Uncharted Territory

What do a sock puppet, and Stuart Little have in common? They both like their snacks at ten o’clock at night.

“AAAHHH!” my daughter screamed hysterically – so loud in fact that I had to pause Bridgerton, which, given its dicey content, was a Godsend.

“What?” I asked her.


I’m not sure which one jumped first or highest since it happened simultaneously. Immediately, the rat stopped gnawing the granola bag, catapulted itself from the fourth shelf, landed safely on the kitchen floor and scurried outside. Upon further investigation of the granola bag, I noticed a pile of raisins next to it – yes, raisins. Maybe another thing they had in common, a dislike of dried grapes.

Recently, my son embarked on an Incredible Journey. He drove from Los Angeles to Milwaukee to spend time with friends. I was very proud of his bravery, yet as his mother, I felt such trepidation. He was making this cross-country drive at the height of the Polar Vortex. 

Why not travel to the North Pole? The same thing! He is a California boy! Californians don’t drive in snow. But Daniel Boone was determined and could not be stopped. Nor should he. It was all fitting together. 

He was driving his Explorer SUV, the one that bears his name on the license plate because I bought that SUV when he was born, twenty-four years ago. Now logging in two hundred thousand miles, it’s barely short of being a covered wagon.

The temperature in the Midwest had dropped below zero, when I got a call,

“Mom, the heater doesn’t work. It’s fine. I’m wearing all my clothes and my ski gloves.”

His resourcefulness gave me pause, “So, you’re driving to Wisconsin during a blizzard in an old car without a heater or snow tires. Have fun, honey.” 

At the same time, my other son was embarking on an adventure of his own. “Mom, can you help me with Valentine’s Day?”

Please let it be he’s making a card for me, using a doily and construction paper, and needs glue. No, my baby had a valentine. Normal for a teenager, and the girl is lovely, but I’m fretting. He is putting his heart in grave danger.

That gets us back to Stuart Little. I’m confident he has a mother who is fretting over him. What bravery to venture out to our pantry in the dead of night. What if those raisins were a Valentine’s Day gift? I bought a box of raisins in case Stuart Little returned after discovering our neighbors had a cat. I made a small pile by the front door as an offering, “If I take care of this rodent’s body and heart, please take care of my boys.” 

Jack made it home safe and happy. “Mom, there is a pile of rat poop by the front door,” he said.

I didn’t dare tell him it was an alter I had made for his safe travel. That would have sounded weird.

“No, those are raisins.”

“No, this is definitely rat poop. The raisins are gone.”

“Oh, thank you,” I whispered with a sigh of relief.

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