Peter’s Wild Kingdom

So the American election is over. Or is it? Is the American dream dead? Is it dying? Stay tuned on Sunday for the second part Roxanne Tellier’s incisive analysis of this major event, just another example of the great writing available on this blog. For my part this week I will focus on my adventures with the animal kingdom. While there will be some “Cat” adventures, most of these tales will be about the more feral side of local fauna. I hope you like it.

Let me start by remembering our Sunday afternoon routine which evolved as I grew up. We watched a number of TV shows as the aroma of Mum’s dinner cooking wafted through the air. Although not in order, I do remember “Tiny Talent Time”, “The 20th Century”, “The Wonderful World of Disney” ;( and “The Ed Sullivan Show”, just to finish the day with a roar!

We also watched “Mutual of Omaha’s ‘Wild Kingdom'”, with Marlin Perkins and Jim Fowler. I always wondered why Marlin got to stay safe in the studio, while Jim reported from the field, rather more “up close and personal” with the animals than I would want to be 😉 .Marlin passed years ago, while Jim died relatively recently. They certainly helped open the eyes of this inquisitive young man.

While I had the odd “incident” with “wild animals” in Toronto, it was not until I moved to Brampton that I really began to see Mother Nature in her natural splendour.

At the time, I was living in a basement. During the summer, I would leave the sliding glass door ajar, just for added cooling. I also would leave the door ajar during the day, so that Reg the Cat could come in and have something to eat during the day, when it suited Him a).

I came home one evening and found a shredded “Turkish Delight” wrapper. It was my favourite chocolate bar, and it was apparently one of the local raccoons’ favourites as well.

If I had been smart, I would have heeded this omen. So of course, I didn’t.

I went to bed that night and Reg curled up in a laundry basket. My dreams were interrupted by a high pitched “chirping” sound. I groped for my glasses, put them on and used my cellphone to give me some light.

I saw four beady little eyes reflect the light and the source of the “chirping” was revealed. It was two raccoons, a big’un and a little’un. I got up and waved my arms to startle them. They took the hint and returned whence they had come. Reg, for his part, had stayed motionless in his laundry basket, realizing that he would have been vulnerable to attack if he had reacted when they first came in, as he would have been at a disadvantage.

I opened the door the next morning, when I headed off to work. I closed it behind me. I got home and when it was time to go to bed, I left the door open again. The night passed quietly, in my ways than one. So I got up the next morning and went to the washroom. Flicking on the light, I was rendered speechless. Sitting in the middle of my bathroom floor was a possum. It was pure white with red eyes, and it was motionless, “playing possum” for lack of a better phrase. I flapped the skirt of my housecoat at the beast, and croaked for it to “shoo”. Now Pogo could either go right or straight ahead. If it went straight ahead, it could exit my room. If it turned right, it could get lost in the tangle of my worldly goods. Fortunately, it exited my room, and I closed the door and got ready for work.

From then on, I always kept the sliding door closed and I suffered no more nocturnal intrusions. That, Loyal Reader, was not for like of trying. Several nights later, two large racoons rushed at my door. One actually pounded on it with its forelegs. Reg arched his back and hissed at them both, before looking back to ensure that I was watching Him do His job.

That was it for animal adventures in my basement, although one morning, as I was leaving for work, i closed the sliding glass door on my right hand. I dropped to my knees and uttered some choice Anglo-Saxon words while Reg and his mother Jane watched in fascination.

Actually, it was when I sallied forth to take on the world that I had most of my contact with all creatures. Fortunately, they were small. There was a wooded area through which I had to pass on my way to the bus. Don’t forget that it would be about 5:30 in the morning, so I would be not quite awake at that time. I remember walking down the sidewalk and saw a skunk ambling up the sidewalk right towards me. Fortunately, I had enough room to make a discreet move to the other side of the street, thus he was avoided. On another occasion, I was moving down a path when I noticed an animal in front of me on the path. I thought that it was a big cat, but suddenly I heard Obi Wan saying “That’s no cat!” While the beast in question was a mammal, it was not a member of the “cat” family. No, I was hurrying towards …a skunk.

I was able to slow down and cautiously move past the skunk, and was able to resume breathing about 15 minutes later.

Another morning I was on the sidewalk, my bus stop was in sight and I began to relax. I suddenly realized that I was not alone, as there was a skunk ahead of me, to my right. I had an eight-foot-tall fence to my left and “Flower” had his tail pointed. It was pointed right at me. My insides turned to jelly, but I was able to sidle past him. I can still see his tail following me as I crept to safety.

Needless to say, I was happy to finally leave Brampton, to extricate myself from a horrid domestic situation, and I was able to resume my life in Toronto, where I became acquainted with not only great music, but outstanding people.

I never let Reg out once we settled in to our apartment, as I was afraid for his safety. He did escape a few times, but I recovered him without incident. I am remembering him because a year ago tomorrow, I had to have him put down, the culmination of a tragic and disheartening year.

But that was last year, Loyal Reader, this is now. I have new love in my life, we are settling in comfortably in London and CoCo the Fashionable is ruling the roost. The only other animal we have in our apartment would be me. CoCo did have visual contact with a pigeon on our balcony, but it was safely through the glass.

I have written a lot this week about skunks. Maybe that’s my comment on the current occupant of the White House. Anyway, stay safe, care for one another and be the best person you can be.

See you soon.

  1. a) Dogs have owners, Cats have staff

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: