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Beware of flying fish and turtles!

Along with the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 also brought us, among other oddities, murder hornets as well as the mysterious appearance of a metal monolith in a Utah desert.

But that was last year. What strange things will 2021 have in store for us as we hopefully emerge from hiding from the pandemic?

How ‘bout a flying fish?

The Charlotte Observer reported on April 14 that video from a dash cam inside an 18-wheeler captured the precise moment when a fish worked its way free from the grasp of a bird.

The end result was the fish falling from the sky and smack dab into the driver’s side windshield of the 18-wheeler. Fortunately for the driver, the windshield didn’t break. But there was a slimy covering left behind.

According to the Charlotte Observer, the incident happened southeast of High Point where Interstate 73 crosses Randleman Lake in Randolph County.

Here’s another story about a flying creature that appeared along an interstate highway.

The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported earlier this month that a 71-year-old woman riding with her daughter on Interstate 95 suffered a gashed forehead when a turtle smashed through the windshield of their car, striking her.

The daughter pulled over and got help from another motorist. According to a 911 recording, both were surprised by what they found.

“There is a turtle in there,” the man can be overheard saying.

“A turtle!” the daughter exclaimed. “An actual turtle?”

Fortunately the older woman was not seriously hurt.

It’s believed that the turtle was likely crossing the interstate and got knocked into the air by another vehicle.

The turtle survived its brief and unexpected flight. The News-Journal reported that it had a few scratches on its shell and was released back into the nearby woods.

2021 has also bought us the COVID-19 vaccine. More than 216 million doses have been administered nationwide since its rollout. Meanwhile there have been approximately 68,000 adverse reactions reported to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA database show the majority of those reactions include low- to mid-grade fever along with body aches and pains, and fatigue. But there are also some not-so-average side effects, to include people saying they catch themselves staring off into space; others say they drooled more after getting the shot; while a handful said they yawned more than normal.

Then there are a few really odd reactions….one person said they were put in jail as a result of receiving the vaccine (which, by the way, isn’t against the law). One individual reported they fell off their bike after getting the shot; another stated they had “the inability to crawl.”

However, the oddest reaction to the vaccine was reported by 19 individuals….each saying they are now pregnant.

And then there are the really oddball stories of 2021.

Last week I read a story about a gender reveal party that sparked reports of an earthquake.

NBC 10 in Boston, Massachusetts reported that police in Kingston, New Hampshire – which is located very close to the Massachusetts border – received reports of an earth-shaking explosion earlier this month. The officers responded to the Torromeo Quarry where they found people who acknowledged holding a gender reveal party with explosives.

Their explosive of choice was 80 pounds of Tannerite (folks here in northeastern North Carolina should be somewhat familiar with that material as among its many uses is the destruction of beaver dams). In the case of the New Hampshire family, they figured it was safe to use in an isolated area to help reveal the gender identity of their unborn child. But even 80 pounds of aluminum powder (the main ingredient in Tannerite) is a bit much.

The TV station reported that nearby residents said the blast rocked their homes, knocking pictures off their walls and causing cracks in their foundations.

The person responsible for purchasing and detonating the explosives turned himself into police. Charges are pending.

Meanwhile, the South Florida SunSentinel reported last month that Courtney Wilson and Shenita Jones invited family and friends to their “dream home and estate” for a weekend wedding celebration: the ceremony on a Saturday followed by brunch on Sunday.

The suburban Fort Lauderdale estate had everything: a bowling alley, swimming pool with a waterfall, hot tub, tennis courts, a gazebo, and an 800-foot) bar.

However there a serious glitch….neither Courtney nor Shenita owned the estate or had they rented it for such a joyous occasion.

Nathan Finkel, the estate’s owner, said he was stunned when Wilson showed up that Saturday morning to set up. He called the cops.

“I have people trespassing on my property,” Finkel told a 911 dispatcher. “And they keep harassing me, calling me. They say they’re having a wedding here and it’s God’s message. I don’t know what’s going on. All I want is (for) it to stop. And they’re sitting at my property right at the front gate right now.”

Two officers told Wilson he would have to leave. He did and no charges were filed.

But there’s more to the story.

Finkel has been trying to sell the property for two years, now listing it for just over $5 million. Wilson, posing as a potential buyer, toured the estate several months ago, according to Keith Poliakoff, an attorney.

“A few months later, this guy asked Nathan if he could use Nathan’s backyard for his wedding,” Poliakoff said. “Nathan said no.”

But that didn’t stop the couple from sending out elaborate invitations, detailing their love story: reconnecting 30 years after high school and how he proposed over pizza on Christmas Eve. The Saturday afternoon ceremony would be followed by a red carpet cocktail hour and a reception lasting past midnight. Sunday brunch would be from noon to 4.

“The guy figured it was a vacant house and didn’t realize Nathan lived on the property in a different home,” Poliakoff said. “This guy had no idea he lived there. You know the shock that must have been on his face when he showed up at the gate and the owner was home?”

Hey….it’s only April; we still have plenty of days remaining for more odd happenings in 2021.

Cal Bryant is the Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at cal.bryant@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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