Jerry Clower (1926 – 1998) was a Mississippi storyteller whose most famous story involved some raccoon hunters. According to Jerry he and some friends treed what they thought was a raccoon but it turned out to be a lynx. The lynx was not amused when Jerry’s friend climbed the tree and poked the perturbed cat with a stick. When the lynx counter-attacked with teeth and claws Jerry’s friend called for the men on the ground to fire a gun up at the fighting twosome. Jerry told his friend they couldn’t shoot because they might hit the friend. The man yelled back, “Shoot anyway, one of us has to have some relief.”
I thought of this homespun wisdom when Peg and I noticed our only peach tree was devoid of every one of the large succulent peaches we had planned to pick this coming weekend. A whole family of raccoons gorged themselves on the golden delights I had saved from the Japanese Beetles, the crows and the opossums. Fifty dollars worth of Savin and two hours of work had been invested in saving those peaches until the perfect moment. Apparently the raccoons did not allow the good to be the victim of the perfect. Four days earlier than perfection was quite satisfactory for them.
I was so angry I called my friend Paul Axton, a Department of Natural Resources officer, and asked for help. He brought me a live trap and advised the best bait for raccoons is large marshmallows. I would have made Smores for the little devils if I thought it would help.
After about an hour of examining the trap and calling upon my college physics classes to figure how to set it, I proudly placed the trap on our front porch with large white marshmallows prominently displayed. After furnishing free marshmallows to the whole raccoon family for a week, I finally caught something last night, our cat. He was not pleased.
It only cost me a couple of Band-Aids and a bottle of rubbing alcohol to treat the cat’s revenge for a night spent in the cage. As for the raccoons, I hope there is some kind of special diabetes they get from overstuffing themselves on our peaches!
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