Sunday, February 1, 2015


We were seated alphabetically in sixth grade, and our homeroom was also our math and science class. That's how I got to spend so much time with Bobby Shaffer, a little twerp with a dirty blond bowl cut. His dad was my brother's little league coach, and father and son were both bullies on the diamond.

The classroom was not Bobby's field of dreams however, so he was a little humbler there, but still pretty scrappy. I remember one day overhearing him tell someone the mnemonic he used to spell arithmetic, a rat in Tom's house might eat Tom's ice cream.

It impressed me at the time, and to be honest I can't hear the word without thinking of that boy and that sentence. I never really considered the scenario, though. What kind of rat would be so aggressive as to assail your freezer? Or worse, come at you when you were eating dessert? Poor Tom! And why Tom, not Ted or Terry or Tim?

This morning all of these questions finally surfaced when, out walking the dog, I heard a dreadful banging in the trash enclosure up the hill. Something was clearly stuck in one of the heavy-lidded plastic rolling cans lined up within, maybe a raccoon or squirrel. I took Isabel back to the house and called on Heidi for back-up.

Armed with a broom and the long-handled garden tool known as a cobra, I held the stockade door open as Heidi lifted the lid with the broom. A brown rat scurried out and away from us, then through the fence and into the woods. As scrappy as it was, too, I was ambivalent about saving its pestilent life, but I was glad to have prevented one of our neighbors from the ugly shock of freeing a trapped rat when they lifted the lid to deposit their garbage.

Mission accomplished, I wondered as we headed home what a rat in Tracey's house might do and crossed my fingers to never find out.

No comments:

Post a Comment