I was on my way home from the grocery store Sunday when I spotted something on the side of the road—something that had no business being anywhere on a cold, December evening. I slowed down to forty and studied the anomaly. After calculating my options, I determined the best choice was to continue driving.
I hurried home and rushed in the kitchen. R.J. was at the counter solemnly studying his Jumble puzzle.
“You’ll never guess what I just saw.”
“Okay,” RJ said, chewing on the cuticle of his left index finger.
“Come on. Guess.”
“A wolf?” My left eyebrow shot up involuntarily. “Why a wolf?”
“Because they never caught the pregnant wolf that escaped from Predator World a year ago.”
“I forgot about the runaway wolf,” I said. “But it wasn’t a wolf.”
“A coyote?” RJ asked half-heartedly as his gaze drifted back to the puzzle.
I put an end to my husband’s fake interest. “It was an armadillo.”
RJ, the former puzzle solver, said, “No way! What was he doing? He should be in hibernation this time of year.”
“He was shuffling on the side of the road, snout down. And I’m well aware armadillos are in hibernation this time of year…thus accounting for the oddness of this armadillo sighting. ”
“Where was he?” RJ asked.
“On Heather Row. Less than a quarter mile from our house.”
“Why didn’t you hit him?” The armadillo assassin asked.
I gasped. “I’m not messing up my car for a dumb armadillo. Hopefully he’ll freeze to death.”
“Or starve to death,” RJ added.
Monday night RJ was in a chipper mood. He whistled while he hung up his coat, whistled while he shuffled through the mail, and whistled while he cooked dinner. When the whistling stopped, he said, “You’ll never guess what I saw on the way home.”
I non-guessed, "The armadillo.”
“Yes. Guess where he was?”
“On Heather Row,” I stated.
“Correct,” RJ answered slowly, grin widening slowly.
I waited silently for my prize.
“Guess what he was doing,” RJ finally asked.
“Being dumb,” I answered.
“Well, true," RJ said.
Game almost over. “What else?” I asked.
“He was in perpetual rest on his back on the road.”
I studied my husband's face, looking for the tell. “Wait a minute. Did you…”
“No. I swear,” RJ said solemnly. “He was dead when I got there.”
“No need to check the bumper for blood?”
“In that case…Halle-freakin’-luiah. A dumb, damn 'dillo is dead.”
"You don't really seem that excited," RJ announced.
"Because that dead vulture food isn't our 'dillo. Our armadillo is smart, strong and saavy. He's probably burrowed in our compost pile, forty yards away where it's toasty and warm and the grubs and worms are inches away."
"Hang on a second," RJ said. "You want to believe your nemesis is alive."
I looked at my husband. No comment.
Causes Jules Jacob Supports
CASA of Southwest Missouri, Master Gardeners of the Ozarks, University of Missouri Master Gardeners, Missouri Court Appointed Special Advocates Association...