As you can imagine, asking someone to take care of both Crazy Bitch Peaches and my six chickens, plus one Cockamamie Rooster for three weeks is pushing it. On any friendship level you want to test.
So, it is with profound appreciation that I thank my neighbor Tom Augherton, who not only took care of them, but took Peaches for a walk and sent me almost daily updates on their welfare, like this one:
Temperatures are falling to provide a more hospitable setting for your return to the great American southwest. We have gone from hellaciously hot to just very warm, meaning slightly-below 100.
Be advised, Peaches is again in the throes of a post-menopausal false pregnancy. The rubber chicken provided to her lsat year has apparently just gestated again and she is alternately nursing and cleaning her new offspring. (Bob, private aside, what is the male equivalent to female menopause -- is it false erections instead of false pregnancies?)
The packrats will be happy to see their hosts return.
I think they are in the garage working on a special surprise which is intended to be artistic and made of discarded items. Your garage may have transformed into a Manhatten-style loft and your recycling bins have become objects d'art. The final effect is Cave Creek's answer to 'trompe d'oiel' -- a packrat condo disguised as a 1947 Ford. Bob, seriously, we have to get you to Ace Hardware in Carefree to purchase a battery-powered Rat Zapper. They work like a charm, electrocuting one a night until these artists leave and move to Soho. They're using your home address to receive mail. They have their own cemetary behind the chicken coop. They're stealing Peaches' food. They're defecating indoors and making crop circles with it. It is time for War on the Bell Packrats. You don't want to use poison because it can kill the owls when they get a full-bellied mouse or rat. These battery-powered boxes, zap them and you just turn it on end over a trash can and empty out.
Maybe there is a True West story here -- about the humble mouse and rat that travelled West on the great iron horse and took up lodging in the early settlements, afflicting man and grain storage. And then, a portrait, on Great Cats of the Old West - Mousers Who Protected the Pantry and Guarded the Barn...
Safe travels back to El Norte El Caballero! -TA out
End of email. Since he won't take money from me, I am offering him a painting of our neighborhood:
Come up this weekend and get it, Tom and thanks again for being a great neighbor.
"To others we are not ourselves but a performer in their lives cast for a part we do not even know that we are playing."