Thursday, August 20, 2009


I began composing this Post while barricaded with my wife in our own kitchen. We were cowering in fear. No, Howard Rieger and Joe Kanfer weren't at the door. Let me explain...

Our home is in/on a beautiful ravine not far from Lake Michigan. Periodically we see herds of deer on our property. We have had multiple generations of raccoons finding every possible way to raid our garbage -- as we keep Kosher at home, they lose interest quickly. For two winters in a row, platoons of skunk (is the plural of "skunk" "skunks?") infested a crawl space beneath our den with obvious and odious consequences. We have witnessed the results of the work of "professionals in the (skunk) eradication field," who literally trapped tens of this vermin each winter, put them out of their and our misery. Ultimately they installed a fence around our den foundation, ending that problem.

Now, that didn't stop periodic visits from raccoons so clever one would raise the strap pinning the lids of our garbage cans, while the mishpacha raccoon would probe the detritus in the cans. We solved that problem with a multi-million dollar shed to hold our garbage cans in a locked vault. Even today we see stags in our ravine, families of fox, and, worse, a coyote or two. We have had to call our town's Game Warden (yes, we have one) to come over and trap what turned out to be a possum -- charming animal.

So, back to us cowering in our kitchen. Doors are closed. I had been in our den, turned on the TV, when I heard a noise behind me. I turned and there, in my own house, a large squirrel strolling across the top of our sofa, walking toward the picture windows. I yelled "SQUIRREL" (or, maybe it was "oh, shit") and ran out the den, forgetting to close the den doors as the squirrel raced around the den trying to avoid me. I raced to the kitchen and shut that door as my wife, Bobbi, announced: "Squirrels, I hate squirrels." (It was only later that she told me, for the first time in 47 years of marriage, of her childhood encounter with a squirrel.)
Bobbi called the Game Warden. While he actually works for our town, he has been to our house so often we call him "our Game Warden." On the night we moved into our home 38 years ago, sleeping in our then new bedroom, we heard a swishing noise and a periodic "tinkle." I woke up in a fog, and grabbed my tennis racket -- for it was a BAT circling our ceiling and chandelier. After 20 minutes of futility, while my kids roared in laughter, we called -- yes, the Game Warden. He was 38 years younger then but... same guy. He came to our home in the dark of night -- without a net or anything else. Said: "I never trapped a bat before." He asked me if I had a baseball glove and with glove in one hand and my tennis racket in the other, he fearlessly (I think) entered our bedroom, shut the door behind him. We heard the windows being opened and some shouting, then...silence. Vampires??? Moments later, our Game Warden opened the door to our bedroom and announced that we were saved -- the bat had left the building. (To this day I am convinced that bat is still somewhere in this house.)

So the Game Warden arrived. This time he had his own net. He gave us a warm greeting, we're old and dear friends, and entered our den, quickly finding the squirrel cowering in the corner behind a large. solid table. He ordered Bobbi and me to stations outside the den, to close a bunch of doors, but open our front door. With his net he swooped down on the squirrel which ran into our living room toward a bay window, thinking that was its escape. Giggling now, our Game Warden "got the squirrel" in his net, ran to the front door and threw it into our yard. With a wave good-bye, our hero was gone...but surely he will be back. Unless we move.

Thanks for listening. Another adventure in ravine living.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hopefully the squirrel wasn't so traumatized by the experience that he won't be able to keep commenting here.