned to a certain third grade teacher the following year.  Only problem was I wanted him to have the third grade teacher the rest of my boys had had.  I adored her.  She was awesome.  And because I'd never pitched a fit about teachers in the past, I thought I was owed this time around.

So I campaigned.

And I got my own way.

And it turned out that teacher and my son were not a good fit for each other--sort of like those couples on The Bachelor who ride off in the sunset together at the show's conclusion, only to show up accusing each other of betrayal on the cover of Star magazine a few months later.

Not that my son and his teacher were ever on the cover of Star shouting J'ACCUSE at each other.  Although that would've been kind of awesome.

Of course he survived.  Kids do.  Meanwhile I learned an important lesson.  Although I am the mom and my heart is in the right place, I don't always know what's best.  I really don't.

This is a long way of saying when I pray now, I pray that the people I love most will get what they need.  Even if it doesn't look that way to me.  The end.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Ways I never hope to feel again

While on the beach this summer, my nephew-in-law and I struck up a conversation about the marathon he ran last January in Walt Disney World.  He said he was glad he did it, but then he added, "I hope I never ever feel the way I felt at Mile 23 ever again."

I think it was Mile 23.  Maybe it was 22 or 24.  But that's not the point.  The point is he felt so totally and completely like crap that he never wants to feel that way again.

Oddly, I don't feel that way about my marathon experience although by the time I finished my calves felt shredded.  Like carnitas.  Yes.  My calves had turned into carnitas over the course of 26 miles.  They don't tell you that in books like Marathons for Dummies (and anyone who runs a marathon is, in fact, a dummy).

But I do have my own list of ways I never hope to feel again.  Here's a sample.

1.  I never want to feel the way I felt the first time I went into labor again.  I was all YOU'RE KIDDING ME, RIGHT?

2.  I never want to feel the way I felt when I had Hepatitis again.  Basically you lie on your bed praying for death the whole time.

3.  I never want to feel the way I felt that time I got dehydrated and had to go to the hospital for IVs again.  It's like a cannon shot went off in my head.  And then I started babbling.

What are the ways YOU never hope to feel again?

Friday, August 2, 2013

8! Utah! Authors! Speak!

. . . about their favorite books when they were growing up.  You can read the article for yourself in the Trib today.

There were two books that meant the world to me while I was growing up--A Wrinkle in Time and Little Women.  I so identified with both Meg Murry and Jo March it was scary.  Not, however, as scary as the time I identified with Haley Mills and went around speaking in an English accent for most of the second grade.

No wonder everybody hated me then.

Oh yeah.  When I wasn't speaking in a fake English accent in the second grade, I told people I'd been born on Saturn.  As you can imagine, that made me even more popular with my peers.

ALSO in the second grade I wore corrective shoes, which meant that our teacher made me play hopscotch with the other girl in our class who wore corrective shoes.  Cindy Ekins.  We let each other step on the lines in the ninesies and tensies.  We supported each other that way.

The other thing I did in the second grade?  I dared to eat paste.  And actually I did earn a certain amount of respect among the boys in our class for that.

Gee.  It feels really good to get all my second grade business off my chest this morning.  Thanks for listening.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Today I am in love with a cop: Park Stories

This morning while I was riding my bike in Liberty Park, I noticed a police car high-centered on a curb.  I also noticed a couple of SLCPD cops.  And because I am so very awesome at NOTICING, I also noticed a "Crime Scene Unit" van, as well as another cop taking photos of the high-centered police car.

"Why, what is going on here?"  my brain asked myself.

And so myself started spinning various scenarios for my brain, such as the following:

Cop drives down Seventh East.  Cop notices Banbury Cross.  Cop pulls into parking lot with intent to buy donut.  Hopefully the buttermilk bar, which is excellent at Banbury Cross.  Much better than the one at Mrs. Backer's, although not significantly better than the one at Parson's Bakery in North Salt Lake.  But then North Salt Lake isn't on this cop's beat.  And this isn't a story about buttermilk bars anyway.

Cop parks.  Goes inside.  Walks back outside.  Notices car has been stolen.  Probably by young punks eager to joyride in Liberty Park at 5:30 in the morning, as young punks are wont to do.  Cop puts out APB.  Backup arrives.  Cop and fellow officers hunt down joy-riding punks who have high-centered police car  on curb and fled the scene of the crime.  Young punks last seen heading for Banbury Cross, because your know how it is.  Young punks like buttermilk bars, too.

So yeah.  That was my story.  Anyway, I actually stopped and had the following conversation with the cop by the car.

ME:  May I ask what happened here?

COP:  Well, the peacocks got loose . . .

ME:  This is already an excellent story.

Anyway, yes.  The peacocks got loose.  And apparently in an effort to avoid them, as well as to avoid other cars, this cop accidentally backed up onto a curb and into a tree.

COP:  I will never live this down.

So here's why I fell in love with him.  Because he told me the real story and didn't go all LAW AND ORDER:  CRIMINAL INTENT on me.   He was funny and embarrassed and truthful.

Well played, Officer!

 (And if a student of mine wrote this donut story I would dock points for cop-and-donut cliche.  And then I would go buy myself a buttermilk bar.)