Something darted across Momma’s kitchen floor.
What the heck was that?!
Momma was in her late 80s, and still living independently. My siblings and I became her caregivers. That day I was helping Momma with general house cleaning.
I saw the movement again. Momma didn’t say anything. Was I seeing things? I’d better ask –
“Momma, did you see that?”
“Oh that was just one of my buddy-buddies.” She giggled.
What the heck is a “buddy-buddy?” I wondered.
“Momma, do you mean a mouse?”
“Don’t worry. He just wanted to come out to see who was here.” She giggled again.
As if on cue, he passed by more slowly and deliberately a third time. Was he checking me out?
Nasty little vermin, strolling across the floor I just scrubbed. Acting like you live here. Oh yeah. That’s right. You do live here. Well enough of that nonsense. Its on now! You so and so.
Thus began my personal war with Momma’s buddy buddies.
Before the onset of her Alzheimer’s disease, Momma used to detest rats and mice. Large musk rats would sometimes find their way into our house from nearby fields. But instead of jumping up on a chair and screaming hysterically, Momma chased and cornered them. Then she would beat them to death with a broom stick. Momma had other more gruesome ways of dispatching rodents but on these I must remain silent. Poor devils.
Now I had to do what Momma could no longer understand must be done. Dispatch or destroy. My husband Billy’s plea for leniency suppressed my genetic instinct for overkill. Afterall it was just a little field mouse. I set a live trap. A couple of days later, I could hear scratching inside the trap. Yes! Victory! Billy and I carried him off to a wooded area far from Momma’s house.
Billy opened the trap. A mouse jumped out and ran toward the woods. Yesss! But wait. More were inside, hiding. Billy gave the trap a good shake. Several mice leaped out. But instead of running into the woods, they ran toward us, toward the car, toward the roadway. I was waving my hands around and screaming like a girl. Momma would have been shocked at my cowardliness!
How many “buddy-buddies” did Momma have?
We caught and released 12 mice that winter. Then there was Mr. #13. I caught him like the others. But the trap was mysteriously empty when I checked it. Undeterred, I put in more bait. Mr. #13 had his fill of cheese, chicken, peanut butter. Each time he left behind a few pellets just to mock me.
“Do you think Momma is letting that mouse out of the trap?” My husband asked.
“Naw. Not my Momma!” But I began to wonder….
A few days later, I saw a little mouse strolling across Momma’s freshly scrubbed kitchen floor. Moving as if in no particular hurry. Was he the one that started the war? Was he still around?
Momma saw the disgruntled look on my face.
“Oh don’t worry. That’s just one of my buddy-buddies. That’s the one y’all could never catch.” Momma smiled mischievously.
The war was still on!