Please click on Posts by Topic in navigation to read postings and columns about the many humorous (in retrospect) events encountered by my family, friends and me. The above drawings by son Greg (way over qualified for that task) illustrated a couple of my books. You may click on each to enlarge if you wish to see more detail. And, yes, I really did hit an owl on the highway and unknowingly drive all over town with him hanging from the grille.
It just isn’t what we expected. I think it is a gopher. It’s a lot smaller than the groundhog. Cuter, too. The Internet — we can always believe the Internet, can’t we? — says gophers have pink feet. This one surely does. Ray thinks it may be a rat because its tail is hairless.
But, wait! The Internet says one difference between a gopher and a groundhog is that the gopher’s tail is hairless, while the groundhog’s shorter tail is covered with fur. Another reason I think it is a gopher is because Ray thinks it is “a cute little fellow.” He surely wouldn’t think a rat was cute, would he? Case closed. It’s a gopher . . . unless, of course, one of you know what it really is.
Ray discovered the little rodent (whatever it is, it is definitely a rodent) was in the trap when he went to the front step to crack black walnuts which he will freeze until he needs them for the Christmas candy he makes. He said the little guy was frantic, trying to bite his way free through the wire. Ray felt so sorry for him, he gave him part of his cream-cheese Danish.
“He went nuts over that,” Ray says, “He just loved it.” The critter will have to go back to eating whatever he eats when pastries aren’t available, because Ray transported him to the Wakarusa River and let him loose where, according to Ray, “He took off like a shot! He was really moving fast.”
The Wakarusa is a small river, more like a creek until it floods, located about three and a half miles from our home. Its name is an Indian word meaning “hip-deep.” It is where Ray released the many raccoons he caught in that trap. I’m pretty sure the coons made it back to our home before he did. And, given that Ray said the little rodent was really moving fast, I’ll bet he did, too!
At least we now know to bait the trap with cream-cheese Danish.
Perhaps he’s a she. We’re not sure. But the rogue rodent — call it what you will, groundhog, woodchuck or the words my husband calls it — that has been plaguing Ray for months just bit the tops off all of the garlic and red onions he planted in a square-foot garden.
Wasn’t it enough that the *%#$@&* shredded one of the boxes containing our Tuft&Needle twin XL mattresses for our king bed? Apparently not, because he’s been digging a big hole under the south side of the attached garage since Ray blocked the cavern he had dug under the front sidewalk.
Many moons ago, my mother was troubled by a female groundhog. We knew she was female because she had a bunch of babies who followed her around. One day, she waddled up to Mom’s bedroom window and — without any provocation whatsoever — bit a huge chunk out of the bottom window frame. Many might have dispatched her for that sinful destruction, but we’re softies who cannot kill a mother whose babies need her.
Son Greg called his high school anatomy teacher — he also taught biology — who brought out a safe trap and, after several tries with different baits (I think apple was one), finally lured the whole kit and caboodle into the trap. He carted them off far enough that they couldn’t do further damage to Mom’s house.
So Ray has now set up a safe trap (turns out a groundhog doesn't have to have babies for us to be softies). He baited it with apple. I still think my suggestion to bait it with Tic-tacs was better.
I have been notified that my story — “She Did it Herself” — about my grandmother which will be published this month in Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Crazy Family will also be featured on the Chicken Soup for the Soul podcast on April 18. They sent the following links to listen to the podcast: click here for Apple or here for Google.
I, however, plan to listen to it on the Chicken Soup for the Soul website: click here for Chicken Soup.
What is so cool about this is that so many people will learn more about Grams. She was an RN, trained in a Victorian hospital, an independent woman back in the day when most women weren’t. It was Grams who taught me how to make a fire by focusing the rays of the hot summer sun through a magnifying glass onto paper. It was she who could tell a bird by its song and a tree by its shape, bark or leaf. And it was Grams who made me pancakes in the shape of bunny rabbits and squirrels.
Best of all, Grams taught me how to grow old without noticing I was doing it. When the kids played with sparklers on the 4th of July, so did she. And I will never forget the day she accompanied Ray and me when we took our sons to the park. Grams came barreling down the high slide with both arms high in the air. She shot right off the end of the slide and landed in a pile of sand. She struggled to her feet, dusted herself off and headed for the ladder to “go again.”
Grams grew older but she never grew old. I plan to do the same.
For 15 years, I wrote a humor column titled Jest for Grins for my local Lawrence, Kansas Journal-World
newspaper.While I stay busy with speaking engagements, writing articles and books and serving as editor and primary writer of a newspaper for a non-profit agency, I really miss writing about the funny things life throws my way. This website allows me to do that.
I freely admit to being a control freak who wants to do things on my own, but my new friend Ruth has been a tremendous help to me. I kept trying to make this website perfect before publishing, but finally decided that was like waiting to have children until you can afford them: it will never happen. So here it is; you'll get to watch it improve.
If you develop into a frequent Jest for Grins visitor, you'll quickly become familiar with my usual cast of characters: husband Ray, sons Ray, Jr. (aka Butch) and Greg, daughters-in-law Linda and Valerie, grandchildren B.J., Gabe, Sammi and Zoe, sisters Lesta, Bette and Vicki, as well as a host of family and friends (not one of whom is boring). If the topic has the potential to be embarrassing to them, be assured that they read it and gave it their OK (otherwise, sister Lesta has threatened to sue me).