Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Harrowing Tail

Warning, right off the bat.  Only you know if you're strong enough to take this story.  Not suitable for chidren under the age of 10.
So for starters, there’s this old Empire chest in the hall.  Yes, I know, my mother’s so-called craftsman once restored it by sticking on inappropriate Colonial hardware.  And the  veneer is chipping off. 
But it’s stood in the hall here for more than 60 years.  I’m not much given to setting up interior d├ęcor still lifes, but for some reason it’s pleasing to walk down the hall and pass this slab of mahogany with its not-really-Tiffany lamp, bit of old Oriental saddle bag and the oil lamp left there after an electric failure.
For decades the chest has been a catchall for gift-wrap supplies and old newspapers.  The messy big drawer holds purses I no longer carry, plastic supermarket bags, and…candy. That’s where I tuck candy to keep it out of sight and make sure I have to get up and walk over to get to it. 
So last week I ventured over, pulled out the big drawer, and – Hey!  Come On! –those chocolates were nibbled right down to the raspberry creme. Sorry,   I was too shook up to get a good picture.
This house does not have mice.  Or does it?  Mice don’t venture into Empire chests.  Or do they?
Well, I cleaned out the whole chest, for the first time in 60 years.  Amy came over -- no way I could have managed the bottom drawers.  We found  a beautifully embroidered linen pillowcase I swear I never saw before in my life. Norm’s original social security card with a very old address on it.  Lots of gift wrap.  An issue of LIFE magazine about John Kennedy’s funeral.
And in the newly cleared Big Drawer I set a mousetrap.  Did not bait it with chocolate – just a bit of cheese and some peanut butter.  Felt pretty efficient.  Forgot to worry about what I’d do if I caught a mouse.
So this morning, yes!  Victory!  Mouse in the trap!  I found the grabber (remember, I told you recently how handy grabbers are?) and set off for the hall, only to be stopped abruptly by  some loud thumps. 
That mouse was just resting.  It was not an ex-mouse.  It was a very much alive one, jumping around that newly emptied drawer trying hard to get free.
I tried to think of some painless way to kill the creature -- maybe spray it with something?  And I’m not sure I want to tell you the rest of the story, which involved phoning my brother-in-law, opening the front door to let him in, and not asking what he did with that mouse. 
I don’t know why I had to post all this. 
It won't particularly enlighten or amuse you. 
I just had to write about it.  Sorry about that.  I'm sorry abou the whole thing.   


  1. E. and I had a very similar experience, back when we were broke graduate students living in a summer sublet close to where the Carrier Dome now stands. I'll spare you and the Gentle Readers the gory details, except that I did try spraying the drawer with something, and it only slowed down the process rather than stopping it. E. had to dispose of the mouse and the trap when he came home (he was out teaching a course that evening).

    P.S. Odd how you and I, both brisk and competent women in most other aspects of our lives, had to call in the menfolk to dispose of the rodents. Hmmm....

  2. "...just resting". I caught that.