I was sitting in my chair going through a large cookbook that had belonged to my grandmother when the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage came into the room.
"Are you reading a cookbook?" she asked.
Let me stop here and just start from the beginning.
It all started several months ago when my wife and I tucked ourselves in for a nice evening sleep. I had just gotten to the point where I was ready to drift off into la-la-land when I felt a sharp pain in my right rib cage. Ever since God created Eve from one of Adam's ribs, wives have been poking men in this delicate part of his anatomy.
"Did you hear that noise?" she whispered.
My only sensation at the time was the pain in my right rib cage. I began to say something and then she shouted in my ear, "shhhhh. There it is again."
When the buzzing in my ear subsided, I began to hear the sound that had alarmed her so. It was a faint scratching noise coming from the ceiling. Straining our ears, we could not determine what was making that noise. I suggested it was a snake and my wife hit me with her pillow. I am so glad the nightlight is on the stand on my side of the bed, far from her reach.
The scratching continued all night long as well as the guessing as to the nature of the scratching. Our guessing ranged from my snake (which I only mentioned once for obvious reasons) to mice and then to termites.
During the next few days, the scratching not only continued but also seemed to accelerate. By this time, it sounded like a dance party going on in our attic every evening. It was then that the ultimatum came to Yours Truly.
"If you don't do something about that noise in the attic," my wife stated most emphatically, "I'm going to know the reason why."
Ultimatums like this do not really make sense, at least to me.
I could do several things about the noise in the attic. For one I could ignore it. However, if I ignore it I am quite sure my wife will not ignore me.
After vigorous investigation on my part, I discovered the source of all that noise in the attic. We had been invaded by, of all things, squirrels. I made this discovery quite by accident.
It was right after supper I was out in the backyard doing something and I noticed a squirrel running towards our house. I did not pay too much attention to it and then the squirrel ran up the wall of our house and disappeared under the eaves. Upon investigation, I discovered a small hole at that part of our house.
When some people look at squirrels, they see a cute fluffy little critter.
When I see a squirrel, I see a terrorist.
Now that I knew what the noise in the attic was, I set about to deal with it. The first thing I did was patch up the hole allowing the squirrels access to my attic. With all the confidence of a husband who is basically insane, I reported to my wife that I had solved our noise "in the attic" problem.
I love it when a plan comes together.
That night I planned to have the first quiet night in about a month. As soon as we settled down the noise in the attic began.
The next they I discovered the squirrels had dug out the hole and resumed their access to our attic. I fixed them by filling that hole with Brillo pads from the kitchen.
They fixed me by digging out all those Brillo pads.
Somebody told me squirrels hate mothballs and if I put mothballs in the attic, they would stay away.
I did it and all night long the squirrels played marbles with those mothballs.
Some people say squirrels are very smart. However, don't you believe it. They think every night is Saturday and they have a dance party every night.
I must say I am not into dance. I have biblical feet when it comes to dancing. My left foot never knows what my right foot is doing.
I have tried everything to deal with this squirrel in the attic problem.
I tried reasoning with them.
"Look here, squirrels," I reasoned, "squirrels live in trees not attics."
They just sat there looking at me with their big fluffy tails flinching behind them. Then they scampered up the house wall and into the attic.
I have also tried bribery.
"Look here, squirrels," I bribed, "I will give you all the nuts you can eat if you leave my attic tonight." Then I put a cache of nuts way in the back of our property under some very nice trees.
They took all of my nuts and ran up my house wall and back into the attic.
Now, getting back to that cookbook.
"Are you reading a cookbook?" my wife asked.
"Yes," I said in a very calm manner, "I'm looking up grandmother's recipe for squirrel pot pie."
I was reminded of a verse in the Bible. "Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!" James 3:5 (KJV).
It is not the big things in life to give us the most trouble; rather it is the accumulation of all those small things.
James L. Snyder is an award winning author and popular columnist living with his wife, Martha, in Ocala, Florida and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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