21 June 2006

Groundhog Day

Have I mentioned recently the utter destruction that some cute little nibbling bunnies wrought onto my gorgeous Romaine lettuce???? Off with their heads!

Actually the bunnies aren't the problem anywhere except the garden. It's the groundhogs. My dad was cussing at them again last night. Actually so was I. There we were, on the front porch drinking white wine before dinner, watching the little fuckers waddle across the yard, and I was yelling, "Yeah, that's right, you better run! Yeah, you! Don't look at me with those beady little eyes, I'm married to a man with a wall full of shotguns, and he looooves to eat groundhog! He'd be more than happy to come down here and blast your head off with his .22, you furry varmint!"

Which I know I've mentioned to my dad before in just such reference, but last night he looked at me quizzically (or maybe it was drunkenly) and said, "He is? I mean, he does?"

My educated response came via Bill Murray in Caddyshack: I cocked my finger at the groundhog in question and fired. "Au revoir, gophere."

My dad again: "I don't think we should. I mean, those people," he pointed vaguely with his wineglass in the direction of the horse farm across the street, who also now own the two other houses on this side of the road that share our circular driveway, "are like, animal activists and stuff. You know, they buy lots of horses and put them in little cages all day. Plus they have little yappy dogs." (are you kidding? this is even more of a reason.)

Now my dad knows I'm an animal activist too. "I like little furry creatures," I reminded him. "But I'm also a realist. And when something is eating the goddamned foundation of your outbuildings and tunneling under your front porch, you are entitled to blow its furry little head off. It's the way of country life. When ranchers start losing sheep, they're allowed to shoot wolves, which are a protected species. We're talking about groundhogs. Large furry rodents in paper bags, with bad teeth. Trust me. No one will miss them." As a matter of fact, the very reason we have so many groundhogs this year is that our next-door neighbour finally died at the ripe old age of 94, and isn't around anymore to drive around on her tractor and shoot them with her .22. Or, for that matter, poise outside our front porch tunnel with her shovel and a Hav-a-Hart trap and bonk them over the head when they come outside to investigate the shiny new toy.

Seriously. She did this. We called her "Killer Miller." Granny Get Your Gun.

My dad by this point had stopped drinking and was staring at me in rapt attention. I don't know, maybe it was horror that his granola-crunching hippie daughter was advocating the cruel ending of a life at the same time she was cutting full-page Amnesty International ads out of the NY Times. Or maybe it was pride that I'd finally gotten some sense in my head. (Blame it on marrying into a family of hunters, where "vegetarian" is a euphemism for "bad aim.")

"So, does your husband really have a .22?" He finally asked.

"Of course he does. Don't be silly. And that's probably the best choice for this task. But I really think he'd rather use the 30-30 with the night scope. Or maybe the 1917 Mauser his grandfather brought back from World War II," I mused.

As I got up to email him about this, my dad called after me, "Tell him to bring his biggest stock-pot, too." Then he laughed, the kid from Brooklyn making a hunting joke. He didn't notice the expression on my face, because I was already inside.

Because, you see, in my husband's family, they actually do eat groundhog.

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