The Ottumwa Courier

July 2, 2012

Of mice and women

Et Cetera

Ottumwa Courier

OTTUMWA — I’ve lived a long time, but I have never seen what I saw recently while waiting in my car at the train station. We were waiting for the morning Amtrak which my kids boarded for a vacation in Chicago. The seats outside the station were taken by waiting passengers, so my daughter and son-in-law sat in the air-conditioned car to await the train’s arrival.

“What is that?” my daughter yelled, pointing to the corner of my front car window. Her husband said he didn’t know, a mouse or a ground squirrel, maybe.

I thought they were talking about some critter outside.

Suddenly, a mouse face appeared from under my hood, below my windshield wipers, peering at me. I screamed. My daughter screamed. My son-in-law just started laughing.

The silly little mouse kept reappearing below the front windshield. We wouldn’t see it for awhile, and then its head would pop up again.

I have heard of varmints, even cats, getting inside the hood of a car. I don’t know why. To get warm? But this was already a hot day, and since the car motor was running, I’m sure inside the hood was very hot.

Stupid little mouse, I said. You found your way in, now find your way out.

Katy said to flick it with my wipers. Scott just kept laughing.

After a few minutes, we thought it had left. I backed up the car a bit and pulled back in.

“There it is,” Scott yelled.

Katy and I screamed again.

This time, the woman in a car next to us started laughing and pointing. We got outside, and she said she saw the mouse run away.

I sure hoped so. The kids were going to Chicago, and I had to drive home alone, hoping nothing popped up in my field of vision. Can you imagine being out on the highway and a little mouse face appears in your front window? Oh my word, the terror!

Scott just kept laughing. Their vacation had hardly begun, and already there was an adventure.

Readers might remember about a year ago, I was in the hospital overnight, and Scott and Katy came home to find one of my cats under my bed with a half-eaten mouse.

I don’t remember ever seeing mice growing up at home. Maybe it’s because we had outside cats.

My two indoor felines just aren’t doing their job.

Judy Krieger is a retired Courier editor.