We had young, wet-behind-the-ears, Yankee that came down from Philadelphia to work in the office of a Forging Shop here in Cut and Shoot where I was manager of engineering. He even thought that peanuts grew on trees and didn’t understand me when I was telling someone that I had dug up a batch of peanuts the evening before. Being a Yankee isn’t all that bad, heck, even I am a Yankee. But the worst thing was he was a city kid, from Philly, and not a country boy.
Anyway, one morning he was extremely late coming to work. He lived in an apartment above a garage with an outside stairway for access. It was only about a mile from the forge plant; very convenient for him. He came out that one morning heading for work and started down the steps only to see a large tiger lying at the bottom of the steps. He dashed back in the house and called 911. The operator didn’t seem to believe him, but put him in touch with the police, who intern gave him the number of the animal control officer (dog catcher). Seems everyone thought he was exaggerating. Well let me tell you, that dog catcher guy was really surprised and sent for a lot of help. Turns out the guy just a couple of houses down the road kept big cats of all kinds and this one had escaped. This story ended happily for all, even the big kitty. But it or one of its roommates escaped a few years later and the rednecks hunted it down and shot it.
OK, back to “different”, not “exotic”, pets that originate from this country. I have known people who had raccoons, armadillos, squirrels, rabbits, deer, snakes, lizards, and almost every critter imaginable that inhabits our woods and fields. Back awhile ago; my Mother’s family had a groundhog (or woodchuck) for a pet.
If you are not a Yankee, you may not know what they are. They are a rodent about the size of coon or possum that live in holes they dig in the ground. In fact, when I first came to Texas, a friend and I were walking a piece of property that I eventually purchased. I came across this large hole in the ground and said, “I see you have groundhogs down here, too”. My buddy didn’t know what a groundhog was but said that it was an armadillo hole. OK, that is when I realized I was in a different world (grin).
Here is a picture of my Dad (on the left) and my Mom’s brother Milton (Bub) on the right feeding the groundhog with their cat and dog looking on.
Just a big happy family. Yes, they really were a happy family, even the pets. Too bad more families couldn’t have been as happy and loving as that family. I feel blessed to have known them and to have part of them in me.