The Mice That Scared Mama

and a lizard, too

Mama was a scaredy-cat when it came to just about everything, including mice, birds, and lizards. Interestingly, she grew up on what I called a farm. Mama insisted it wasn’t a farm, but I knew a farm when I saw one. My grandparents raised all of their food. They had a cow, hogs, chickens, rabbits, a goat, ducks, a huge garden, and a five-seater outhouse.

How grandma raised three scaredy-cat-daughters, I’ll never know. Mama always said that grandma wasn’t afraid of anything. I remember watching grandma wring a chicken's neck and serve it up for dinner.

There stood a tall pole with a large bell on it in front of the house. People rang it when they came to visit. One time a swarm of wasps built a nest in that bell. When grandma saw the nest, she grabbed a stick and beat the begeezus out of that nest and its inhabitants. You should have heard the clanging of that bell and those wasps fleeing their home. But just the same, grandma raised three scaredy-cat-daughters.

A Few Examples of Scaredy-cat-Mama

One morning, Mama sat at the table drinking her coffee. A toaster sat on the table next to the electric percolator. Mama put a piece of bread in the toaster, and when it popped up medium-brown, she smeared butter and jam on it and gobbled it down. I guess it tasted so good that she decided to have another slice, so she put one in the toaster again. This time, when that toaster was done cooking medium-brown, a singed mouse popped out right into Mama’s lap. You never heard such screaming in your life! Mama jumped up so fast she almost fell backward in the chair. That poor singed mouse scampered off, never to return for breakfast again.

That wasn’t Mama’s last encounter with a mouse. I think I was seven years old and playing with my dolls on my bed. My Grandma Reeves was visiting this time. As I quietly dressed my dolls, a scream came running down the hallway. You guessed it. It was Mama. She saw a mouse in the kitchen. When she got to my room, she jumped on the bed, grabbed a hunk of flesh on my shoulder, and twisted. As you can imagine, that hurt!

As Mama trampolined on my bed, Grandma Reeves came to the rescue. She grabbed a stick and beat that poor mouse to death.

“Look at the size of that mouse compared to you,” Grandma said to Mama.

From that moment on, I vowed that I wouldn’t be a scaredy-cat like my Mama. I would grow up to be just like Grandma.

I did grow up to be a lot like both of my grandmas, but I would never beat a poor mouse to death. I’d most likely catch it and release it outdoors.

Encounter with a Lizard

That wasn’t Mama’s last encounter with nature. I can’t go without telling you about the lizard.

Daddy came home one evening and saw a lizard on the front porch. He grabbed it, brought it in the house, and gave it to me. I searched for a little box to put it in, but there wasn’t one to be found. The only thing I could find was a glass on the counter in the kitchen. I gently placed the lizard in the glass and shoved it against the backsplash. Then I went into the living room to visit with Daddy and my older brother, Ronnie.

Pretty soon, we heard glass breaking and Mama screaming. She had grabbed that glass without looking and filled it up with water. Mama almost drank a lizard. She flew into the living room screaming at Daddy to get that lizard out of the house. I didn’t want to give it up, but Daddy and Ronnie told me it would die in captivity and that I should let it go. They convinced my soft heart, and I took it outside and released it in the flowerbed.

So there you have it, folks—another bit of trivia that I’m passing along to my grandchildren.

A free spirit, visual artist, writer, animal lover, introvert and independent woman.

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