Surviving in the wild kingdom

Most of us have heard the proverb: “Some people make things happen, some watch things happen, while others wonder what has happened.”
Of late, I’ve come to think all three parts of this basic truth are the three “stooges” of life that perpetuate my neck of the woods just about every weekend as two dogs, a cat, a skunk, a squirrel, a raccoon, a mouse, and me vie for property and territorial rights of way.
And just when I thought my farmhouse days were entering a placid phase, where plumbing worked and spiders were on winter holidays, the lock on my bedroom door seized up before I could get it open and let outside the canine in desperate need of a trip to the “poo loo” in the middle of the night.
One thing’s for sure. Life is never boring at my house.
But let’s get back to the proverb.
“Some people make things happen.”
I didn’t used to think that were true. In fact, I spent many “dah” years believing only other people could do that and blamed them for doing it to me. Then, in a light bulb moment, I figured it out.
As the legendary African-American singer Lena Horne once said, “I’m a late bloomer . . . 20 years ago, I never opened my mouth to tell them how I felt or thought.”
But maybe I should have used some restraint in being the “people to make things happen” department when I let “Cash” outside into the evening darkness thinking his leftover energy from the day would get used up before bedtime.
I should never have said, “Go get the cat!” as he bounded into the black night. Unbeknownst to me, “Ozzie” was on my bed, pulling the goose down out of my duvet as he sharpened his claws.
With “Cash” outside, I closed the door and resumed “mother’s quiet time,” bereft of the prediction I’d made (albeit for “Dot”) in another column early last month.
So it came to pass that a small black mammal with a white stripe on its back did, indeed, have a foul engagement with the family pet.
And when it came time to call “Cash” back in from his backyard romp, I ricocheted back and forth from being the “people to watch things happen” and the “people to wonder what happened” as Cash repeatedly dove and slid headfirst into the skiff of fresh snow Mother Nature had left on the ground outside.
With a bewildered “Spock-like” eyebrow twitching, I couldn’t seem to wrap my brain around what the @#!%! he was doing until my nostrils caught wind of it all.
Then, life fast-forwarded to a scene from “Old Yeller” when, to preserve my sanity and his hide, “Cash” got locked up in his kennel for the rest of the night—with the look of “huh?” following me back to the house.
The next day, he thought he died and gone to heaven as he was allowed to run around the yard free of charge—a dog owner’s hope riding high that fresh air would eradicate the stink.
Yet again, ye olde proverb came back to haunt me.
One more time, I bounced back and forth between “people to watch things happen” and the “people to wonder what happened” as I heard “Cash” barking in support as “Dot” chewed at the underbelly of my truck, yipping and yapping at an unknown intruder.
I strained to get a hint of what the $#@!%! she was doing, as visions of teeth marks in my gas tank flashed by. Then I heard it—the angry “chee chee” of a squirrel.
I switched to my “people who make things happen” mode, grabbed the truck keys, shouted at the dogs to get out of the way, and started the engine.
My rationale was to drive around the barn and dislodge the little rodent (well, at the time it seemed like a far better plan that letting the dog rip off pieces of my truck).
What a hoot bombing my four-wheel drive vehicle over rough terrain in the back field—traces of testosterone kicking in. I charged the speed bumps of the old field and around the barn, sure the squirrel had been dislodged and sent fleeing to the neighbor’s house.
I pulled the truck up in front of the garage and got out, pumped up from my brush with the Indy 500. The squirrel was gone—and my next paycheck was, too. The muffler and tail pipe had both unhinged.
As if that wasn’t enough for one day, I still hadn’t met the raccoon or the mouse.
But that’s another story.

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