July 6, 2020

Dave from Texas

There’s a Mouse in my House

Sitting at my desk one evening, I felt an eerie sensation that I was being watched from the bookcase across the room.

Looking closely at the rows of journals on diverse subjects, I saw the face of a small mouse peering at me from behind “The Complete Plays of William Shakespeare”. To his left lay books on sailing, practical carpentry, home canning and the poetry of Robert Frost.

Returning my gaze to the keyboard, I imagined this tiny creature struggling with that most eloquent question: “To be, or not to be.”

I suspected he was contemplating a dash for the space behind the refrigerator where his presence within my space would not be noticed. In the milli-second my attention was diverted, he made his Olympic run to safety.

Living close to nature in the small rural cabin of my own construction, I usually pay little regard to its many surprises. Furthermore, I respect all creatures, and in the lonely hours of my solitude, I’ve enjoyed their antics, and I’ve mourned their struggles no less than my own.

But on that night, I didn’t want a mouse in my house, and I was disturbed by his infringement of my boundary.

Taking note of his last-known position and following the signs of his daily runs, I set numerous traps and checked them daily.

Hoping to appeal to his sense of smell – and knowing his love of fine literature – I baited the one nearest the book shelf with Limburger cheese. Others were baited with bits of sardines, but after three days, the mouse had avoided all of them, and the stench that developed became so unbearable that both of us were forced to sleep outside.

Okay, so my stories contain a ‘bit of the blarney’, but any good story should also teach us something about the truth, and in that spirit, I offer the following discussion of boundaries, fences and walls.

All of us have them, and around my rural homestead, most are secured with barbed wire. If you try to cross one of them, you’ll feel the pain of its sting and become the victim of your own transgression, while the security of the land owner and his livestock are protected. After all, fences and borders serve two sides, but likewise pose two problems: When built high enough, neither side can escape them.

Some believe that lowering the fence – or removing it entirely – will end the conflict that stains our planet, but I’m not convinced. Still others contend the boundaries should be made impenetrable, but I’m not sold on that idea either. What if we need our neighbor’s help, but they’re unable to scale our fence? Is there’s a better solution?

As for the mouse in my house, I’m happy to report that he was removed without injury.

Knowing the problem required a more creative solution, and knowing his love of fine literature, I simply placed a copy of Shakespeare, War and Peace and the Holy Bible – with full concordance – at a suitable distance beyond my cabin door. Within a few days, I discovered the mouse had died peacefully from old age while trying to read it all.


As always, your comments are welcome to my email address below.


© 2017 David Bradshaw aka ‘Dave from Texas’