Sunday, February 03, 2008

Mouse memories

For what it's worth, this is my 888th post. Just thought that was worth sharing.

Marc and I spent time today going through a few of the many boxes of stuff stored in our garage. We moved into this house almost three years ago. When we did, we took some of our stuff and a lot of stuff from my Mom and grandmother (both of whom had died the year before) and put it in the garage. The stated intention was to go through all of it ASAP. Three years later, we're actually getting to some of it.

In one box was a bit of family history: the Havahart mouse trap (yes, it appears that they still make them). It was addressed to this address (the house we moved into three years ago--after doing some work on it--is the house in which I grew up). The postmark date was Valentine's Day 1978. The name on the address label had been scratched out. In its place, in what clearly is my pre-teen writing, was "Marvin Mouse."

It all started with my Mom noticing tiny pieces missing from Jet's Gaines Burgers (Jet being our dog and Gaines Burgers a plastic-wrapped, hamburger-like dog food she ate). After this happened a few times, we realized that it wasn't some kind of recurring factory defect. No, we had a little visitor who was helping himself to some food.

I'm from a family of animal lovers. Killing is a last resort. So no snap traps here, and especially no cruel glue traps! Those things are horrible torture devices.

My parents ordered a Havahart trap. As the cutely spelled name suggests, it's humane. It is, in essence, a cage with doors that shut when a food tray in the middle is disturbed. When it arrived, the trap was set in the cabinet below the kitchen sink. It was there overnight, and my Dad checked it before he left for work in the morning. Nothing was in it.

When I got up a little while later (in those days, I naturally woke up early--how things have changed!), I looked. There, trapped in the cage, was a little mouse. As you can tell from the re-addressing of the box upon its arrival, we had already named the mouse Marvin, before we ever laid eyes on him.

So then the question was what to do with Marvin. It was mid-winter, and we didn't know how he'd do if he was released somewhere outside. To get some information (there was no Internet for us to use then, kids--heck, we didn't even have cordless telephones... can you imagine?! *grin*), we called the people at the Tackapausha Preserve. They told us that Marvin either would die in the cold or find his way back into our house (or another house, where he might not fare so well). Either result wouldn't be good.

So we took an old fish tank (sans water, of course) and got a mesh top for it, so he could live in it. Then we got him an exercise wheel, a bottle and various other mouse supplies. Marvin stayed with us (much to Jet's dismay) for a few months, growing to be a much larger, healthier mouse in that time. He actually took to the wheel, the bottle and the rest quite quickly and did well. Once winter was behind us (in April or later, as I recall), we took him to Tackapausha Preserve to be released.

When the top of the tank was removed, Marvin jumped right out and onto the grass. He ran a little, stopped (and, it seemed to us, looked back) and then went on into the preserve. By now, almost 30 years later, he probably has many thousands of descendants there. It's a much happier ending than many in this world.

Okay, the nasty old trap (which has caught other mice in other homes over the years, include a pair in our old place) went into the trash. But it did bring back memories of a more innocent time.


Side note: Yes, we're actually watching the Super Bowl. These things usually aren't great football games, but this one has been quite a nail-biter. My Dad left this earth almost 10 years ago (hard to believe, when I think about it), and he was a big Giants fan. He'd be loving this, especially with them playing against the undefeated, supposedly unstoppable Patriots. As I type this update to the post, the Giants just regained the lead. It's now 17-14 with 25 seconds remaining. Amazing.

Update: The Giants actually won! I hope heaven exists, Mom and Dad are there (as they should be) and Dad is watching the game. If he is, he's having a great time!


Shenida Weave said...

Before my ex-bf got the cat in the break-up, that was our mouse deterrent... I also can't bear to kill or torture the little guys, even though they scare the livin' bejeezus out of me!

So far, they haven't returned, even with the cat gone... but I think that's because my landlord's new cat is allowed to roam about outdoors and probably scares them all :)

BTW, I'm back from the blogging dead... same URL, new theme ;)

Patrick said...

I'm sure you're right, Marvin sired a dynasty.

I tried sending you an email through blogger, but it bounced back as a "no-reply' response. If you respond to this comment by hitting 'reply' though, you'll be able to contact me directly. I'd love to take you guys up on your lovely invitation.

CoffeeDog said...

What a cute story!

I remember Gaines burgers, our dog Missy got those :-)

Jess said...

Patrick (if you check back here): I can't reply via your comment. It has a no-reply blogger address. So here's mine with the @ and . spelled out to (hopefully) foil e-mail harvesting programs: jess466-at-optonline-dot-net