Of Mice and Men

roden secret agentWhat is it about a mouse that provokes fear in the house? The classic story “Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse” is considered a comforting bedtime tale even though the house had a mouse! Walt Disney’s beloved Mickey has been entertaining generations of fans since the 50’s.  And yet, the site of a little mouse in our house recently made three women jump on chairs!

On the other hand, hamsters are cuddly. When my son Jimmy was just 4 years old he brought home his Pre-K class hamster for a weekend and used his building blocks to create quite an estate for the little guy. That prompted a request for a permanent hamster and we started our series of dwarf hamsters for what seemed to be an eternity. The first one was named Joe and we created a series of imaginary adventures beginning with the story Once upon a time, but not so long ago, there lived a special hamster named 00Joe (double O Joe).  OOJoe fought dinosaurs and bad guys of every kind.  Agent 007 was his role model. In fact, Jimmy once asked me why I didn’t name him James Bond, instead of James Patrick.

Jimmy loved Joe and was sad when he passed away at the ripe old age of one, I believe. We said a few prayers and buried him in a hot dog roll in the backyard. After another trip to the pet store, we adopted Rocket, an albino dwarf hamster with bright red eyes. Jimmy patriotically named him after the Star Spangled Banner’s verse “and the rocket’s red glare”. Unfortunately, Rocket did not have Joe’s easy going personality and did not like to be played with or held. He was the black sheep of our hamster family.

Our last and most surprising hamster was named Jack, after Jimmy’s grandfather. One morning Jimmy called me to the cage and insisted he heard noises coming from under Jack. He nudged Jack to move and lo and behold there were 5 baby hamsters! Jack quickly became Jackie and we returned to the pet store for advice. After a bit of time, we were able to find good homes for all of the babies.  The End of the Hamster Saga.

Back to the mouse in the house. My mother, my aunt and I all screamed together and lifted our legs in the air when a little black mouse scurried by our feet a few weeks ago while we were visiting our vacation house in New Hampshire. My sweet 87 year old mother began plotting ways to kill the mouse. She decided a trap was too messy and that poison would be the preferred path. Tins of Decon were strategically placed around the house. Fortunately, we left the next day without another sighting of the mouse. My sister Nancy and her husband Steve flew in from California to spend a lovely week by the lake and, of course, the first thing that greeted them on the mantle over the fireplace was the little black mouse – dead!  I felt relieved and sad at the same time.

I will be taking my mom back up this summer and someone has told her about a new and improved way to kill mice. She is on a crusade to locate this new product. What is it about a mouse that makes even a gentle mother and grandmother homicidal?


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