By the way, the people in the photos below are from about five years ago. In the red shirt is my brother-in-law, Warren. My dad is standing there in his suede jacket and boots, my Uncle Joe from California is in his windbreaker and ball cap, my Aunt Joyce is in her windbreaker and standing next to my mom who is sitting in her wheelchair with her cane ready for any moment she must make a slow, agonizing effort to stand and the darling girl there is my niece Phoebe, who is now 15 years old and such a dazzling beauty.
Anyway, you have to catch a glimpse of my dad and be ready for the story.
This story is from a time when my sister still lived at home
Anyway, on this particular night several years ago, during the night, there was a scampering sound. My mother had the ears of a Terrier, so she knew it was not a June bug sound, she knew it HAD to be a rat. Since their house sits on a large lot with a ditch behind it, there is sometimes a rat wandering close to the houses, looking for dog food a neighbor left outside or to scavenge for anything it can find before running back to the ditch or in a hole somewhere. The rat was being a rat.
Needless to say, my mother had a terrible fear of rats. I'm not joking. Rats were the only creatures on earth that could almost make her have the sudden ability to RUN! She couldn't even tolerate the sight of a rat on television. Her fear soon became a huge teasing issue in the family. But, to her, a rat was never really joking business; we, as a loving family, simply took advantage of that opportunity. Well, it was fun while it lasted...
So, on this night, my mom heard a suspicious sound and you know what she concluded...it had to be a rat making that particular sound. I believe their area had just endured a tropical storm and that's when you will find more activity with these creepy creatures, so she knew her suspicion was probably accurate. Someone must have left the backdoor off the laundry room ajar that evening as they took out the trash.
|My dad and Stefanie|
Waking, out of grumpy duty, my dad arose from bed to check it out. I'm sure he was intending to do a half-glance in the direction of the noise, without wearing his glasses, probably eager to see nothing and get back into bed for a good nights rest. So, he padded down the hall, heading for the laundry room. He passed my sister's bedroom and she had also heard the noises. My sister wasn't ready to let him off the hook so easily, "Go get it Dad!" she urged.
Initially, my sister was ready to slam her bedroom door, just in case she needed to be safe from a rat trying to escape in her direction. At this point, no one in the house knew exactly where the rat might have wandered off to.
You need to get the entire picture. Dad is modest, but not so modest as to care to get fully dressed when on rat duty at 1:00am in the morning. So, in nothing but his drooping tightie-whities, he stomped to the laundry room in a huff.
Oh, did I mention that his hearing is not the greatest? He probably needs a hearing aid, but it's not something he's willing to mess with, so he'd rather not hear all the excess of life and crank up the music when he's wanting to listen to sound. Therefore, he could not really hear the small sounds that this rat was making.
Of course, my mother had the super sonic hearing of a typical mom --- and her hair covered the second set of eyes in the back of her head. Don't all women gain these added features upon earning the title of "mother?"
Anyway, in his half-a$$ effort to search for a rat, only to appease the women in the house, he suddenly was the one shocked as a huge rat ran in front of him, from one area to the next, we're talking about a BIG TEXAS rat, about a four pounder. This rat was literally as big as one of their dogs.
|Heather, my dad and Stefanie|
Suddenly, after sighting the rat, he feels vulnerable while he's hopping around in his underwear, and he decides he NEEDS the glasses because if he could see the blurred image of the rat racing to a corner, he knew it had to be pretty darn big. There wasn't much time, he didn't want the rat to run into the main part of the house, but he had to be more prepared to duel with the rat.
By his own screaming, my mother and sister knew that he'd FOUND A RAT IN THE HOUSE. My sister initially slammed her door closed, but my mother could not get out of bed to move around without putting on her brace and going through a 15 minute ordeal to have any mobility, so she lay there screaming, "SHUT MY DOOR!!!" In her mind, she just knew that rat was running straight for her!
Not to worry, dad came racing back down the hall in his white underwear, a hero's uniform, and he put on his glasses, hurriedly stepped into his steel-toed work boots, then he had to find a weapon. What weapon to choose from for this attack? What could he use that coule be found in the master bedroom as the wife is screaming hysterically because she KNOWS there are rats EVERYWHERE!?
He had an idea. Into the bathroom he went and out he emerged with a sturdy toilet plunger. Out the bedroom he goes, after closing mom's door so he could tune her out, I mean, "protect her," and on he went to find the rat.
Back down the hall he goes with my sister peeking out her door to see dad in his underwear, wearing his workboots, glasses and carrying a bathroom plunger.
|My sister Robin, myself, my dad and my brother "Bubba"|
Bravely, he ventured back to the laundry room to find the rat still against the wall in the corner. The battle was on. I'm sure he hurt himself while trying to maneuver around the heavy equipment in the washing room, but he finally got the rat just where he wanted it and the story ends with dad plunging the rat to death along with using his strong boots to help finish the job. From my sister's angle, it sounds as if it was complete chaos and violence.
If it were me, I think I'd have a pellet gun or some kind of low velocity gun with enough power to take out a small critter, but not enough to do too much damage to the house. A good aim and BAM, you save lots of energy. However, my dad is not a gun toting person. He'd rather do battle with what God gave him, that's his style.
I'm sure the entire affair was not pretty, but it was an efficient method and his unique battle warfare gear seemed to do the trick. It seems his boots were the only thing he needed in order to feel completely safe. Hmmm. I don't know about that, but it worked for him.
By this point, my sister has felt the urge to emerge from the safety of her bedroom to watch it all --- I guess it was too good of a sight to miss and if something went awry, she was ready to jump on the furniture.
|Me, dad, and Robin|
I'm sure she was laughing just like this on the
night he was in underwear and boots, saving them
all from a rat with his plunger.
My determined dad proved that a plunger can serve more than one purpose. I wish he could've posed for an awesome photo on that night, but we don't want to traumatize the rest of the world. However, my sister Robin has assured me that the sight of dad that night is something that can NEVER be erased from her mind.