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4. Bite Me

Paula Young Lee Travelers' Tales ePub

Chapter Four

Bite Me

Biologically speaking, if something bites you, it is more likely to be female.

biologist Desmond Morris

Johns father is shooting gray squirrels from the kitchen window, trying his best to scare me away. Now that John has started bringing me to Maine every weekend, the Big House isnt big enough for the both of us. It isnt personal. Its political. Ill always be a liberal, and its best if John realizes this sooner rather than later and moves along to a nice conservative girl who isnt so noisy when she eats. The three-month hunting season on squirrels lasts through the end of December, and theres no bag limit because theyre a pest species. Specifically, the little criminals have been nesting under the hood of his truck and stealing from the bird feeder. The gray squirrels are also bullying the red squirrels out of the neighborhood, even though grays and reds dont eat the same food or chase the same girls. The red squirrel is small and sleek, resembling a chipmunk without stripes. But he cant eat acorns. Instead, he mostly eats pine nuts. As a result, he tastes like pine tar, the stuff in turpentine.

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17. Ham Supper for 227

Paula Young Lee Travelers' Tales ePub

Chapter Seventeen

Ham Supper for 227

I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.

Sir Winston Churchill

Ow, Patrick announces, as everyone sits down to Sunday supper at the Big House. I just bit on something.

Buckshot, John says calmly.

But Im eating potatoes, Patrick protests.

Buckshot, John repeats, and reaches for another serving of venison chop suey.

So tell me about the wedding! I prod Patrick.

We got married, Patrick shrugs, still chewing with a slightly puzzled expression on his face. Then we fished at the lake.

Thats it?

Yep.

You still doing the pig roast?

Yep.

What about the pig? I poke him. Have you got one yet?

Nope, he replies. If I bring a pig home early, Christy will start cooing over it and before you know it, it will be another Bucky. And then Ill just have to get another pig to roast.

Just to be clear, Bucky wasnt a pig. He was a dog stuck in the body of a goat.

It is a truism of animal husbandry that certain animals come in pairs. The dove is one of them. The goat is another. Even if herds of other friendly animals are around, a single goat will not do well on its own. The specifics of the pair dont matter: It can be girl-girl, boy-boy, boy-girl, old-young, big-small, or black-white. They just both have to be goats, preferably two of the same kind, and not an Archy and Mehitabel kind of pair (a cockroach and an alley cat, in case you were wondering). Bucky thought he was a dog. So did all his friends. Wagging his tail, Bucky followed Patrick wherever he went. Begging to be petted, Bucky lived inside the house and shed on the couch. But one day, while nobody was home and he was all alone, he died. Death deprived him of his amazing powers of mind control, and behold! Bucky was returned back to being a goat. It was very upsetting.

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1. A Kormic Explanation

Paula Young Lee Travelers' Tales ePub
Medium 9781609520809

12. When Worlds Collide

Paula Young Lee Travelers' Tales ePub

Chapter Twelve

When Worlds Collide

Your salvation doesnt interest me. Mine does.

When Worlds Collide, 1951

Its my fathers eightieth birthday weekend. My brother, his wife, and their daughter are taking a red-eye flight from California and landing early on Saturday morning. They are staying in Wellesley for thirty-six hours, long enough to land, say hello, have dinner, and then they are fleeing back to Palo Alto. We have not been all together since my mother died fifteen years ago.

Am I thinking about this? No. I am trying to organize the freezer. The impending arrival of a thousand pounds of moose meat creates an acute space management problem. In 2000, according to the USDA, the national average consumption was 195 pounds of meat per person. One moose, then, feeds a family of four over the course of a year if you can figure out how to preserve it. One solution is jerky, but Id really rather not turn good meat into spicy strips of shoe leather.

If were lucky, well get a moose right away! John hollers cheerfully, and bounces down the stairs, through the kitchen, and out the front door as fast as he can. Hes heading up to Maine. Its Friday night, meaning that hes got Saturday and Sunday to scout. On Monday, the moose season officially starts. He is also trying very hard to disappear before my family gets here. Families are just bigger versions of other peoples babies: theyre adorable until they start throwing tantrums and screaming. In my case, theyre screaming in Korean and sometimes French, depending on who shows up and the nature of the occasionsay, my sisters wedding. Nobody has a clue what the other person is saying, but theyre all saying it very LOUDLY.

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Epilogue

Paula Young Lee Travelers' Tales ePub

Epilogue

For the next two weeks, Im holing up on a writing fellowship in a summer house on a hefty tract of private land located on Shin Pond up north. Its Patten Pioneer Days this week, and the festivities are in full swing. The big event is the firemans barbecue on Friday, followed by fireworks, and a spaghetti supper at the Methodist church. There will be traffic this weekend because of it. The town only has a few hundred residents, but this weekend, everyone comes back, including me and my dad, who is bringing his new girlfriend, and they are both staying with me (in separate bedrooms, he repeats a hundred times, just to make sure Ive understood.) He and Barbara met at the Senior Center over slabs of meatloaf, and theyve been happily doddering away ever since. Strip away the externals, and the two of them are weirdly alike. On spindly legs they potter along, peeling oranges and marveling at the fresh air. They count their pills, worry about finding the bathroom at night, and theyre starting Spanish language classes together.

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