I'm taking the liberty of posting my mouse adventure, which I wrote about when I was in a Senior Writing Group. Hope GW, and you all, don't mind.
But if you do, just SOB. ;>)
Shakespeare wrote "My hair is white, but not from years; nor grew it white in a single night, as men's have grown through sudden fears." My hair didn't grow white from sudden fears, but I may have gotten my first tinge of gray that day many years ago when I was frightened by an animal. It appeared very unexpectedly and moved very quickly. I had to react as naturally as possible because my year-old baby was sitting there in her highchair and I didn't want to alarm her and create a sense of fear of animals in her.
I kept one eye on the intruder and continued to feed the baby, and talk with her. I eased myself up into a sitting position on top of the table, with my feet well off of the floor. While my eye was on him, I felt he had both eyes on me. I could hear the click of his claws as he crossed and recrossed the room. I wondered what caused him to be so brazen. Dinner was cooking on the stove. Was it the smell of the food? Had hunger driven him out into the light?
I was still sitting on the table when my husband came in from work. I suppose the sound of the door opening must have startled the trespasser, because he seemed to disappear at that moment. As new fathers usually do, my husband always spoke to the baby first when he came in. This time though, his attention was directed to me. "What are you doing, sitting on the table?" he said. He seemed to find the situation a lot more humorous than I did. My explanation made it even funnier to him. I told him to look in the pantry and see if the critter had gone in there. Ready to protect his family from all harm, he stepped to the door and looked around. There was nothing in sight. He picked up the dust mop that leaned against the wall in the corner of the pantry, and burst into laughter. I still sat on top of the table, not believing there was anything to laugh at. He turned to look at me, and said, "How long has it been since you used the dust mop?" Not only was he enjoying my misery, he was casting aspersions on my housekeeping!
He turned so I could see, and there under the mop was a nest of tiny, hairless pink babies. The gray, furry creature with the beady eyes and clacking claws that had held me hostage was no doubt the mother of these foundlings. But where was she now? Time has erased the details of the fate of these babies, but I definitely remember how we searched the house to find where the interloper had gotten in. Behind the dresser in our bedroom, we found a hole just the right size. It was patched securely and we had no more unwelcome four-legged guests.
That was my first personal encounter with a Vertebrata: Mammalia: Rodentia: Heteromyidae. How could I have been so terrified of such a little creature?
Did I think he/she would attack me and my child? I did what I could to protect myself and her. This tiny mother had done the same when she found a cosy, warm nest for her babies. Do you think she had secretly been watching me, and knew how seldom I used that dust mop? Animals aren't dumb. I suppose I am the one who at least looked dumb, perched on top of the kitchen table while one defenseless little mouse scuttled across the floor. Which one of us was the more fearful?
This incident lasted about thirty minutes. It took on a life of its own, though, as my husband told and retold it every chance he had. The part he liked best, of course, was in suggesting how long it had been since I used that dust mop!
That was many years ago. I still have not conquered my fear of a mouse.
Except, of course, the one that's attached to my computer!
© 2002 Sue Hamilton
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