May 22, 2008


There was a soft rap on our guestroom door. I rapped softly back, thinking it was my newly-four-year-old grandson. He had just celebrated his birthday the day before, and we were in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, for the occasion.

However, the rap on the door turned out to be my son, wanting to know if we’d been up and out to the car already that morning.

No, we hadn’t. But I’d left a car door open when packing the car the night before, and thus, the question from Nolan.

We finished packing the car, and left to return to Pennsylvania. It was just before 9:30 a.m., not bad for our plan to leave by nine o’clock. I was waiting to get my java at a food store we were going to shop at on our way when suddenly Monte let out the wildest war whoop I’d ever heard come from his mouth. I caught myself panicking: HEART ATTACK! WHILE HE’S DRIVING DOWN THIS BUSY ROAD!

I reached over to grasp the wheel just in case, but he had control.

“What,” I asked, “is the problem?”

“Something just ran across my leg twice,” he responded. “I think it was a rat, but maybe it was a mouse.”

“Turn at the light and pull in the first driveway you see,” I said, fearing the critter might startle him again, or run up one of our pants legs.

We held our breath while waiting for the light to turn green and continuing to wait for the opposing traffic to let up. When we finally turned, the first driveway was about a city block away. Monte pulled onto the sidewalk. Just beyond were brick pillars.

We exited the car and looked around, not seeing anything, and agreed we would have to empty out the items and try to spot and remove whatever critter was present.

“We can’t do it here,” I said. “We’re blocking the sidewalk and driveway.”

Monte reluctantly started the car to pull into the small parking lot we could see in the distance. As we drove through the pillars we spotted the sign: we were entering the property of a convent.

“We can’t stay here,” Monte said.

“What better place than a convent?” I asked. “Surely they will understand.”

Complicating the situation was the light rain and wet asphalt. Monte began emptying the car while I walked around, looking for someone to let them know what was happening so they wouldn’t call the police on the “trespassers.” I discovered the small lot was part of a preschool, and I saw no one. I didn’t want to disturb any classes so I returned to the car to help Monte.

We emptied the car, and he examined every inch of it. He even bent on his knees (a good position for a preacher!) and looked under the seats with a flashlight. I was surprised no security spotted us, since it looked like we were doing a bomb investigation!

It wasn’t comforting that he couldn’t spot anything, since we hadn’t seen any critter escape from the car. However, we reloaded the car and went on our way, hoping we wouldn’t feel the scratches of little paws running up and down our legs.  

We made it home safely. When we unloaded the car we discovered a partially eaten banana and roll in the bottom of a shopping bag. However, since the doors were open while we unloaded the car, perhaps the critter exited to a new home in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

No such luck. In unloading the car, I’d left two coffee creamers—high caffeine ones, limit two, from the service station coffee counter—which were gnawed apart, pieces of the container spread all over the car floor. The critter was still present. Fortunately, we weren’t in the car when it reacted to the caffeine!

We set rattraps with peanut butter. No nibbles. This critter had to be hungry—we’d removed all the belly-fillers! We are convinced that it finally exited the car, since there has been no odor emanating through the car, indicating the critter perished inside. At least we hope it’s gone—being startled while driving high-speed roads or even just casually driving is mighty dangerous.

I guess we will never know just what kind of a critter it was that entered our car.

Ultimately, the lesson is that a person should shut their car doors, not leaving them open all night, regardless if they live in the city or the country. We were just lucky we were not startled into having an accident.

For additional reading:



BRAMBLES (Brief RAMBLES) 1-3 May 21, 2008

BRAMBLES (Brief Rambles) 2:2008 May 5—Temporary Art, Bull-Headedness?-Arachnophobia







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