Saturday, November 15, 2008

Of Mice And Women

Reportedly, the body weight ratio of man to mouse is 2,000 to one, and I imagine a similar ratio exists for woman to mouse, but I won’t be caught guessing that it’s a slightly bigger ratio. My idea in comparing creature with critter is to establish one basic fact; people are massive compared to a mouse. And, when one factors in the superior intellect of man versus mouse, it’s almost unfathomable to comprehend how so tiny an animal can produce so great a fear among humans.

For centuries women have feared mice, and I suppose men have, too, but you don’t hear of it as often. My mother was afraid of a mouse and was always fearful that one would run up her leg or affix itself to her duster. I’m sure her fear was driven by her having read of a mouse attacking a hapless female or else her having known of a “mouse incident” in the family.

Is there a super mouse somewhere on this planet that cannot be crushed by the wearer of a number eleven shoe, or that can fend off a broom-wielding housewife? I suggest there is not. But, somehow when it comes to small rodents, humans, like the cartoon character Mr. Jinks in the mouse-saga of Pixie and Dixie, really do “hate those meeces to pieces.”

Just how fearful some folks are of mice was brought close to home this week for me. My daughter lives in Belmont, Mississippi a mere seventy miles up the highway from Pontotoc. Rayanne was hurrying to get her two youngest daughters out the door and off to school and herself to work, when she glimpsed a mouse scurrying across the den floor. A few shrieks later all three of them were safely in the family van.

It was then that Katherine, the younger child, exclaimed she didn’t have a chance to put milk in her cereal. Apparently, my grandchildren are being taught to eat on the run, and under great stress, either of which makes for poor digestion, while adding nothing to family stabilization at mealtime.

“Well, this morning, you’ll just have to eat it dry,” Rayanne cried, “because there’s no way I’m going back into a house with a mouse in it.

“But, Mama, I don’t have my backpack,” Katherine wailed.

Wailing has been a common ailment of my two youngest granddaughters, something I blame on their being raised so far away from their granddaddy. When they were younger, and arrived at my house for a short visit, they came in wailing and more often than not, they were wailing when they left. They’re better now, but I’m always concerned they’ll relapse.

“I’m not going back inside,” Rayanne insisted, but knowing full well her baby would not go inside alone, ordered, “Merilese, go with your sister!”

As the children headed back into the house, Rayanne rolled down her window.

“And, get my cell phone off the kitchen counter!”

Alas, so much for the mothering instinct that mothers are supposed to possess that makes them fearless when it comes to protecting their own.

My daughter and granddaughters made it to their respective destinations without further instances. Rayanne phoned her husband, who was already at work, and informed him to set mousetraps when he went home for lunch.

By bedtime two mice had been trapped, but when Rayanne heard a third trap throw shortly after midnight, she’d had enough. She gathered her daughters from their slumber and carted them off to her in-laws one block away, where they spent the remainder of the night.

Friday night was also a night away from home. Rayanne and Merilese stayed another night with Rayanne’s in-laws. Katherine had a spend-the-night party, elsewhere. My son-in-law set more traps before leaving for the Alabama vs. Mississippi State football game and reported no more mice were caught during the night.

While I have the feeling life for the Adams Family of Shady Cove will soon return to normal, I’m afraid my grandchildren have suffered the imprint of their mother’s fear of mice and are henceforth doomed to walk fearfully among some of Nature’s smallest mammalians and someday even perpetuate the fear of mice to their children.

1 comment:

Fergy said...

oh my..poor Rayanne..

About Me

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I'm a native of Pontotoc, MS, and graduated Pontotoc High School in 1960. I received a BS degree in Mathematics from The University of Mississippi in 1965. My wife Barbara and I have two children and five grandchildren and one great grandchild. We make our home in Pontotoc.