Tom Lovejoy's Memories

 

Pet Raccoon

I think it was in '50 or '51 ... grandpa had a new '49Nash ... sooo fancy that we went to visit him for 2 weeks in Pembina.. Itwas late summer and hot .... but cool in the big old house he lived in.In the late afternoons it was fun to plop the big pillows on the couch inthe parlor room and watch the dust swirls in the sunlight coming in thewindows ... making eerie shapes and swirls contrasted against the darknessof the rest of the room .... it was just one of these late afternoons thatgrandpa was having his tea in the parlor that he spoke in low tones so grandmacould not overhear .... about the raccoon.

I had seen the dog's dish at the back door ... and seengrandma put food in it ... but had not seen what came to eat it ... andhad casually asked grandpa about it at tea .... finger to the lip so asto be quiet about it ... he explained the dish......

It seems that a car had hit a mother raccoon on one ofher trips searching for food ... and the babies had set out on their own.... one of them came strolling into the depot where grandpa worked andwas so starved that hunger had overtaken his fear ..... grandpa felt sosorry for the little fellow that he took him home and he became a "house"pet ..... allowed indoors .... he ate, slept, and played with grandpa everyday and became quite tame ... and was allowed the run of the house ....even grandma liked the little guy ..... and fed him special little treatsfrom time to time ... with also a special little blanket to sleep on ...he was quite pampered.

Now, if you have never had a raccoon for a pet..which mostof us never have ... you are not aware of their bad habits ... they becomevery possessive .. of the yard .. the house .. the car .. the garage .....anything that has your smell about it .... and some that don't as well.They try to keep any other animal away that might spoil their happy home... or steal their food ... with ferocity ... and also some humans .. thatthey don't like ... for reasons they and they alone know. But, they areterribly intelligent and learn just about any trick rapidly, and have phenomenalmemories for them.

They are also terribly curious .... this one trait is probablymore domineering than all the rest ... they just have to know ... abouteverything ....

Now grandma was a very generous woman ... but not a "rich"one in worldly possessions ... she had her very best china for those specialoccasions ... which I never ate off of ... and a small collection of teacupsand saucers ... put up high... on little stands that held the saucer upand tilted the teacup so one could see on the inside ... through the glass.... at the pattern IN the glass ... They were ultra fine china with goldedges around the cup and the saucer both ... and different colors and patterns... some roses, some scenes(coaches and horses) that kind of thing. Theywere kept on corner cases at the end of the dining room ... and every 12-14inches was another shelf with a cup and saucer displayed ... all the wayto the ceiling. Some of these, I was told in later years, had been broughtwith her from the old country and were part of her trousseau ... anyway,they were very important to her and were her very best "treasures"..

The raccoon had grown quite a bit from the little furballgrandpa had brought home in his pocket ..... now about 6 months old andweighed some 12-15 pounds or more .... about a medium sized dog, if youwill ... and as rambunctious and full of mischief as any teenager ... whichwas still o.k. with grandma ... as he brightened her days with his foolishness.... until that day.....

Grandma was doing her regular cleaning and dusting aroundthe house and quite engrossed in it all when something caught her eye ...out of place ... not where or how it should be in her house. At the verytop of the corner display shelves for her prized teacups and saucers ...a teacup had been moved...

Now in order to get to that top shelf ... for cleaning... she had to bring in a stepladder from out back in the shed ... so thereshe was on top of this ladder .. looking at her prized teacup .. that wasupside down instead of right side up ... and little paw prints in the duston the top shelf itself told her who the culprit was..

Down she came ... got her broom ... and drove the raccoonfrom the house ... right then and there ... never to return.

Grandpa told me to not ask her about it ... as she wasstill upset about it ... and that it had happened over a year ago ... butshe still fed the raccoon at the back steps ... regularly ... because sheloved him so....

Hope you liked the story .... Tom Lovejoy..

Hope you liked the story .... Tom Lovejoy