... got away
One day, back when women wore aprons over housedresses, Ma was washing clothes.
She was at the soap stone sink and I was playing with my trucks on the kitchen
floor. Another frigid New England winter was keeping me indoors. I opened the
coat closet door to get more toys to find a little gray mouse staring at me. I
jumped up and the mouse scampered across the kitchen floor. Ma grabbed her broom
from the cellar stairs and charged after it.
In the midst of this ruckus, the family cat, “Timmy” yawned his way into the kitchen,
ignoring the drama in front of him. I tried to coax him in the direction of what, for
most cats, would be a delightful opportunity. I should have known better. Timmy was
too well fed and complacent to bother with catching mice.
Meanwhile, Ma took several chopping swipes at the mouse as it darted about the
kitchen in frenzied attempt at escape. I smile to myself with the memory of my
little mother, five feet-two, whirling around in exasperated pursuit of a tiny
mouse. She, too, noticed the total indifference of our cat and shouted, “Damn
you, Timmy, get that mouse!”
After seven to ten swings of her broom handle, Ma finally struck the mouse a glancing
blow that left it wiggling on the kitchen floor. She dropped her broom and hollered at
me to open the back door. Then, with her left hand, Ma picked up the stunned mouse by
its tail and with her right hand grabbed Timmy by the nape of his neck and hurled both
cat and mouse into a tangle onto the back porch. I rushed to look and saw cat and
mouse face to face. As the cat took a feeble swipe at the mouse, the mouse dashed
beneath Timmy’s underbelly and beyond.
Originally published April 02,2004..
July 1, 2016