As I walked into the house after a workout at the base gym one sunny morning in 1999, Mrs. Tech Sergeant was walking out on her way to a babysitting gig.
“Mom, River is acting strange,” she said. “He’s just sitting in the kitchen staring at the cabinets.”
River was our big, fluffy Chartreux cat. He was about three years old at the time.
“Okay, I’ll check it out. Thanks.” I went into the house. “Hey buddy, whatcha doing?” I asked as I stroked his wooly fur. I barely got a mew out of this ordinarily vocal animal.
I shrugged and went into the dining room to start reading my Bible study. Suddenly, a loud crash came from the kitchen.
“River, what are you doing,” I muttered as I got up to see what happened. As I rounded the corner, he met me in the doorway, with a MOUSE in his mouth! Our house on Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota was on a large corner lot that backed up to a field, so it was inevitable we would have field mice coming in at some point.
As I stood staring at him, River headed down the six stairs to our basement family room where Illinois Girl sat watching television.
“River’s got a mouse,” I warned her.
“What?” she asked as she looked behind her. Just then, River dropped the mouse, and it tried to scurry away.
“It’s a real one,” Illinois Girl shrieked as she leaped over the couch and scrambled up the stairs.
I grabbed the phone to call the Good Chaplain at his office.
“River’s got a mouse,” I screamed into the phone.
He calmly replied, “Is it alive?”
“I don’t know,” I said as I peeked down the stairs just as River caught the mouse in his mouth and brought it back upstairs.
“Yes, come home now!” I slammed the phone down, and Illinois Girl and I bolted up the other set of stairs leading to the bedrooms. We ran into my bedroom, closed the door, and cowered on the bed.
As we waited for the Good Chaplain to rescue us, it occurred to us that the bedroom door had a big gap between it and the floor, big enough for a field mouse to fit under it, but not a 10-pound cat.
Illinois Girl’s solution, in the event the mouse did get in the room, was to get into the shower in the master bathroom. “I’m pretty sure the mouse can’t climb up tile,” she said.
From the Good Chaplain’s perspective, he claims all he heard on the phone was a hysterical woman telling him to get home now. He claims he wasn’t even sure it was me. (I don’t know about that!) He did come home, and he walked into an empty, echoing house. He spotted River in the living room, a paw on either side of the mouse, looking proud of himself.
“What do you have there, buddy,” the Good Chaplain said to the cat as he approached. The mouse moved. River smacked it, and it died.
Illinois Girl and I heard the Good Chaplain come in and cautiously opened the bedroom door. “Is it safe?” I asked.
“Yes, you can come down. The mouse is dead,” the Good Chaplain said.
As Illinois Girl and I crept downstairs, the Good Chaplain wrapped the mouse in a paper towel to dispose of it. But he showed it to us first.
“Aww, it’s so cute. It looks like Ralph from The Mouse and the Motorcycle* book,” I said.
The Good Chaplain rolled his eyes. “I’m going back to work.”
Stay tuned for more of my lunacy as a military spouse in next week’s blog!
*The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary.
What kind of craziness have you gotten into as a military spouse? Reply below.
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