Tuesday, March 1, 2011

LAST OF THE GREAT HUNTERS

My parents moved out of Colorado in 1975 to a tiny little town called Green Forest, Arkansas: 120 acres of hilly ground. My Dad had always wanted to have a farm of some type.

So we packed up everything and I helped them move, then I came back to Denver, because I was 18 and full of wild oats. I needed to sow them oats. But that's a different story.

My Dad and Mom went whole hog, so to speak. They bought a few head of cows. Mom had them all named within a week. They got some chickens and Mom named them all, too. Then they got some pigs, and Mom named them. They put in a 100' by 100' garden, just for the two of them. Mom had no idea what she was in for.

So, those of you who have lived on a farm or ranch or in the country know what it takes to live that kind of life. (I wish I could do it myself right now.) There are all kinds of things that you have to put up with, and do, to make it all work.

Well, they had been farming for a few years and Mom was still getting used to being on a farm. The farm had grown. Cows, chickens, pigs, dogs, cats, and racoons, snakes, and mice -- just about any other type of critter you can think of.

One evening they were watching TV. The TV sat between two doorways. The doorways led to the bedrooms. As they were watching TV, this little mouse poked his head around the doorframe and looked about, then ducked back into the bedroom. About a minute later, he did it again, and then ran like the dickens, out of the bedroom, under the TV, and into the other bedroom, his little feet sliding on the tile floor as he ran.

Mom let out a screech, which made my Dad jump. He asked her what she was hollering about, and she told him about the mouse running under the TV. Dad said he would take care of it in the morning. So they settled down and kept watching TV. Pretty soon, the little mouse poked his head out of the room he had run to, and ducked back. About 30 seconds later, here he came, little feet sliding on the floor as before, under the TV and back into the room he had started from. Mom hollered again. And Dad jumped again. She made a comment about the mouse, and my Dad said he would take care of it.

This little mouse made about six different trips under the TV. Going back and forth from bedroom to bedroom. And Mom hollered each time. My Dad just sat there and kept watching TV. By then Mom was about to burst. She is one of those people who want things done, like NOW! So at the next commercial, my Dad got up and left the room. Mom went into the kitchen for some more hot tea. When she came back to set down, my Dad was in his chair, and had out his old 22 rifle.

He was seated in his recliner, with the foot rest up, the barrel of the rifle between his feet, and the butt of the rifle was in his lap. When Mom came in from the kitchen with her hot tea, she did not see the rifle in my Dad's lap. There they sat, watching TV. Pretty soon, the little mouse showed his face again, from the bedroom. My Dad was waiting, not watching TV. The mouse gave a leap, and he was off, under the TV, and into the other bedroom. Mom hollered, and my Dad said he would take care of it, and to quit the damn hollering every time the mouse showed up. Course, she lets out a little scream every time the phone rings (she's been a nervous type all these years).

As they were finishing up their show, the little mouse reappeared from the other bedroom and started his run under the TV. All of a sudden, there was a POP. Mom screamed and the mouse didn't make it to the other bedroom. My Dad had shot a mouse in the house!

No traps for this man. He is a man's man. (This is wear you are supposed to make a grunting noises like Tim Allen, from the show Tool Time.)

The rifle he used was as old as I am. It shoots 22 longs, shorts, and long rifle. He had loaded it up with one round of what is called rat shot. It is itty bitty, and I mean really small BBs. A few days after the great hunter had taken care of the rodent problem I got a phone call from Mom and Dad. Mom proceeded to tell me the whole story. And, of course, the great hunter did not say a word.

It was several weeks later that I made a trip to Mom and Dad's. The drive down was OK, except for crossing Kansas. It seems that it takes forever to get across. I would swear that I saw the same cow 5 times, and he was standing facing east every time. I think that they were longing for Colorado and the stock show.

When I pulled up to the house I had hardly gotten out of my car when I was grabbed by my Dad, dragged into the house, and made to get on my hands and knees to try to crawl under the TV. He was on his hands and knees with me, pointing to the base board on the right side of the TV. He had taken a pencil and circled the spot where he had done in the little mouse. As I was looking, I could see, just barely, the tiny little holes in the baseboard. Six little holes that looked like someone had poked the base board with a safety pin or something. He then proceeded to tell me, all over again, his side of the story.

It was pretty much the same as what Mom had said on the phone weeks before. But listening to him tell it, and the excitement in his voice, you would have thought that he had gone on safari or something. He was really proud of himself. 'Course so was Mom. And she told just about everyone she could get a hold of. I am sure that just about everyone in town knew about the great hunter. Plus, they never had any more mice in the house. In fact, the pack rat that lived in the wall by the front door must have moved out. My Dad said they never heard him any more in the wall after he got the mouse.

Mom still squeals at door bells, the phone ringing, and other noises. But she doesn't when there are mice around. I guess she finally got used to them on the farm. And my Dad has not been hunting for several years now. I guess that the mice in Loveland have heard of the great hunter, 'cause they haven't had any there!

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