By Charles Wagner
Mice are our greatest enemies at the country home in Woodside, where we spend every summer as well as every Sunday during the rest of the year.
Not long ago the mice got into the storage closets and carried away cotton bunnies and chickens from a box of Easter decorations. They also ran off with some of the Fourth of July things.
We set traps all around the house and baited them with the choicest of foods. In general, the mice were too smart for us, but one evening we were happy to know that we had one fewer enemy.
One Wednesday after dinner, my uncles were outside in the garden; my two brothers, Herman and Billy, were up in the barbecue cabin playing ping pong, and my grandmother, mother, sister, and I were in the living room, reading.
All of a sudden, Grandmother got up, put her hands to her throat, and said in a weak voice, "Oh, oh, oh, get the uncles in here now! There's a mouse running up and down the fireplace."
We were relieved to know she had not taken sick, but we were frightened to know that a mouse was among us.
I ran outside and shouted to my uncles, "Come to the house quick. There's a mouse running around the living room."
"Grab him yourself, Charlie," teased my Uncle Herman, but I was too frightened to move.
"Get the cat," called one of my brothers.
Our cat, who was all black except for a button of white hairs on his breast, and named Kitty, was sitting on the lawn when all the excitement began. Billy picked him up and ran into the house, followed by my older brother and uncles.
They put the kitty on the mantle, but he didn't seem to find anything of interest, so he jumped down and went over to the door and sat down.
"I'll bet it's in the clock," I said. "The back's open."
My Uncle Herman turned the clock and shook it a bit. Out jumped the mouse!
General panic followed. Everyone moved in every direction. My mother jumped on the sofa. My sister ran upstairs and out to the sleeping porch. I followed my sister, but before I went I saw that only my Uncle Herman remained near the mantle, swapping away at the mouse.
The mouse made an effort to get away, but the unlucky thing chose a path in front of the kitty. I saw a streak of black, and then, no more mouse!
Later my sister came in and said that the kitty was eating his dinner after his appetizer. I went outside to tell him how wonderful he was.
He looked at me as if to say, "What are you talking about?" Then he went on eating.
The kitty might have thought that he hadn't done anything, but to us, he was a hero.