“Holy shit! Moose tracks!” I estimate a good four feet between each print.
“We have a moose! We have a moose!” The puppy scampers through the snow, ecstatic at my discovery of tracks. Huge tracks. Either a moose or Big Foot on steroids. “We have a Mickey Moose. I love Mickey Moose. He’s so cute. But you found him dead once and you put him in the brook.” My darling is easily puzzled. Synapse confusion strikes again. “Is this another Mickey Moose? Are there lots of Mickey Mooses?”
How to answer, how to even begin? As always, I screw my courage to any sticking post available and I try. “First, this is a moose, not a mouse. Mickey is a mouse. A mouse is tiny, like the one who died and had the funeral in the brook. A moose is bigger than a deer. Bigger than Rudolph or Bambi. A moose is really, really tall.” And stupid. Really, really stupid. The largest game animal in Maine has no natural predators, so for a moose it’s pretty much eat, sex and poop. Poor beasts offer an easy target for the annual lottery-winning slaughter. (Ayuh, sorta like shootin’ a cow. They just stand there. Surprised-like when yuh plug ‘em.) That evolution response thing hasn’t kicked in yet to warn against high-powered rifles. Run guys, fight back, do something, but no, they just stand there. I check out the tracks again. Yep. Moose. Only one.
The puppy prances in and out of the deep drifts with a dizzying rhythm. “Mooses. Mooses. I wanna see mooses. Show me.” She hovers mid leap as she considers her demand. “Now!”
“As I told you, moose are very big, not like Mickey. They’ve been known to step on puppies. And the plural of moose is the same word, moose. Not mooses.” I flex my fingers in my mittens. Good. The middle finger still works.
Ignoring my puppy-stepping-on warning, she pursues the grammar instead. “So, what’s more than one Mickey Mouse?” She scrunches her brow and I know this little session from hell is not over. “Bet you can’t tell me that!” She sticks out her tongue. Defiant little bitch.
“The plural of mouse is mice. More than one mouse. Mice.” Oh, crap, I’m standing in moose tracks with a wind chill of six degrees discussing the niceties of English usage with a dog. There’s a word for that as well, but I choose not to go there.
“So lotsa mooses should be meese. Right? I wanna see Meese. Show me Meese. Give me Meese.” Her own unique siren accompanies her progress towards the house. “Meeeeesssssee!”
Is the puppy channeling Ronald Regan? Perhaps I’ll name our moose, I mean Meese, Edwin. A right-wing moose trespassing onto left-wing property. Leaving behind elephant-sized piles of droppings. Seems about right.
Causes Mara Buck Supports
Kennebec Valley Humane Society, Amnesty International