Getting What You Ask For

You would think as many times as I’ve heard, “Be careful what you wish/ask for,” that I’d be cautious. When we began house hunting in Hattiesburg, we sent lists to the real estate agent who would eventually become our good friend. High on Al’s list was “close to a hardware store.” My priority said, “a feel of living in the country.”

“Ha!” we thought, “Let’s see a real estate agent pull that one off.” Well, she did. Al may travel five minutes to Lowe’s several times a day, needing another piece of lumber, special sized nails, or a different color paint. He has what he wanted, and all is well.

So have I – most of the time. Between our backyard and the next street is a mass of Mississippi woods in a gully that would seem to prevent it from ever being developed for houses. However, my feel of living in the country means sharing strawberries, figs, blueberries, and other edibles with birds, squirrels, and rabbits. A new twist turned up recently. Ice cream cone shaped holes began to crop up in the pine straw mulch around my flower beds.

“Squirrels,” Al said.

“Squirrel holes aren’t that shape,” I argued.

Every time I mentioned the holes, Al’s response was the same. “Squirrels.”

I rolled my eyes and let it go, until this week when I heard him yell, “Virginia Ann, bring the camera!”

There you have it. Four armadillos with cone-shaped noses digging merrily in my pine straw mulch with not a care in the world that I was documenting their invasion.  This also puts a lie to the rumor that they are deterred by pine straw.

He said, “You may be able to get a blog out of this.” Which I have done, but I’m thinking more in terms of a picture book.

Once upon a time there were four little armadillos. (I know there are usually three, but Beatrix Potter gave Peter three siblings, and I have four in my picture. So there.) Their names were Alice, Allen, Alberta, and Aloysius. (Must have that alliteration and you may note that any can be shortened to “Al.” And yes, I know the science of four identical armadillos born from a single egg means we won’t have two boys and two girls, but this is my story and I’m sticking with it.) Their mother sent them out to forage for food.

Now I don’t have the entire plot worked out, but I’m sure Alberta is the gutsy problem maker who stands up to pose for her portrait. And I think by the time we get to happily ever after she will have spent time in my flower bed leaving behind a glass slipper, or has that already been done?