Sunday, January 10, 2010

Mar's Famous Mouse Story

In a letter dated January 2, 1990, I wrote the following story to Bill Richardson when he was the “poet laureate” of the Vicki Gabereau show on CBC radio.  People were urged to send in stories from their lives and Bill would write a narrative doggerel poem to commemorate the event.  As I wrote my story, it was Bill's voice reading it that I could hear in my mind, and when it was subsequently broadcast  (Bill reading the story and Vicki's reactions) along with Bill’s poem, much mayhem and merriment ensued.  This was my 15 minutes of fame.  Bill told me later that folks asked him about this story for months.


Two years ago, I built a large chicken-wire covered enclosure for my previously “indoor-outdoor” cats.  This structure is for the cats’ security, keeping them away from the big, bad highway, nasty raccoons, neighborhood dogs and other hazards.  Cat doors and ramps allow them around-the-clock access to this safe and airy haven.  An unexpected side benefit is that my house is no longer festooned with dead or merely captured creatures (we’re talking mice, moles, frogs, snakes, birds, etc.).  In one year alone I managed to rescue one groggy frog, two baby snakes and one bright-eyed desperate oriole (which I found wedged between my mattress and my bedroom wall – but that is another story!).  Unfortunately, not all of these pre-enclosure stories have happy endings.

Three years ago I bought just the best pair of black high-top sneakers.  You know, the kind I wouldn’t have been caught dead wearing in the fifties because they were guy’s shoes?  Anyhow, I wore them in the summer and fall, and when winter came they were reluctantly retired to the closet floor to await spring.  At long last the snow melted, the slush receded, and, well, I didn’t think it was that wet out, so, yahoo!  On with the high-tops!

After four months of wearing heavy clunky snow boots, these sneakers felt like wings.  I danced through my day.  By the time I got home, OK, let’s face it, my sneakers were soaked, my socks were dripping, my feet were wrinkled.  Not quite sneaker weather yet.  So I hung everything to dry over a register:  socks, sneakers, and my Dr. Scholl’s leather and foam arch supports (the only reason I can wear the darn sneakers, which are so cool looking and have no arch support whatsoever!).

Several days passed.  I wanted to make sure everything was thoroughly dry.  In a burst of efficiency, I decided to ascertain that there were no twigs or stones or anything in the sneakers before I reinserted the arch supports.  I cleaned a little lint out of the first sneaker, picked a thread out of the foam on the first arch support, and voila!  Like new!  I glanced at the interior of the remaining sneaker and thought the insides had begun to unravel.  Then I noticed a dark stain on the foam pad of the second arch support.  I looked into the sneaker again, and no, it was not unraveling, what I found was a mouse.  A dead mouse.  A flat dead mouse.

To anticipate your next question, no, I have no idea how long I walked on that poor thing, but it sure was flat and also very stiff, and I sincerely hope it had already expired when my feline friend placed it (or lost it) under the arch support.  I expect the culprit was Baby Doe, a kitten-faced mighty hunter, who since the advent of the cat enclosure has been reduced to capturing June bugs, crickets and (ugh) earth worms.


This story is over 20 years old now and Baby Doe is of course long gone from this earth. A new mighty hunter, Siobhan (Shivvie) has taken her place.  Shivvie is the “mouse whisperer” - patiently luring rodents and even birds in through the chicken wire and thence to their doom.  I no longer take chances with shoe storage – none are stored anywhere near the floor!