A game of cat and mouse

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, December 1, 2016

“It was one of those days

when the sun poured gold

into the air, and flecks of

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light floated in shafts that

fell through the branches

of yellow leaf and green.

We’d had dinner at a place

on the edge of a lake, and

now we were going back

to town. There was a simple

way to get there, but she

didn’t take it. Instead, we

drove the country roads

with the corn rows flicking by,

each one visible for a half

second, then gone….”

~ Joyce Sutphen, excerpt from “Country Roads”

Do you remember watching Tom and Jerry cartoons as a kid, dear readers? Jerry the mouse outwits Tom the cat. Just call me Tom, because Jerry is living high on the hog upstairs and laughing about it. For over a month, I’ve tried to get rid of my new tenant, Jerry, by humane means first, finally by evil means. Nothing works. That mouse is smarter than me; I’ve been thoroughly beaten and left scratching my noggin how one tiny gray mouse continues to outfox, outwit and vex me at my own game.

Used to be, you’d set a wood/wire trap out and dispatch the whiskered intruder. Nowadays, there are all sorts of mousetraps and bait stations, from trap and release, to death by snap, to last supper offerings.

Nothing has worked to get rid of Jerry. He nibbled, chewed, chawed the bait from the bait station, bit by bit. Finally, I caught him looking green around the gills one night—my guilt was overwhelming. Well, he polished off the bait—all I’d witnessed was a mouse hangover—akin to what we humans get on Thanksgiving Day. The guilt disappeared, and a determined Tom declared war: “I’m gonna get you, mouse!”

Jerry adores peanut butter, but refuses to come near a trap to get it. No way. He deftly scurries little mouse feet right around traps—figuring out they’re not his friend.

Instead, Jerry happily nibbles and gnaws the newest bait block, waiting ‘til wee hours each night to ensure Tom’s wide awake (picture wide-open eyes in a pitch-dark room) gnashing teeth over every little rustle and gnawing sound. Jerry: 10, Tom: 0.

Stay tuned: one of us is going to win this game.

Learn more about Saluda Community Land Trust (SCLT) by visiting saludaclt.org or calling 828-749-1560. Before the end of the year, you can become a founding member of SCLT by contributing $1,000 or more. For a limited time, SCLT has matching funds for contributions of more than $500. Checks should be made out to Polk County Community Foundation and directed to the SCLT endowment fund.

Join SCLT friends and family Dec. 3 at Twin Lakes, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. to make a boxwood wreath. This is paid for with a grant from Polk County Community Foundation which covers materials and lunch. If raining or under 45 degrees, the event will be at the Saluda Presbyterian Church fellowship hall.

Visit the Holiday Gallery for special gifts at Saluda Historic Depot, 32 W. Main St., through December, Thursday-Sunday, 12-4 p.m.

Saluda’s annual Hometown Christmas is December 9, 6-8 p.m., with an ecumenical service at 8:15 p.m. at Saluda Presbyterian Church on Carolina Street.

December 10 will be the Children’s Workshop at Saluda Fire Department, 9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. for children over 5.

Happy December birthday to Judy Ward, Holly Wilkes, Theresa Wilkes, Perry Ellwood, Donnie Hunter, Jeff Bradley, Preston Mintz, Carolyn Morgan, Susan Casey, Jeff Jenkins, Nikki Ammerman, Cas Haskell, Mary O. Ratcliffe, Milton Thompson, Laura Fields, Lord Blanton, Beth Brand, Jim Carson, and Tom DeKay.

Thank you, dear readers, for reading this column. As ever, the goal is to make you feel like you’re enjoying a cup of hot tea and a Tom and Jerry cartoon in a friendly little mountain town. Feel free to contact me at bbardos@gmail.com or 749-1153. I always love hearing from you! Or visit bonniebardosart.com for more writing and art, or find me on Facebook.