As a believer that humor is as vital to good health and a good life as air to breath and food to eat, I’m a huge advocate of laughing often and heartily. While possible that I’m not nearly as funny as I think I am, I laugh frequently and certainly do enough silly things to create opportunities for others to get their daily quota. Seemingly the frequency that I find myself laughing at the stupid things I do is growing and I bring this all up now and here because I recently had one of those moments of intense laughter at my own expense and realized that they seem often to involve animals of some sort.
First let me clarify what I mean be laughter. I’m not talking about a giggle or chuckle but the uproarious kind that shakes your entire body, leaves your stomach muscles sore the next day and you wondering why, has tears streaming down your face and milk squirting out your nose kind of laughter! And of course for the snorters out there, pig-like snorting too. I’m not a snorter ordinarily, but you know who you are.
Just the other night, I found myself alone in the yard laughing at myself so uncontrollably at my attempt to catch my neighbor’s escapee chicken, I just had to share it. That night’s comedy in animal adventures involved the newly acquired adolescent laying hen named Melanie. She’d be named “damn chicken” if Anna Earl hadn’t named her sight unseen and as yet, she still hasn’t seen her since she’s back to hiding under the chicken coop. Anyway, Melanie obviously had a death wish because when she finally decided to show herself, she choose to fly the coop or the chicken yard just minutes before 11 dogs (some mine, some my neighbors and one a guest) came walking past. The startling thing is that rounding up the 11 dogs without a single one even seeing Melanie was much easier than rounding up one silly ass rogue chicken.
It was growing dark and my great concern was that I’d lose her in the dark. As if that was not enough, it began to rain. As I lunged and ran and leapt and tossed my make-shift chicken capturing net (the shirt off my back) in the direction of Melanie, I was exasperated. Melanie, who one moment was strutting about lackadaisically and the next running like the roadrunner, showed no interest in returning to the coop any time soon.
Finally ceasing my frantic exploits when they proved futile and finally stopping laughing at the ridiculousness of my attempts, the blood flow returned to my brain. This permitted me to develop a more reasonable approach that didn’t involve getting Rocky to catch the chicken with his bare hands at the urging of “Mickey” (you’ll have to be over 50 to get that one) or to borrow a shotgun from my friend Cathy. And a few minutes later with the assistance of a dog playpen and a little patience, Melanie was safely ensconced in her yard.
Such exploits are not even unusual any more. What replaced my 9 handicap in golf and my Monday and Wednesday night tennis games are things like chasing chickens. And awakening to find odd wildlife sharing my bedroom.
The night before the chicken incident, I awoke at 2 a.m. to Autumn and Penny (2 of my dogs) on high alert in my bedroom. Certainly not to a potential intruder of the human kind. But rather the clear indication was that some foreign and uninvited creature was in our midst. The interesting thing was I rolled over and went back to sleep.
I would have totally forgotten about the incident and unknown creature had Abby not trotted out of the bedroom the next morning with a dead field mouse in her mouth. Assuredly she had nothing to do with catching it as she slept like a brick (a 40 lb. brick) on top of me all night. She was somehow just the lucky recipient of the handiwork of others. And of course there was the dead possum I woke up to one night to find “sleeping” on the other side of the bed that I mistook for one of my cats. And the live possum that strolled through the living room one night after being carried in by one of the dogs through the dog door. I must have been a hilarious site standing naked on a kitchen bar stool at 2 a.m. with a broom in one hand and my cell phone in the other.
An all-time favorite occurred when I was out of town and my friend and dog sitter Kim Davis called frantically because apparently one of the cats (they are ALWAYS blamed for bringing in the critters through the dog door) had deposited a live flying squirrel in my pantry. Kim was hysterical in fear. I was hysterical laughing at her in fear. As I shared my secret of small creature hunting which involve a rubber trashcan, a broom and a towel, she assembled the tools of the trade and ventured in after calling in reinforcements in the form of Debbie Hines. And sure enough in no time she’d have the little demon in the can. Yet she failed to follow my instructions to the letter and forgot the towel over the top of the can part. Big mistake. Huge!
Lacking any real sensitivity, I laughed until I peed as I overheard her panicked screams when the little guy flew out of the trash can and in her direction. I told her to cover it with a towel for good reason and out of personal experience.
While it wasn’t the least big funny then, I can laugh now about the bat that was swooping around my bedroom one stormy night, as I buried my head beneath the blankets. For all I know the bat is still living with me as I never saw it again and I didn’t come out from under the blankets until morning. I hope he’s happy wherever he is. When I called the exterminator the next day and he assured me that if I didn’t see the bat it had gone out the same way it came in. I told him I’d keep his number just in case. Three years later, I still have his number. You never know.
As it appears that this is the summer of the snake, I must admit I don’t find them much of a laughing matter at the moment. But as always, eventually I can look back and laugh at even some of my snake adventures.
Like many years ago when I found myself on the outside of my bedroom door wearing only a slip when I’d discovered a tiny garter snake in my bedroom as I got ready for work one morning. As I stood there with my hand firmly clamping the door shut, as if the 10 inch earthworm sized snake would somehow manage to wrestle the door from my grasp from within, I would eventually realize it was ridiculous to leave the snake unattended. While selling the house did come to mind as a possible solution, I would need to get dressed before calling the real estate agent. And with all my clothes inside the room with Mr. Snake, I had little option but to venture back inside. Seems wise now that I would maintain visual contact with him or like the bat, he might still be living curled up inside my box springs
These are the moments I always think “this is why I need a husband”. That and dresses with zippers in the back. If a mongoose could work a zipper, I’d opt for one of those but I digress again.
I would eventually brave the capture of Mr. Snake and relocate him outdoors. Not to Montana as I’d prefer, but at least not in my house.
These are but a few of such stories of the adventures inside my “dog door” and while I now attempt to do a nightly “lock down” to minimize the wild animal traffic, it seems highly likely with the plethora of dogs and cats and chickens and other critters surrounding me, these are not the last. My goals are set pretty low these days. Keep the chickens in the yard and keep the critters outside. Beyond that, anything is possible and everything eventually laughable. I hope.
And yes, I did say a dead possum in my bed.
Categories: Feel Good