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Thursday, 17 November 2011


By Mary B Summerlin who keeps a photostream at Flickr

Friends. A few weeks ago, I wrote Pain when I was really struggling. Since then, time has passed and I have different medicine and am feeling better. The severe pain is gone; now just regular pain and I can live with that (temporarily). The difference has allowed me to write the following.

* * *

Just when I decided that I’m a helpless old lady, something comes along to prove that there is spirit in the old girl yet. Last night at about 3AM when it was very dark, I found myself out on my back deck swinging a broom at an intruder. Let’s see, you need a little background on this.

For the past three nights my dog Rusty, who is my pet, protector and constant companion, has awakened me three to four times a night with furious excited barking. I slowly climb out of bed – I do everything slowly these days - and go to the study. There he is standing by the sliding glass doors poised to shoot through them like a bullet the minute I open the door.

I’m also slow deliberately because I really want whatever is out there to get away before Rusty gets there. I don’t want a fight, hurt animals, blood and such. So far we’ve been successful.

I knew our visitors were raccoons because the first night, they got into the bird seed that I keep on the deck in a sealed container – one I thought was secure. I bought bungee cords, fastened it again to make it double safe. Didn’t work, they chewed through the cord or just pulled it aside and opened the container.

Next step, I now bring the container inside every night. Problem solved. Oh no. Now the garbage looks and smells interesting. I had anticipated this and had put a heavy crock pot on top of the garbage can to make sure it was safe. Ha, they said as they knocked it off and broke it to smithereens.

That was one I really liked too. Of course, they scattered the garbage all over. I’m using bungee cords again and making sure I don’t put any food in the garbage. The food goes to the compost pile.

They seem to have just found me and just keep coming back. Each time I solve a problem and think that I am brilliant with my new and better solution, they outdo me. They just find another interest. Last night, it was the hanging bird feeders.

I also am naïve enough to think that once they have had a narrow escape from Rusty, they will stay away. Not so, they keep coming back. I think raccoons are cute and pretty. But, I tell you – their charm has worn off. Right now I’m just annoyed.

So for the third time last night, I let Rusty out. He’s off like a bullet, barking like crazy (wonder what the neighbors think). This time, he doesn’t just check out the deck and yard and come back inside wanting praise from me because he is such a wonderful dog. He just keeps barking.

I go to the door to try to determine what’s the problem now. I notice that he’s barking over by a lamp post that has a bird feeder hanging from it. I look carefully and there sitting atop the post is a big fat happy raccoon.

My timing was off when I let Rusty out – the raccoon didn’t make a get away. So now what? The raccoon can’t get down because Rusty is there and Rusty is not going anywhere while that raccoon is in sight and on his property.

It seems to me I’m going to have to do something. I manage to get Rusty off the deck and into the dog pen below. Now the raccoon can come down on the deck and get away. But the stupid, dumb, aggravating raccoon just sits there and looks at me. Doesn’t he know that I just threw him a lifeline? Evidently not!

Okay, a next step has to be taken. I know, I’ll get a broom and knock him off his perch. I’ll have to be careful, I don’t want to knock him into me and I make sure I have a straight and clear path to the sliding glass door.

All right, it seems safe enough until I visualize this sight and have an attack of the giggles.

Here it is at 3AM or thereabouts and this old lady is out on the dark deck in her nightgown swinging a broom at a raccoon. Why, it’s enough to make you laugh. I guess there’s some spirit left in me yet!

I push him off his perch, he begrudgingly comes down and ambles off. Rusty has now figured out that he was tricked and is fiercely barking to get up on the deck and at this monster. I let him up, the raccoon makes his getaway and Rusty and I go back inside and to bed.

Tonight is going to be more of the same thing. I’ve got to come up with a plan. These visits are just too much excitement.

[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


A great story, Mary. I think it is your best writing yet.Have always had a soft spot for raccoons in spite of the annoyance factor. We raised two--another story for another time!

Really enjoyed your story. You drew pictures in your writing that played on a screen in my mind.
Michigan Grandma

Mary - Wow! What a mood change.

The image of the fiercely barking Rusty, and you clad in your nightgown wielding a broom at 3 AM is hilarious. The poor raccoon doesn't have a chance. - Sandy

Mary: All that excitement keeps you young, the getting up and down is good for your body even if it hurts and the laughter is so good for your soul. But I know sleep is important so hope you can solve the problem.


Did you ever watch that Sears Optical commercial where the woman's eyesight is so bad she invites a raccoon into the house thinking it is her cat?

Please be sure to put your glasses on when Rusty starts barking at 3 A.M. so you don't do the same thing.

I laughed all the way through your story....

Thanks for enjoying this experience with me.

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