Always Look on the Bright Side of Ike, Vol. 4

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So you know Houston is finally getting back to normal after Ike.

I had just set off for the bus stop yesterday morning, right after the morning rain had abated. The storm drain across the street was full of debris, and looking closer, I saw a tiny creature tangled up in the foliage.

Right after Ike, we found about a half-dozen dead baby squirrels near our house, and this looked for all the world like one more. But looking closer, I thought I could detect tiny movements in its chest.

I picked up the little flea-ridden, bedraggled fellow. Its little paw closed instinctively around my finger, and yes, it was breathing! Hell, it could even open its eyes. But what to do? I couldn’t very well take a baby squirrel on the bus with me…

Luckily, Harry “Moe” Taylor, my animal-crazy grandfather, lives a block away from me. I went back to my bedroom and got a sock to swaddle the tiny varmint with and took him over to see if Moe would arrange a rescue while I headed on to work.

Susy Taylor, my grandmother, let me in. She was getting ready to take my aunt Jenny to work at the Cleburne Cafeteria. Moe was not yet awake, so Susy, who like Jenny, was terrified of my little friend, went off to roust him.

It would be an exaggeration to say he shot out of bed, but it’s true that he hasn’t moved his eightysomething bones that fast in quite some time.

“All right, let’s see him,” he enthused.

He sat in his easy chair and pulled a little table into the light. I set my precious bundle on the table and unwrapped it in front of him.

Moe looked at it intently. He cocked his head to the right and left. He lifted the baby’s head carefully with his finger, studying the creature’s skull shape.

“This is a rat,” he said.

Behind me I could hear two shrieks.

So look on the bright side, Houston – once again, we’re just as likely to find baby rats in the storm drains as squirrels. – John Nova Lomax

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