My father-in-law called me “Mouse Protector” or “MP” for short. Why? Because I sprang the traps he set up to catch a mouse that ventured into the family fruit bowl and took a tiny bite out of an apple. The poor mouse had to eat, too, didn’t he? Dad Bill gave me mouse gifts for Christmas each year; a mouse in a boot to hold toothpicks, a mouse curled up sleeping.
I just heard about Harry the Mouse who loved to ride in big rigs. He would appear on a dashboard and ride with the trucker to the next stop, then disappear, only to reappear in another truck heading off to another destination. All the truckers knew about Harry the Mouse. Some gave him bits to eat. Apparently, he didn’t like waffles.
My daughter, being somewhat cynical about these kinds of stories, said Harry probably got together with Harriet and infested a dozen truck stops with their offspring. Not so! Harry apparently became ill one day and a distressed trucker put him in a small box and handed him off (along with some money) to a waitress with instructions to take him to a vet and try to save his life. She did. Harry was the truckers’ mascot, after all. The vet held the poor mouse in the palm of his hand and said, “Well, Harry lived a good life.” I can only hope the little mouse received a proper burial.
Before our German shepherd, Sarge, we had Shabah, and before Shabah, we had Hercules – a big 125 pound Alpha male German shepherd. We placed his food bowl outside where he inhaled his meals. He usually left a little in the bowl — until he saw a mouse munching on his leftovers. He went nuts inside the house, seeing that mouse through the sliding glass door nibbling tidbits of his dog food. The mouse disappeared behind a fence post faster than Hercules could get out the door. The next evening, Hercules ate every morsel and licked his bowl clean, then sat smugly inside watching for the mouse. “Ha, ha, mouse. You’re getting nothing from me tonight!” The mouse soon appeared, expecting a few crumbs, climbed into his bowl, looked around, looked up at Hercules and proceeded to leave a tidy little dropping right in the middle of the empty bowl. “Here’s to you, Pal!” Needless to say, Herk was NOT happy. Every time we let him out, the mouse disappeared. When Herk was back inside, there was that mouse, inside his bowl, making a comment. (It never pays to be greedy.)
Our children love mice, too. I can’t count how many times I read aloud A Mouse to be Free. Now, as adults, they told me a little secret they had been keeping for years. My children took their allowances and bought mice from the local pet store. They brought them home and set them free inside our greenhouse.
Those mice have long since died of old age like Harry the Trucker Mouse. But I imagine their descendants are still enjoying the good life far and wide.