Camel Dung Mover!

Carole Jean shoveling camel manure

I can now officially add Camel Dung Mover to my resumé. I thought she was kidding at first, but then again, it was my long-time crazy friend, Loud Cathy, doing the asking…anything is possible.

She is a force to be reckoned with. After a barrage of serious health issues, she was diminished to a mere shadow of herself—barely ninety pounds on a five-foot-eight frame. But no matter how sick she got, her unmistakable voice came through loud and clear—Ethel Merman had nuthin’ on her!

Her voice booms with strength, enthusiasm, and positivity with a little crazy thrown in. She would say “It takes one to know one.” Ha!


Looking back on some of our shenanigans, Babushka Lady comes to mind. She drove the getaway car, I put a kerchief on my head covering most of my face, wearing the largest, darkest sunglasses I could find and we drove to the home of a Santa Cruz firefighter on whom I had a secret crush. I had baked him a birthday cake and wanted to leave it on his porch anonymously. Cathy slid up to his curb with the car facing the wrong way, kept it running with the passenger door open as I tiptoed up his porch-stairs, put the cake by the front door, and scurried back to her vehicle. She peeled out before I could get the door closed.

The next day, the handsome stud-muffin came up to me at the gym and grinned, “Why did you put a cake on my porch? Did you think it was my birthday?”

I turned crimson and blurted, “Wasn’t me!” I learned that from Shaggy. (It Wasn’t Me, released on the Hot Shot album in 2000.)


I didn’t get the request from Cathy immediately—I got a hint in the form of a text. “OMG, my camel dung delivery came and they dumped it on my front porch! It’s on my brick patio for chrissake! It can’t stay there. I have a fireplace insert arriving on Friday and I will not have them traipsing through camel manure to get to the front door! It must be moved!”

It never occurred to me that I would be the one to move it. Never.

She texted the next day, “Juan, my gardener, is booked solid and he can’t help me move the shit. And so is his brother, Jesus. Know anybody? It’s only a couple of yards so it shouldn’t take too long.”

“Nope, don’t know anyone.”

The following day, I got a text from Cathy, “What are you up to? I’m going to attempt to move, via a tarp, the camel dung. I only need to move it about twenty feet. If I do it about three to five times, I will have moved the pile!”

“Oh, really?” was all I could muster. She went on:

“I don’t suppose you would care to assist in exchange for lunch at the Rock Room, perchance?”

Rock Room? Ahh, she knows full well I can’t resist an invitation to the Shadowbrook. But moving a pile of…well, you know. Sigh. “What time shall I be there?”

As I pulled into Cathy’s driveway, I spied the mountain of manure sitting in her front yard. Holy cow! Or should I say Holy Dromedary. Yeah, she was a one-humper, I found out. Good thing she wasn’t a two-humper, there could have been twice as much. That’s how it works, right? What do I know, I grew up in Brooklyn. No cows, no camels.

When I walked in, Cathy did a doubletake. “Where are your grubbies?” she asked.

“These are my grubbies.” I grinned.

“You’re wearing white pants! Are you nuts?”

“Yeah, well, I pulled ’em out of my throw-away bag. They’re all stretched out and too big for me so it’s okay if I trash them. Let’s get to work.”

It didn’t take long before we were huffing and puffing and barely making a dent. Even though Cathy is one tough cookie, the physical exertion was beyond reason, all things considered. Did I mention it was a sunny ninety- degrees outside? I instructed her to cease and desist and I would do a tortoise-style job of moving the pile even if it took all day.

One of Cathy’s friends, a registered nurse named Anne, stopped by for a visit while we were executing the task. I was introduced in between shovelfuls and said, “I don’t want to be rude, but I can’t stop. If I do, I may never start again and this needs to get done. Please, just carry on and don’t mind me.”

Cathy chimed in, “Yeah, just keep going. If you keel over, Anne here is a trained nurse. She’ll revive you.”

That lasted for a while and then Cathy jumped up and loaded three shovelfuls onto the tarp before she collapsed back into her chair. She grinned, “I don’t want you to feel abandoned.”

She did this every fifteen minutes or so while I kept plugging along with my eye on the prize—lunch at Shadowbrook.

At one point I noticed a feather floating on the pile so I picked it up. Cathy saw it, too, and said, “Emu feather. They have emus at the ranch, too. They have all kinds of critters.”

In my mind’s eye, I could see my daughter doing battle with an emu that snatched her frosted bran muffin while visiting a wildlife refuge on a trip to Australia. The emu came away with a cream-crusted upper lip and Chelsea got the muffin!

I suddenly remembered I forgot to ride a camel when I was gallivanting around the world in the olden days. “Do you think I could take a ride on the camel?”

Cathy cocked her head and said, “She’s a very sweet girl but up there in age, so, no, you cannot ride her.”

“You think she’s the only one who’s up there? Think about it—here we are, two septaugenerians shoveling two yards of camel dung across your back yard.”

“Well, now that you’re done, I’ll tell you the truth. I did the math—it was over three-and-a-half yards, not the two like I said. I don’t think I’m gonna be able to walk for like three days. But it was worth it! No camel dung on the doorstep!”

Now about that lunch…

6 thoughts on “Camel Dung Mover!

    • Heyyyyy Sally! Thanks for commenting. Yup will move rocks for Rock Room! Wouldn’t be the first time! I carried buckets of rocks up a hill in Morgan Hill once to help with a septic tank drainage. Come to think of it, I never did get lunch for that…oh, wait. That’s right, we got Macdonald’s!


  1. Hysterical! I went camping with Bob once in white pants. The other people that we were with just stared at me in disbelief.. lol. Great story!


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