Bats in the Belfry?

At the end of an exceptionally spiritual Sacrament meeting yesterday, we had an unexpected visitor. Our choir was finishing up a powerful rendition of “He Is Risen,” when I spotted something black flying over the congregation.

“Is that a bat or a bird?” I asked the person standing next to me. She laughed and assured me that it was just a bird. It circled around a few more times as the bishopric member stood up to conclude the meeting and announce the closing prayer. The third loop through the chapel confirmed what I initially thought: it was a bat!

(We have no bells in our chapel, but I couldn’t resist the post title.)

The congregation was in an uproar. Adults were trying to duck for cover as the poor creature swooped down while most children were jumping out of their seats trying to catch it. Forget reverence! Who can pay attention when there’s a flying mammal in the room? The closing prayer began as people reluctantly bowed their heads. Most seemed to listen with at least one eye open.

I was no model of reverence either. Sitting on the choir stand, I had full view of the entire scene. Warren and his best friend, Justin, were some of the leaders in the bat capturing efforts. The organist kept emitting little stifled shrieks and quickly ducked numerous times, which I later found out stemmed from a previous traumatic bat-landing experience. Another friend had the look of fear in her eyes. She seemed certain that the thing would eventually attach itself to her head. All this combined to make it impossible for me to remain focused. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed through a prayer before. Forgive me.

When the meeting ended and the people fled to Sunday School, Colin stayed behind to take care of business. You’ll remember his wasp extermination stint with our friend, Dave. Colin is no stranger to animal capture/rescue. As a youth, he single handedly wore out a hummingbird in order to examine it, but later kindly rehabilitated it with some Capri Sun and set it free. Other wild animal captures include snakes (two of which were rattlers), lizards, frogs, turtles, mice, rabbits, tarantulas, and he once chased a moose on his bike. This event would make the 3rd bat apprehension to date. In this case, as expected, he was in the middle of the capturing process. After herding the bat into the cultural hall, he chased it around with a plastic bag until he and another man could trap it. They deposited the poor thing outside in a nearby tree. The Bishopric referred to him as “Batman” the remainder of the meetings.

I’m sure we’ll remember this Sacrament Meeting for years to come.

11 thoughts on “Bats in the Belfry?”

  1. Any other Sacrament meeting and that bat would have had a chance! Impressive record Colin!! Can you come do something about our neighbor’s dog, who doesn’t generally bark except for 5 am every morning??

  2. HAHAHAHA, nice. I’ll have to email you our story with the mouse in the house. Luke was not nearly as forgiving or kind as Colin post capture.

  3. Wow, 3rd bat apprehension? Tell Colin I am seriously impressed. It’s really too bad they don’t tape regular sacrament meetings… I’m so glad you did the story justice with good descriptions!

  4. Awesomest post about Goleta Valley ward EVER. I’m going to link to it on my blog, if you don’t mind. Because, seriously, what makes a better leap from “risen from the dead” to “undead” than a bat?

  5. Okay so I am so thankful that you posted this since I missed out!

    Steve told me Colin asked him to help corral the bat and I said “what did you say?” to which he replied “I said no!”

    I told him he was no Dwight Schrute. Glad to hear that Colin found another co-conspirator.

  6. Wow, I can’t believe it’s been a year since this event. We still talk about it. I just read your post to the Draneys! And the men agree they need to know more specifics about Colin’s apprehension technique. How exactly did they “herd the bat”? And how did they get it low enough to get it in a plastic bag? Especially in a cultural hall with such high ceilings? Maybe a story for a warm September night :).

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