Gladiator Mouse

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7

You had to admire the little guy’s spunk. With no means of defense, pitted against an enemy twenty times his size, he was putting up a brave fight.

He was only a mouse captured in the claws of our family cat, but he wasn’t taking this lying down. For a moment the cat let him go and took a step back; instead of running away squeaking in terror, the mouse stood up on his haunches, jumped as high as his little legs could send him and tried to bite the cat’s face.

Whoa, I thought: Kamikaze mouse! Another Reepicheep, lacking only the sword.

For a few minutes I watched the unfair contest. The cat would bat the mouse around and he fought back as best he could, rushing toward the cat, trying to scratch it or nip it with his tiny teeth. I actually felt enough sympathy for the gutsy little gladiator that I might have picked up my cat and removed him from the conflict – had the arena been elsewhere.

However, the battle was going on right beside my garden where I surely did NOT want a mouse to find refuge. At one point he made a dash for freedom under a tomato plant but the cat snagged him and carried him off. I walked away and let nature take its course.

Later on I saw his lifeless body lying on the lawn. Well, at least he died trying.

As Christians, we have an adversary, a foe much greater than we. The Bible describes him as cunning and ruthless, opposed to all that is godly:
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith…” I Peter 5:8

Yet we are told, “Don’t just lie there and whimper when the devil rakes you with his claws. Get up and fight back.” And we think, Are you serious?

We feel the devil’s hot breath on our neck at times as he sends us evil thoughts, temptations, depression, negative feelings about ourselves, wounded pride, anger, misunderstandings. Maybe we are inclined to wring our hands and say: ”Why are we troubled with these thoughts?” or “Why do I feel the way I do?”

As surely as cats hunt mice, our adversary will attack us. The Bible tells us that Satan is determined to decimate us, to dissuade us from following the Lord, by terror or temptation. Unlike defenseless mice, however, we have God’s promise that resistance pays.

Baby Bird Shuffle

One Boy’s Efforts to Correct Nature’s Shortcomings

Finding herself an impoverished widow at the beginning of the Great Depression, Maida (Parlow) Knowles moved back to the old homestead her grandparents had established on the banks of the St Lawrence River. This abandoned farm had a large apple orchard, but the trees had been neglected for years. Rather than living in a seedy, cockroach-infested apartment and leaving her three young sons to roam the streets of Toronto while she tried to hold down a job, she wanted to bring the orchard back into production and earn a living for herself and her boys.

Having lived all their lives in the city, however, she and her three sons were having quite the learning experience getting their run-down farmhouse fixed up, and the apple orchard ready. When they arrived at the farm, she was appalled to see the house’s back porch and its roof lying on the ground. She was also dismayed, those first few nights, to lie in bed and see the stars through the holes in her roof.

One day during that first summer, she was outside picking up some of the porch roof shingles that were scattered. They made great kindling for the old wood stove, on which she was learning to cook their food. Suddenly she heard loud, angry voices and her three sons came along, the oldest two dragging five-year-old Alan by the arms.

“You’ll never guess what he did now, Mom!” The older boys glared in righteous indignation at the tearful transgressor. “He got into the birds’ nests in the apple trees and moved all the eggs and the baby birds around. They’re so mixed up now their poor mothers will never find them!”

“Yeah. Whatever is God thinking about the awful thing you did, Alan Knowles?”

She felt an urge to laugh at the very idea, but stifled it. This was, after all, a major crime to the two oldest boys. The accused hung his head and made no defence. (He told his mother later that he hadn’t dared to explain with his two big brothers screeching and glaring at him so furiously. They weren’t going to listen to a word he said, anyway.)

To defuse the issue a bit she told him he’d best go and tend to the cats so they wouldn’t find out about the confusion in the orchard before the baby birds learned to fly. Happy with his light sentence, he dried his tears and hurried off to the shed where their new cat family lived.

Looking back some years later, he explained to his mother the reason for his actions that day. “I’d been watching the birds coming and going to their nests and I noticed that some mother birds didn’t leave their nests for long; they seemed to grab some food and come back quickly. Others stayed away a lot longer. I was afraid the eggs and babies would get cold when their mothers were gone so long, so I just moved the eggs and baby birds to the nests where the mothers came back sooner, because I thought they’d be better looked after.”

It made perfect sense to him at the time. ☺

This was one of the accounts Maida recorded in the diary she kept during those first years and later published as her memoir: Apples Don’t Just Grow by Maida Parlow (Knowles) French
© 1954 by McClelland & Stewart Ltd

Summer Morning

Hello again, everyone. A lovely, sunny morning greets us today, with a fine veil of white cloud in the southern sky and a light wind.  Now that the fire ban has been lifted, I could start a small fire in our outdoor fire-pit — if I cold find anything out there dry enough to burn. One of life’s ironies: when we’re allowed to burn our debris, the branches are too wet to burn.

I woke up this morning feeling like a large branch had fallen on my left big toe. I was starting to feel some pain in it yesterday evening and thought maybe a small vein had burst, but this morning I realize it’s a passing kick from “old Arthur”: gout in my big toe. So I’m hobbling around and will probably stay indoors today and maybe read, write, darn socks, and set up blog posts. I sure hope this doesn’t interfere with my rest-of-the-week activities, though.

I woke up early, got up at 6 am and came out to the kitchen to tend to our cat’s food needs. I opened the door to let Pookie out and scared away a bird from our railing — likely a wren. The daring little mites come close to the house. Later, passing by the hall window I scared an oriole at our hummer feeder. She soon came back to enjoy the fresh juice I put out yesterday evening. Passing by half an hour later I scared away a hummingbird, so I guess it is being used in the morning even if I don’t see much activity there during the day.

It was quite cool this morning so Pookie was ready to come in before long. So why is it that a cat will come dashing to the door as if they can’t wait to be inside, but stop three feet away and consider his options? Is he really ready to come in? He must look around the yard first to see if there might be anything more interesting going on outside. Only after the matter has been well pondered will he decide that, yes, he does after all want to come in. Dogs aren’t like that.

Lately I’ve been reading a interesting series of mild mysteries, the Tess & Tilly series by Kathi Daley. Tess, the main character, is a letter-carrier and helps part-time with dog training and adoptions. Tilly is her very well trained dog who helps with all these projects. Yesterday I finished the third book in this series, The Mother’s Day Mishap, which can be found on Amazon HERE if you’re interested in having a look.

Story-line: A couple of weeks before Mother’s Day Tess delivers a card to her best friend’s address, but they find it was actually meant for the previous owner, Edna. A long-lost son wants to meet and reconcile with his aged mother — who has passed away. If she can find it in her heart to forgive him, she should meet him at their special place. Tess and her friends set out to find this place and this prodigal, to tell him the bad news and also inform him that his mother’s belongings are waiting at a storage unit to be collected. Of course the card has no return address, just a Chicago postmark.

Well, I should hobble along now and see what I can accomplish today besides drinking coffee with my feet up. 🙂 I hope you’re enjoying this day.

Goodbye, Charlie

I am very late posting this response to last Wednesday’s 100-word challenge, but when I saw the photo this is the story that came to mind. You can check out the other responses at Crimson’s Creative Challenge.

Goodbye, Charlie

A great day for boating, Jayson thought. And good riddance to that nuisance.

Venice gazed out to sea. “Hope he doesn’t get lost.”

“He’ll be in heaven.”

“I hated to let him go. Charlie’s so cute — in his own way.”

Jayson rolled his eyes. Vicious little monster.

“Such a long way. And what if he meets a shark?”

“Charlie’s a fighter.”

Venice waved one last time, wiped a tear and climbed into the truck.

Someday Jayson might tell her that piranhas, freshwater fish, can’t survive in salt water. Today he’d let her picture Charlie merrily swimming back to the Amazon.

NOTE:

By and large, I strongly oppose dumping unwanted pets. This awful practice has caused so many environmental issues and introduced invasive species, to the detriment of native creatures. And fish are easily enough euthanized in a merciful way. But when it comes to piranhas, please leave them in the Amazon! 😉