Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Wild America

Over the weekend we were out for a drive with the visiting Germans when suddenly a roly-poly critter scurried across the road. The German dad slammed on the brakes and said, "What's that?"

"That's a groundhog," I said. There followed a rapid flurry of German as the dad described this wondrous creature to his enthralled family members. I didn't understand a word of it, but he spoke with the kind of excitement I might use to describe a close encounter with a unicorn. Finally he turned to me and said, "What do they do?"

I had to think about this for a moment. "They get into the garden and eat up your vegetables," I said. "People shoot them."

"For meat?"

"No," I said, "for vengeance."

I was rescued from further explanation by the sudden appearance in the road of another roly-poly critter that excited similar excitement: a VW bug. That I can explain. Groundhogs, on the other hand, defy explanation.

I thought about suggesting that our visitors take some groundhogs back to Germany with them, but they'd never make it through security.


Laura said...

Maybe if you'd explained the temperament of the groundhogs, they would understand a bit more.

And some do shoot groundhogs for meat, i.e. Moon Mullin's My Mama Cooks Groundhog . I kid you not.

Joy said...

For vengeance! Too funny.

I know someone who calls them "whistle pigs" because they apparently stand on their hind legs and whistle - I'm not certain why - warning fellow groundhogs that there's a predator near (seeking vengeance) or maybe it's just because they're having a good day. It makes me feel like a failure, however, as I can't whistle at all. I'm starting to get that whole "vengeance" thing now...