Wild Life Part 3
If an archaeologist ever digs along the bank of the Ossipee River he may find a puzzling artifact. Let me explain.
The A-Frame cabin backed by woods sits just above and facing the Ossipee. From the deck no other cabins are in view, just woods and barely moving river and the glorious deep blue of New Hampshire sky. Our personal retreat center. A get-away haven. Only problem, it was a 600-miles-away haven, just too far for frequent use.
My husband dispatched me to make the trek northward ahead of his vacation schedule in order to open it up for the season. Translation: clean everything, fill the fridge and get the beds made before the real vacation starts. Only two of our five boys were free to go with me at the time – camp and summer jobs kept the others from coming along.
Fifteen year old Kevin stepped into his role as “man of the house” in his father’s absence. Seriously responsible, he helped look after his little brother, then eight, who looked forward eagerly to delights of wood and water.
Low hanging branches brushed against the car as I drove up the curved lane. Pine needles covered the cabin roof and the driveway which was littered with a winter’s forest dropping as well. The boys bounded out of the car, running in all directions at once to work off miles and miles of stored energy while I climbed the steps to unlock the door.
Snapping on the light I surveyed the place. Yep, everything is just as we left it. Of course there was the stale air, the dust and a scattering of cob webs, but it wouldn’t take long to deal with that. I slid open the door overlooking the river and moved my favorite chair to the deck. Ah, the air up here is so restorative… but there is no time to linger on the deck. I corralled the troops to help unload the car.
It was then I saw the hole in the couch cushion. What? Who did that? What happened here? Oh no! Mice had gotten into the cabin and set up housekeeping in that safe, protected environment. There was no other sign of them, just a hole with stuffing removed. I concluded that they had just enjoyed winter within and now were long gone. The cushion was seriously ruined however; I would have to figure a way to restore the couch somehow.
While putting things in the cupboards I found a mousetrap! Maybe it would be a good idea to set it just in case the creature was still around. With no experience and with trembling fingers I loaded the trap with a choice piece of salami and set it on the kitchen floor.
We settled in with the boys in the bunk room upstairs and my bed made in the small room next to the kitchen down. It had been a long trip. I sank into bed with a happy sigh of contentment. Good day, job well done. I would be asleep in short order.
SNAP!! Oh heavens, oh dear. Kevin! Come here! I flipped the light switch and there was our mouse, in the trap, fully alive with just his hind quarters caught by the trap. He scrambled, or tried to, pulling the trap behind him like a draft horse working a farm field. Oh, Lord! Kevin had thundered down the stairs and joined me now watching this poor creature struggling across the kitchen floor.
Any normal family would have said, so what’s the problem. Step on it to kill it and end its misery. But there stood one very squeamish female and one kind-hearted boy with a heart of mercy. Neither of us could bear the thought of squashing this fellow who was working so hard to get free.
We have to DO something! This can’t go on. Oh, Lord. Squishing was rejected as an option. Gore on the floor? AAcck. At last the bright idea came. I swept the mouse, trap and all, into a dust pan to carry it out doors. We headed outside where the porch light shed its feeble light into the darkness. The soil in the Granite State is sand, easy to dig sand. Kevin dug a hole down through the needles into the earth below that was just big enough for our project. In went the trap still gripping a very alive mouse. Hurriedly we covered it over, tapping the covering dirt in place.
The dastardly deed was done. The philosophical ramifications of this solution to a problem can be discussed at your leisure. Really tired by now, we turned off the lights and went to bed.