Total Pageviews

Friday, January 7, 2011

"I hate those meeces to pieces"--Felix the Cat

Tina, you did it again! Your blogpost about mice jarred a couple of memories of my own. As I read about Lincoln having a mouse run up his leg under his pants, I was gripped with a shiver that perceptibly shook me from head to foot.

I recall an incident when I was about 8 years old. My Dad was moving his giant stack of cement forms from one place on our property to another. He had Jim and me out helping, though I can't imagine we were much help. Our brainless Labrador Retriever, Tinker, was running around the fields biting at the air and acting stupid. Dad had set up the new location so the forms could be 10-12 inches off the ground and we were shifting the large, heavy, cement-encrusted and oil-drenched boards from one pile to the next. When we got to the last one in the old pile, Dad pried up the corner and a mouse streaked away into the weeds. As he lifted the form higher, the sound of high-pitched baby animal cries came to my ears. Dad yanked the board onto its edge and revealed a large nest in the ground with about 10 little, nearly-naked mice in it. I was horrified and jumped away at first, but then I bent over to look at them closer. They were encased is a nest lined with all kinds of soft bits and pieces: dried grass, feathers, old fabric fibers, etc. The babies all had their little heads raised and must have been blinded by the sunlight streaming in on them. I had just caught my breath and started to comment about how cute they were when my Dad called to Tinker and she bounded over to us, caught sight of the nest and gulped the baby mice down it two or three swallows. My revulsion was beyond bearing. I fled into the house howling at the top of my lungs. My Mother rushed to my room to decipher what could cause such a demonstration. Between sobs I told her the whole, ugly story. It was one of the few times in my youth I remember my Mom scolding my dad about something he had done. She gave him an earful about his ruthless behavior and how it would scar me for life.

The mental pictures from that day are indelibly stamped on my brain, but I almost feel the same about another mouse event which I didn’t witness, just heard about.

Rob’s Mom, Mimi, had been widowed and living alone for about 6 years when she had an infestation of mice at her house. Being innovative and never wanting to ask for help, she fashioned a homemade trap by lining up peanuts on a shelf in her storage room and then putting a handful of peanuts in a deep, narrow garbage can. The next morning she had seven (YES, 7!) mice caught in her trap. She said they were all climbing over each other and trying to claw up the sides of the can without success. Her dilemma became: “what do I do now?”

She decided to carry the can outside and to dump the mice into her garbage dumpster. She carefully carried the can up the stairs, but as she shifted the can to open her sliding glass door onto the deck, she must have tilted it enough for one mouse to claw up to the top of the can, onto her hand, up her arm, then it leapt from her shoulder onto the decking and dashed away. It freaked her out so much; she changed her plans for the remaining six mice. She dumped them into a heavy garbage bag, tied the top and used her gardening hoe to chop those ‘meeces to pieces’.

Mimi was 83 years old when she had this experience. She related the event to us as she showed us the shelf, the can, walked us out onto the deck and held up the little, short-handled hoe saying, “This is the murder weapon.” We’ve all had shivers and giggles over our little Mimi as the vicious mouse murderer.

Recently, I re-read Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nihm. I read it to my children years ago when they were small, but it was on our 2009 Book Club list so I read it again. It gave me a different perspective about mice and rats, but I will still never stop recoiling at the thought of a mouse climbing on me OR being eaten alive. I totally relate to Felix the Cat.


Tina said...

Very interesting and funny post! I don't know if I could have chopped up those mice! Once we had a hampster that was so sickly it lost all of it's hair. Neither Lincoln or I could put it to death. Lincoln finally took it out and let it go in a field. We would joke about all the mutant hamsters that were probably bred from that sickly thing . . .

Dean and Sheri said...

Oh I just felt aweful reading about you witnessing Tinker gobble up those little baby mice. BUT...I laughed out loud when I read "This is the murder weapon." That Mimi of yours must be a real corker!