Our small nieces visited us before Easter. The cousins played inside and out, and named some of the local animals (“Shaggy”, a pony, and “Tim”, a donkey, are two that I remember). We talked about animals we are afraid of – lions, tigers, and snakes. I told the children that I am afraid of rats. The boys and I had been listening to a recording of The Wind in the Willows for days, and of course I love Ratty – but I hadn’t connected him until then with real rats. Little did I know rats would come up again soon!
During our nieces’ stay we were locked out of the house by mistake. By this means I found that in addition to its other positive points, our house is difficult to break in to without smashing something. So I repaired to the neighbors’ to use their phone. I met three young people there, and one lent me his cell phone. I wasn’t able to reach anyone at first.
“Just leave it here when you’re done,” the young man said. “You can put it in the rat trap there.”
His companions’ faces froze in the paralysis that follows a bloomer. I could see from his face that he felt it too, but he carried on bravely.
“It doesn’t work, really,” he continued. “We’re basically just feeding him peanut butter.”
We all laughed a bit, and I thanked them and left. I hope I didn’t look shocked about the rat. Later I duly left the phone in the rat trap. It was as neat as a pin and looked to be the kind used for catch and release; so my neighbors are humane as well as kindly.
Finally, a tale of baby lions, not real ones fortunately. For history class last week our oldest read the story of Gilgamesh. I read the epic in college, but remembered almost none of it; so when I passed through the hall and heard, “…who was half man and half god,” I stopped and said, “Wait now, what? Who’s this?”
“Don’t worry, mom,” my son replied.” It’s just a story made up by the baby lions.”
“Yes, the Babylonians.”
So there you have it. More bulletins as events warrant.