Porcupine flinging and other grown-up adventures

I almost password-protected this post, not because it is secret but because I am pretty sure that one or two of my five readers are squeamish about dead aminals and guns and things. In reality, it’s a relatively tame slice of life-in-the-north-woods kind of post but be warned that some bits *might* be disturbing. So read if you dare.

Anyway. A young relative of mine recently had an accidental encounter with a chipmunk that ended in tragedy — for the chipmunk. I won’t detail it because I know how awful I would feel if I were involved in the demise of any living thing (beyond moe-skee-toes and things, of course). We *like* chippies and other small aminals! This relative found herself in the position of having to fling the poor little beastie into the woods and said she felt that with this event, she had achieved full adulthood.

And that reminded me of the time The Commander willfully killed a chipmunk. As the story goes (and I know I am gonna mangle it but she isn’t here to correct me…), she and Grandroobly and another bank couple were whooping it up having a dinner party one night. As it turned out, in addition to all the usual bank-type dinner party hi-jinks, they needed to kill a chipmunk. Why? Because it had bitten someone and they needed to send it in to be tested for rabies. It needed to be dead. The *men* were mucking around trying to kill the chipmunk by putting it in the freezer (and drinking I dunno, probably scotch — those bankers, don’tcha know). Their strategy did not work. Finally, The Commander, who grew up on a farm and therefore presumably had a bit more experience with life and death, took matters into her own hands. She lowered her voice as she told me, “*I* killed the chipmunk.” I think she smothered it. I’m sure she wasn’t all that happy about doing it but whaddya gonna do? She didn’t want her friend to have rabies either.

So, this afternoon we were slugging down on the beach with npJane and a chipmunk actually came down on the beach for about 20 seconds and they usually don’t hang out on the beach (they probably know they are raptor bait) but that got us started on the chipmunk stories and then I remembered the porcupine summer…

The Commander was always interested in serious crafts and fiber arts and back in the 1990s or thereabouts, she took a class in the local Native American art of making quill boxes. So she was looking for a porcupine and I don’t think she was quite prepared to pick a dead porcupine up off the road like someone else I know >wink<. Wouldn’t you know, a “nuisance” porcupine had been marauding my uncle Don’s garden. One day Don had had enough and, knowing that The Comm wanted some quills, he shot the porcupine* and delivered it to The Comm, who put it into a drywall bucket. We have plenty of those around here, don’tcha know…

As it turned out, the ALWAYS BUSY Commander didn’t have time to deal with the porcupine right away and then it started to stink to high heaven so she took it out back and flung it into the swamp. Yes, she said “flung”.

That was almost the end of the story. Later that summer, some of my cousins and I took our kids on a rock walk to Cedar Point. We rounded one little interim point and somebody saw a sorta porcupine-sized aminal scoot into the woods. I didn’t see it and I’m not sure what it was but my cousin’s son said something like, “Well if it was a porcupine, we could get my grandaddy to shoot it and then Fran could fling it into the swamp. Yeah.

* You have to know that my uncle wasn’t out there shooting guns all the time. Those Fin boys (my dad and his brother) knew how to use guns but I NEVER saw either one of them actually shoot a gun. My uncle was a doc who delivered a LOT of babies in the area. When I was at my high school reunion last weekend, people were telling me, you know your dad delivered me. Well, not my dad, my uncle. My dad? A guy who… Well, I’ll tell that story some other time >wink<. At any rate, my uncle spent his career bringing babies into the world and sometimes quite heroically saving them, including my brother. He brought many more lives into the world than those he took out.

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