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.

2 comments:

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...