Remember the story about the raccoons, and how bad they were getting this year about tearing up the garage and terrorizing the chickens and guineas? Let’s just say it’s not the first time we’ve had to thin their numbers around the house. But doing so is not without its own difficulties, that’s for sure.
One fall when I was in Junior High, the raccoons were particularly bad, and Dad took to going out at night with the shotgun and spotlights in an attempt to save what few guineas we had left. I think it worked, but it did seem like the varmints were getting one last laugh at him.
Not one, not two, but three times in a matter of weeks did Dad take a shot at a raccoon and also manage to hit one of Mom’s innocent garden hoses, turning a perfectly good flower-waterer into a soaker hose for life. Not because he missed, oh no – it was more like the raccoon, knowing that it was a goner, would plant itself upon the nearest hose just for spite. Mom wouldn’t discover it until she turned the water on full blast, which was always fun for her and anyone within 20 yards who needed a shower that day. It seemed like every trip to the lumberyard also had to include buying Mom a new hose to replace the latest casualty.
Dad took it all in stride, at least, and he got some good story-telling mileage out of the whole thing whenever he got a chance. It was pretty funny to hear him tell how a raccoon could jump 12 feet from the top of the barn, do a perfect half-twist somersault, and land straddling a brand new coiled hose just as Dad squeezed the trigger. But by Christmas that year, and the insane amount of work on the ranch that comes with the colder weather, we had all pretty much forgotten about it.
Until he opened one unexpected gift, that is. The gift was from a friend who, in addition to understanding Dad’s sense of humor, also happened to be a shop teacher and woodworker. So that’s how the trophy garden hose came to grace my parents’ walls. There it hangs, in a place of honor, to this very day. I did blur out the name to protect the guilty.
There is no telling how many people have seen this and thought we really were a bunch of crazy hicks. And I’m not saying they would be wrong, no not at all.