Country Life Has Lost Its Charm

The raccoons blinked in acknowledgement and sauntered into the undergrowth.
Victor looked inside the car. It was evident that the three raccoons had spent some time in there. They had found, with some difficulty, everything eatable the boys had left behind. It was obvious from the condition of the inside of the car that they did not always agree on how the snacks should be shared. He could also tell from the smell that these raccoons were not housebroken.
Victor uttered a curse word or two and as he took in the extent of the mess and damage he pledged to kill every raccoon in the state of Maine.
Victor’s happy morning contemplations and spiritual yearnings were now replaced by anger and frustration.
Just then, Ronny came stumbling down the back steps, with his head tipped at an odd angle. Bare foot, wincing with a pain in his neck and with his blanket wrapped around him.
Victor seeing Ronny’s head tipped to one side remembered they had not put the hot packs on his neck. But Victor was unsympathetic suspecting Ronny must somehow be at the root of this smelly situation.
Victor saw this blurry eyed innocent as one that needed to share in his frustration. He called him to the car, and the sound of his own voice sounded loud and out-of-place in the tranquility of the morning woods.
As Ronny approached the car he asked, “What is wrong dad? Did someone try to break into the car?” Victor did not respond to the question but asked one of his own. “Did you leave this window down?” Ronny sensing from his father’s tone that things were not well replied, “I don’t know I guess so, I was asleep when we got home last night.” Ronny was close enough to see into the car. Victor instructed, “Look at this mess.” Ronny did and exclaimed, “Oh no! They got all my snacks.”
Victor’s hand flew out by reflex and intended to cuff Ronny on the back of the head but stopped short of contact. As he did he repeated, snacks!”
Ronny had reflexes too and he had pulled his head down into the thick blanket like a turtle responding to danger. This response sent a sharp pain down his neck and across his shoulder.
Ruth had stepped onto the front porch in time to hear “Snacks”. She offered her first instructions of the day; “Ronny don’t touch the snacks. I’m going to get your breakfast.“ She followed up with, ”Are pancakes alright with you men?“
Victor was angry about the mess in the car and confused by the sudden appearance of ”Miss Better Homes and Gardens“; whose normal idea of ”getting breakfast“ was to remind the boys not to drink directly from the milk bottle.


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