I spent the summer of 1996 at with Grandma at the old farm house; it was the
summer between my two years of graduate school. We really got to know
each other better during the visit, since we hadn’t been able to see
each other frequently when I was growing up. I’m very thankful for the
experience. We had a few adventures that summer, including this one.
Raccoons repeatedly invaded the property all summer long. Grandma was kind enough to use a live trap to catch them, because she thought
poisoning or shooting them (as she and Grandpa had previously done)
would bother me. At one point, there were so many raccoons that there was one in the live trap every morning.
The downstairs tenant dealt with several of the raccoons,
releasing them many miles away from the property. He was really doing
us a favor, as catching and releasing wildlife carries a hefty fine.
Just when we thought we’d seen the last of the raccoons,
one more showed up in the trap; it was young and small. Grandma didn’t
want to trouble the tenant anymore, so we went on an "adventure."
The day was balmy and mosquito-y. Grandma put trap and raccoon
in the back of the old car, the biggest station wagon ever, and we made
a plan to drop it off somewhere. We drove up and down a few hills, and
through town. Now and then an older couple would drive by us and gave
that two fingered, blinky, "cops nearby" signal. Grandma was a little
nervous about running into the cops.
"This is Al Capone country" Grandma said, explaining how he’d
had a hideout on the river beside the road. Getting into the gangster
theme, she added, "Hehe, we’re smugglin’ raccoons!" in her cute Mississippi accent.
After about forty-five minutes, it started to get dark. Grandma
decided it was time to release the raccoon. She pulled over, got out of
the car, and started back toward the trunk. Just then, a set of
headlights appeared down the road. Grandma was startled, thinking it
might be the cops, and flattened herself against the car. I heard her
mutter "Nothing to see here, nothing to see."
With the car safely gone, Grandma decided this area was just
too risky. We drove another half hour, then pulled over again. We
pulled the cage out of the trunk and opened it, but the raccoon just
didn’t want to leave. Grandma held the cage upside down and shook it,
while I whacked the back of it for a while, before the raccoon crawled
finally hopped out and scampered away.
Thus ended our night of raccoon smuggling.