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Friday, 30 July 2010

Charlie “Chuck” Brown

By Walt Grant

[Thanks to Olga Hebert whose Chuck Visits the Garden story here on the Storyteller site inspired this tale.]

One day our son Jim brought home a baby woodchuck which he had found beside a mother woodchuck who had been shot. He fed the youngster with a doll bottle and nursed him along until he could eat solid food.

We named him Charlie Brown and called him Chuck. He grew up in the house along with a young dog named Julie. They spent many happy hours playing together both inside and outside the house.

Woodchucks make good house pets. Their droppings consist of small odorless pellets which are easily swept up. They eat almost everything from grass to crackers and cookies. Few food leftovers went to waste with Chuck around.

He also quickly learned how to open any unlatched door in the house. He never pushed a door shut when he wanted to pull it open and vice versa. He clearly understood the concept of doors and hinges.

He went anywhere he wanted in the house and made his home in any quiet space that pleased him. He moved often from a closet to the space behind or under a bureau or to an empty shoebox as his spirit moved him. He was always friendly and willing to play with everybody.

After his first winter inside he moved out to the back yard where he built himself an underground home. In typical woodchuck fashion the burrow had two separate entrances about 15 or 20 feet apart.

Chuck and Julie spent hours playing a game in the yard. They would wrestle for a while and then Chuck would bolt into one of his two holes. Julie would follow and wait at the hole where Chuck had disappeared. Chuck would exit at his other hole and creep up on the dog and nip at her tail.

Soon Julie caught on to the trick and started waiting at whichever hole the woodchuck hadn’t entered. Chuck changed his routine; he always crept out of whichever hole the dog was not watching regardless of where he had entered.

They played this game all summer and poor Julie never found a strategy that foiled Chuck from sneaking out and nipping her tail.

At the end of the summer, Chuck hibernated in his new quarters. The following spring he stayed for a few weeks and then apparently eloped with some cute female woodchuck. We never saw him again. But we have never forgotten him.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Isn't it wonderful how a shared memory can elicit other memories? Thanks to both Olga and Walt for great woodchuck stories.

Thanks for another perspective on woodchucks. They are cute out in the field, not so much in my garden.

Walt, you've just written a story for children--how about some illustrations?

I agree with Aunt Ann. This would be a splendid children's book.

I love it. I can just see Chuch and Julie playing. What fun. Thank you.

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