Banner photo of Larry Eugene Meredith, Ronald Tipton and Patrick Flynn, 2017.

The good times are memories
In the drinking of elder men...

-- Larry E.
Time II

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Bats in the Belfry, Birds in the Laundry Room and Something Squirrelly in the Basement

Okay, for the sake of full disclosure, I never had bats in the belfry. That is mainly because I never lived in a church and didn't have a belfry. Although back in my wasted youth I wrote a musical play called, "Ya-Ha-Whoey!"

What's that have to do with any of this? Well, I wrote the book and lyrics, but I am not real strong on writing notes on a staff that sound good, so I had a collaborator named Bob who could do that. He and I would work on the music together and for reasons I am not certain of myself, we did this composing in the bell tower of the George Washington Chapel in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. (Pictured on the left.)

Now there was a little room up there with a piano and a lot of shadows you reached by a twisting stairwell, if I remember correctly. I don't recall any bats, unless you count us two batty guys plinking out show tunes on a dusty keyboard.

Man, sometimes I think I lived a rather weird life.

Nonetheless, I did experience those other things. We lived in a double-house or a semidetached or whatever you calls it nowadays in Drexel Hill. One days we heard some strange noises emanating from the basement. Going down to investigate something whipped on by and somewhere else an object fell with a metallic clang as things were knocked about by two squirrels showing their furry tails as their fleet fast feet carried them hither and yon about that cavern of a cellar.

I did not know how they got in and I did not know how to get them out. There was no door to the outside down there and I had no intention of luring them up the steps to the kitchen. They might have found the upper floor much more cozy than that dreary basement and moved in as permanent squatters. I had to hire an exterminator to extract the tree rats, for which the little beasts should be grateful. If they had remained where they were they might have well drowned, but that is another story.

The birds were a different story and I handled them myself, probably badly. The first time this occurred we were living at Ski Mountain, a ski resort(?] in South Jersey. I know, I know.  It is flat and all that in South Jersey and hard to believe one could be living at a ski resort, but yes, we did. The complex was called Chalet, like in Swiss Chalet, which they have in all those ski resorts in the Alps presumably. Actually, this ski resort was not far from the amusement park where my late-teen friend lived. (By late-teen, I mean we were in our late teens at the time, not that my old friend is dead, which he may or may not be.) This was Tom, I mentioned him before somewhere in all these postings. He and I met while both studying IBM Programming and Cartooning. (What tha?) He's the one I got lost in the Ladies' Room of the Wanamaker Store in Philadelphia with while trying to find the subway.  See, I told you I think I've lived a weird life, but none of this has anything to do with the bird in the laundry room.

Anyway, there was this bird in the laundry room of our Chalet apartment at Ski Mountain in South Jersey. I do not know how or why he was there. Perhaps he had clothes to wash. He was not a little bird. He (or she) was a big bird (not The Big Bird), just a big bird. He (or she or hesh) might have been a Mockingbird. It was certainly mocking me. I mean I was kind of scared of this thing with its long pointed beak and big flapping wings and sharp looking toenails.

Now at this time I was working for an egg breaker. (Do you think the bird was some kind of avenger?) Yes, there is such an occupation as egg breaking. I had a hard hat I had to wear when I went into the plant. I put this hard hat on, got a butterfly net I happened to have laying around (don't we all) and managed to shoo this feathered fiend out of the laundry room. He (or she or hesh**) immediately zoomed down the hall into the bedroom and then into the closet. Here I come in pursuit, smacking myself on my hard hat with my butterfly net because I was too stupid to close all the inner doors before getting it out of the laundry room.

The photo on the left is a rather poor one of said laundry room.

I seemed to be quite adept at chasing creatures into that closet. Once it was a mouse. "Oh, there's a mouse, there's a mouse. Get it, get it!" had screamed the Little Woman and it ran into that same closet and cowered in a corner. Now as I hovered over the quaking mouse, the Little Woman hovered over me saying, "Oh, he's so cute. Don't hurt him." I got a beer stein from a collection of these mugs that I had and captured the mouse within. Snapping the lid down on the stein, I toted the little fellow a couple blocks up the street and set him free. Let him invade some other Chalet dweller's closet.

However, this mutant bird wasn't cowering. He (or she or hesh) was glowering at the funny man in the hard hat. Now it swooped, I ducked and it disappeared out the bedroom door and down the hall. A moment later the little Woman was screaming in the living room.

I raised my trusty butterfly net and hurried forsooth to the rescue, finding the Little Woman crouching in terror upon the sofa as this bird made strafing runs back and forth across the room. Pausing, I remembered, and leaving my wife to perhaps a horrible fate, I hurried back to shut the bedroom door before erstwhile bird should decided to retreat there again. Now I scurried to the kitchen and slid open the back door leading to the balcony. I charged the bird, who then charged me and as I hit the deck, it swooped low then made a beeline out the kitchen door and was gone.

We seemed to have escaped these home invasions for many years, but then just a few ago I was sitting in the living room where we now live and saw the cats taking an unusual interest at a corner cabinet. What is this? They were scratching and staring and doing those funny moves cats do when stalking prey. Was there a mouse in the house?

Something scurried across and under the entertainment center. Ah ha, most certainly a mouse. Yeah, right, a flying mouse, for suddenly this thing was in the air and zooming about the room, then out to the kitchen and down the hall. And right behind came a leaping, bounding army of confused cats.  The Little Woman came upon the scene at this time and we had a repeat of the long ago huddled on the couch in terror scene. This time she was holding pillows over her head.

Cats bounded off walls, between my legs, over the furniture and this tiny bird whizzed around and above my head. Now came the tricky part. How do I open the door and let this creature out without my cats escaping?

I didn't. The bird landed in a corner, perhaps exhausted by its predicament and I was able to scoop it up before any cat got to it. I carried it outside and set it loose.

And I hear some people think a pigeon in the garage is an ordeal.


Ron said...

A 'mouse in the house' (you're a poet and don't know it?) and a 'hesh?' Quite a story Lar. Swooping and swatting to and fro. All we had to do was open ('Open Sesame') the garage door and the errant bird flew the garage.

Larry, aka The Kid and The Old Goat said...


Your comment reminded me I had meant to define "hesh" in a footnote. English has no neutral pronoun for he or she, so in cases where a gender isn't specific one must either choose one or the other or write he and she or she and he every time. We should have a word for both, perhaps "hesh".