When I was very small, I lived with my two sisters (Amanda, the younger, and Ginny Rose, the older), my mom and dad, and a menagerie of animals in a blue and white house trailer over the hill and across the dirt road from my Grandma and Grandpa.
Amanda and I are only 13 months apart, so I don't remember a time when she wasn't around.
It was a simple life, and I remember being a happy kid.
At our house, we had a big black jumpy dog named Thunder and a smaller lovey puppy named Spot. Spot was white with brown and black patches.
Spot was born at my grandma's house, though I don't remember his mother or any of the other puppies from his litter.
Spot was the runt, and Amanda and I loved him at first sight. We snuck him home every chance we got. If we thought no one was looking, we'd tuck him into a pocket or a bag and bring him home.
Eventually, he stayed with us for good. Except when he went back to my Grandma's on his own, to get a snack and visit with the residents.
We also had eight ducks – three mallards (the small brown ones that you see in the wild), four Pekins (plump white farm ducks), and a Muscovy (a white duck with a red face and beak).Ã‚ We raised the mallards and pekins from just-hatched ducklings, but the Muscovy chose us as she passed through at some point.
I'm not sure if it was the plentiful food or the blue kiddie pool filled with water and duck poop, but she liked things at our place. She flew in and never left.
Amanda and I loved our duckies, and we spent many hours chasing them.
Out of love.
Except we didn't chase the Muscovy; she didn't like it, and she let us know. She was a nippy bird.
We wanted to pet those ducks and play with them like we played with puppies and kittens. The ducks didn't think that was a good idea, and they'd quack and run away every time. I don't remember ever catching one.
In addition to the dogs and the ducks, we always had a bunch of cats. It started with Tom Cat, a sleek black male (what else?). One day, he came home with Mumma Cat, a small female who I presume was already pregnant. Like the muscovy, Mumma Cat never left once she arrived.
I don't remember all of the kittens' names, but Mumma Cat had three. My favorite was Patches, a little white kitten with black and brown splotches. She looked a lot like our puppy, Spot.
Despite the fact that we had cats and dogs inside and outside our house, we couldn't keep mice out of our trailer.
The kitchen, especially, was constantly inhabited by field mice.
I'm sure my parents used spring traps to get rid of the mice. I don't know how else they would have dealt with the problem.
Amanda had a different solution. She was enamored by the furry field mice. She'd put a dollop of peanut butter in the bottom of a very deep green bowl and go to bed. In the morning, a mouse would have crawled into the bowl to get a snack, but found himself unable to climb or jump out.
When she caught a mouse in her peanut butter bowl, she'd keep it in her pocket. I remember her holding and petting a tiny field mouse often, rarely getting bitten but often getting peed on.
She did the same thing with snakes that she found outside.
Amanda befriended so many mice that Santa Clause put one of those real fur cat toys in her Christmas stocking one year. She carried it around for years, even though its hair eventually fell out.
I bet she still has that old, bald mouse.
The second assignment for Mommy's Piggy Tales was to write about your pre-school life. I have so many stories to tell, but this was where my heart went first.
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