The Seagulls say “Goodnight”

The after-dinner nap was going well.   I was deeply into it on a very cozy couch.  One pillow was under my head and the other was over my head, dampening any sound that might keep me awake.  In my dreams I saw whales, dressed patriotically in Evil Knievel bike kits, jumping in and out of a little aluminum trailer.  The trailer was behind a 90-foot motor home with a sign on the front that said “formerly owned and well used by the band ALABAMA.”

The whales had changed back into their black and white bikinis when I sat up, awake or so I thought.  What was that sound?  I was standing smack in the middle of the movie THE BIRDS! These were not the average sparrows flying outside the window.  I saw hundreds, maybe thousands of seagulls had taken to the sky in frenzied flight. One of the white and grey seabirds had the audacity to fly directly to the railing of the balcony, not three feet from me, for a stare down.

20200706_100605 The sound of that many seagulls together deafened even the roar of the waves.  They landed on the rocks at the edge ocean cliffs, now about a hundred yards from me. I relaxed with their distance.  PHEW, glad that is over, I thought.  But no, it wasn’t over. They got all wired up on secret sea air and I witnessed a replay.  The squawking began and hundreds of seagulls made the loop and landed.  But there didn’t seem to be as many perched on those precarious rocks.  I turned to get my camera and off they went.

One of the larger ones, probably the one that came before and stared at me, headed straight for the open screen door.  That would have been an interesting call to the front desk, “Uh, Hello.  I have a giant seagull in my room can you send someone up?”  The seagull veered of to the top of the roof so the call wasn’t necessary.

The frenzied seagull ritual continued. Every 15 minutes of so, off they would go.

The number that landed on the cliff in front of the condos kept diminishing, I decided that this must be their bedtime ritual.  In the early rounds, I observed fewer of the younger seagulls returning.  They had been dropped off at home, brushed their teeth, put on the pj’s, had a story read to them and gone to sleep like good little seagulls.  The adults then returned to the party rocks outside my window for more fun.

Oh, my goodness this had been going on for 5 hours! Around 10 pm, the final sunlight had faded into the horizon. The birds gave it one more rally.  Those die hard party seagulls gave a tired squawk and rested their weary bodies on the rocks.  There were maybe ten left. If this was their home they had one heck of a mess to clean up in the morning.  Apparently, Seagulls don’t leave around beer bottles and cigarette butts after parties like  humans.  They leave feathers, crab shells and bird poop.  Inches and inches of bird poop covered the rocks.  I was going to suggest they could borrow a carpet cleaner from the condo maintenance crew, but I thought that might cause problems with their bosses, as there was a lot of bird poop at the condos to be cleaned up also. Maybe the gulls could rent some cleaning supplies at ACE Hardware.

Time passed.  noticed all was silent on the seagull front and I dozed on the couch. I hardly closed my eyes when at 11 pm I was startled by a very loud squawk, too close to my open screen door for comfort.   Several other voices joined in and the remaining seagulls packed together in a mob and headed for the open screen door.  I grabbed a pillow in defense and hoped to beat the birds to close the door, stopping short where the biggest bird was perched on a chair. I started beating it with my pillow, it did not budge so I hit it harder and harder.  I heard “CAROL STOP IT. What are you doing?”  Charlie took the pillow out of my hands and wrapped his arms around me.

The sun was streaming in the window and a sandwich was scattered across the floor.

This fictitious story was brought to you by REM sleep disorder. Rapid Eye Movement is a stage of sleep when the body is paralyzed, and the person cannot move to act out their dreams.  Some people with Parkinson experience a disordered sleep cycle where they act out their dreams, mostly in a violent way.  For some folks, this behavior lead to their diagnosis.

Published by Carol Clupny, author The Ribbon of Road Ahead: One Woman's Remarkable Journey with Parkinson's Disease

I am a middle aged woman with Parkinson's Disease. When I was first diagnosed I spent a lot of time researching the disease. Seeing a video of a man in the advanced stages of the disease attempting to get out of his chair and then "freezing" as he tried to walk across the room got me off my butt and moving. Great adventures on the Camino de Santiago and with TEAM Pedaling for Parkinson's across IOWA, as well as the day to day adventures of life have lead me to writing. My first novel, a memoir, was published early 2019. It is called, you got it THE RIBBON OF ROAD AHEAD. Living with the degenerative neurological disease Parkinson's, ULTREIA is a word that guides me. I have chosen it as the name of my business ULTREIA BOOKS. It comes from Latin and old French and means "unfailing courage". In the old days, pilgrims would call "Ultreïa" to each other as encouragement "Go up, go further!" Nowadays we would say "You can do this thing". It takes courage to live with Parkinson's. May I face each day with unfailing courage. Ab Here is more about me; I was living an active lifestyle riding horses, hiking, climbing and snow skiing when at age fifty I was diagnosed with Parkinsons. Retiring from my career as a speech-language pathologist I decided to “take to the road” to battle the disease. My first steps, walking out her door to the mailbox, lead to trekking over 1000 miles of pilgrimage trails on the Camino de Santiago in France and Spain. A dusty bike discovered in the garage resulted in four rides on the Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa with the Pedaling for Parkinsons Team. These adventures inspired me to write a memoir The Ribbon of Road Ahead: One Woman’s Remarkable Journey with Parkinson’s Disease. I blogs about my everyday life as a middle-aged woman in the mid-stages of Parkinson’s disease. My honest, humorous, and casual narrative style brings the reader to an intimate understanding of my resilience and acceptance. My blog, sharing the name of my book ”The Ribbon of Road Ahead” can be found at After completing a Masters of Science in Speech Pathology from Eastern Washington University I received certification in School Leadership and Administration from Lewis and Clark College. I provided speech pathology services and later became a program director completing 32 years in the wide geographic expanse of eastern Oregon. Active in the Oregon Speech-Language and Hearing Association I received honors of the association and the presidential award for work on recruitment and retention of speech and hearing professionals. Il presented numerous papers and projects at local, state and regional professional conferences. I was appointed by Governor Ted Kulongoski to two terms of the Oregon Board of Examiners of Speech Pathology and Audiology, the state’s licensing and consumer protection agency. Since my diagnosis in 2008, I has become active in the Parkinson’s community as an advocate, an Ambassador for the Davis Phinney Foundation and support group facilitator for Parkinson's Resources of Oregon. I was appointed the regional patient representative for the Parkinson's Foundation’s Women with PD TALK study. In September of 2019 the Michael J Fox Foundation selected me to participate in the Parkinson’s Policy Forum in Washington DC. As an attendee at the World Parkinson Congress in 2016 in Portand, Oregon, I presnted a poster session examining the decision making process for patients considering deep brain stimulation. At the 2019 WPC in Kyoto, Japan I presented a poster on vision concerns of women with PD and lead small group discussions. Myr book The Ribbon of Road Ahead has provided many speaking opportunities for Carol. In 2019 and early 2020 she visited 24 support groups in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and California to share her thoughts on living well with the disease. In addition, she has presented talks for The Center on Aging in San Francisco, Parkinson's Place in Las Vegas, Northwest Parkinson's Foundation in Richland WA and virtually through their HOPE online program. In late 2020 I rejuvenated her voice and narrated her book. It became available as an audio book in 2021. As part of this project I read stories over the airwaves on RadioParkies Australia with DJ Madonna and in Great Britain with DJ Johnny Parky. She and her husband Charlie have two adult sons. They live on a small hobby farm in eastern Oregon. Contact Information: Carol Clupny PO BOX 128, Hermiston, OR 97838 (541) 720-4256

2 thoughts on “The Seagulls say “Goodnight”

  1. remembering trip to Mackinac Bridge/upper Michigan as gulls swarmed around, over, under everything. My mother-in-law loved them, me…not so much….like the movie The Birds. I won’t return to that. Dream on Cousin.

  2. Interesting story, i always loved to feed the gulls when on the beach, last place we stayed the hotel ask people not to feed the gulls as they made such a mess to have to clean up after.

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