Of Mice and Malaria…

I loathe bugs and rodents.  I am a city girl, born in Utica, raised in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania…..I went to art school in Philadelphia.  Everything about me was city until I moved, with my first husband, to Schaefferstown, also in Pennsylvania.  I don’t recall a single incident of rodent infestation in our childhood home, but I can tell you a horror story or five about my brushes with death upon my arrival to the country.  I am exaggerating, yes, but a heart attack can kill a girl, and  let’s just say my cholesterol?  Off the charts.  It’s hereditary, otherwise, a former anorexic-I haven’t eaten a morsel of fat since 1976, when I banned its’ existence from my life.

Karl and I moved into a quaint half of farm house in 1989.  It was situated next to the Schaeffer Farmstead in historic Dutch Country.   My ex husband travelled quite a bit, and I remember the first time I heard scurrying and frantic scratching in my kitchen: late at night, after watching the Late Show with David Letterman, I sauntered down the steps to retrieve a glass of water.  To my utter and complete horror, there were not one, but a gaggle of rats on the counter.  I don’t know about you, but when I am scared stupid I run like a banshee in the other direction.  (Once, while living here, I saw a Copperhead snake in the back yard, approximately one mile from the house.  I ran like a cartoon character, at warp speed, through the yard, into the house and up the stairs, then into the attic-until I could run no further.)  Karl tried to tell me they were mice, but I wasn’t having any of it.  Turns out they were coming from the creek behind us, and into our muddy cellar, having midnight cocktail parties at my expense.

When I met Dwain, I told him I was straight out petrified of any and all rodents, spiders, opossum, you name it………apparently, he didn’t believe me.  One evening, his son sleeping in the other room, I stepped on a mouse in my bare feet.  For reasons abundantly clear to me, I now bring my water to bed, as I can no longer muster the courage to forage through the house after 10 p.m.

“OhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhmyGodddddddddddddddddddd!!!!!!!!!!!,” I shrieked at volume one thousand, waking not only my step son, but the dog next door and a neighbor who called to ask if she should phone 911.  My husband lay fast asleep, until the moment came when, due to my hysteria, Brad woke his father up-he was seven years old, what else could the poor kid do?

When Dwain came downstairs, he found me on the kitchen table, still blubbering, still screaming.

“Honey, what the Hell is going on?,” he stammered, wiping the sleep from his eyes.

I told him the mind numbing facts:  “I stepped on that dead mouse and it freaked me out, I told you I’m afraid of critters!”

You probably killed it when you stepped on it,” were the last words I heard, as I ran out the door and down the street, to a destination unknown.


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