Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Yankee Doodled

I decided I needed yarn.

This was not your average impulse. I wasn't out of sock yarn. I had several sweaters-worth sitting about. I could have knit other things. I could still knit other things. The world wasn't going to end if I didn't go to a yarn store.

I had to go to a yarn store.

I think we can equate this with Jennifer's finding a band--or even a song--that she must have and hunting for it at every store within driving distance. Or that time we went to every store in Peru looking for a copy of The Little Mermaid on sale so we could watch it and sing along (to no avail). It was the kind of journey fueled by obsession.

So--unhealthy, impulsive, obsessive--even manic...all would be good ways to describe Laura last Wednesday night.

It was decided. I would go to Fort Wayne on Thursday...for something.

It's bad, really. Because I had already resolved to use my Christmas money to buy something that my friends all know I really need. A ball-winder. Something to prevent my hand-winding 1400 yards of lace-weight yarn. In fact, I really need a ball-winder and a swift, so I don't have to keep guilting friends and loved ones into holding my untwisted hank of yarn while I hand-wind it (sometimes for several hours).

I didn't get a ball winder.

Instead, I got more sweater yarn. But that isn't what this story is about. This story is about Yankee.

Just a disclaimer--that isn't really him.

Yankee is a stealth-mouse. He would never let me take his picture. That would be un-mouse-like of him.

He thrives on danger, like 007. Only he's a mouse.

Let's go back a few steps, shall we?

Mom and I were driving up to Knitting Off Broadway, a lovely Fort Wayne yarn store that has tons of sock yarn. Tons. Not the point. We were driving.

I threw my cell phone and iPod in the cup holder I use primarily to hold my cell phone and my iPod, rather than beverages. Then I shot my hand back out and retrieved them.

"I have a mouse in my car," I announced.

"No," Mom replied. "Those are too perfect. They're all the same size. They have to be chocolate sprinkles."

1. I hate chocolate sprinkles 2. I hate icing 3. I would never eat either of those things 4. I certainly wouldn't do it in my fancy new car and 5. I never have passengers and 6. even if I did, I wouldn't let them eat chocolate-sprinkle-covered anything in my car.

I related these points to Mom.

Then I added the clincher.

"They weren't here yesterday."

Mom fell silent.

"A mouse doodled in my car," I said. "Right in my cup holder, like a giant mouse latrine."

Mom did what moms do, using a Kleenex to gather up and dispose of the Mouse Doodles, shoving them in the now-empty car Kleenex box.

We went to Fort Wayne.

We--well, I--bought yarn.

And we went home.

"I can't believe a mouse came in and doodled all over my car!" I proclaimed.

"He doodled," Mom said. "So his name should be Yankee."



It just happened.

Did you feel it?

Yankee the Mouse just became one of God's perfect little woodland creatures, the kind that show up during Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty to sing with the princesses, the kind that only evil, heartless step-mothers and the devil himself would harm.

In short, that one phrase made Yankee a person.

You don't just go around killing people.

I went to the hardware store in North Manchester and surveyed the mouse-control products. I saw poison, neck snapping devices, and worst of all, the glue traps that cement mice to the inner surface, leaving you to kill them yourself, let them starve, or rip off their little-mousie legs when you try to free them.

If I did any of those things to Yankee, I would really have earned my place in hell. In fact, I would have just bought myself a lifetime, non-transferable pass to Hell, the kind with the capitol letter, the kind that you can't get out of no matter how nice you are. The Brethren Hell, the one I learned about as a wide-eyed child in Sunday school, where you go when you don't listen to your parents and give other people your toys and let the kids in your class break your new crayons. The kind where you spend forever and ever, the kind of time it would take a sparrow to pick apart Mt. Everest one grain of sand at a time, moving it back and forth forever.

If I hurt Yankee, I was going to Bad Girl Hell, and I was probably going to cry like I did the time I hit that bunny on my way home from Manchester College, the little Flopsy Bunny, the innocent one with its little cotton tail that was going home to feed his or her kids, kids that would now starve, wondering even in their last moments why Mommy or Daddy hadn't come home, even though they'd promised they would.

This was Big Time Hell, Bad Girl Evil Failure Stupid Pointless Person Hell, and the guilt I would be saddled with after killing Yankee would follow me for my entire life, shortening it by an average of 5 years.

No way was I killing Yankee, I resolved. Then I noticed: the live capture traps.

"No Poison!" They proclaimed. "Humane Mouse Traps!"

I bought them.

I smeared peanut butter inside.

Then I placed them carefully inside my car and addressed the empty seats.

"Yankee," I said. "I know the car ride was scary, but if you come have some peanut butter, I'll take you somewhere safe where you can live." I balanced the little trap so that its little door stayed open. Yankee's weight would make it tip and close the lit tightly behind him. "I know you didn't mean to get stuck in here. I'll take good care of you. Don't worry."

And then I ran my cat and dog through the car, so it would smell all predatory, making him want to leave of his own volition.

So far, there has been no second sighting of Yankee's doodles. I think he abandoned ship on his own, because my peanut butter trap is intact. I hope he's okay.

I wish he would have had some peanut butter before he left. It's cold outside.

He needs the protein to stay warm in his tiny mousie fur coat.


  1. Yankee Doodled in her car
    what of that chocolate sprinkle?
    left her car in such a mess
    next time he'll only tinkle

  2. That is fantastic! Thanks, Jen!