Me: Mom, do you have any strawberries? I'd like to make some strawberry shortcake.
Mom: Sure, they're in the freezer under some other packages. I'll help.
You see, living out in the boonies, my family lives a kind of pioneer lifestyle. We freeze or can everything. If it can be frozen, canned or made into jam or jelly, my Mom will do it. Even if she shouldn't. So, we marched down to the basement, opened the deep freeze and started looking. Mom pushed the end of a large package wrapped in black plastic towards me.
Mom: Here, hold this up.
If the past 30 odd years have taught me one thing, it's not to question my Mom. You just do whatever she says and you don't ask questions. Another thing I've learned, Mom likes to freeze things. And not just things you can eat. One time she found a funny looking dead blue lizard, so she froze it. She later took it the Forest Service to get investigated. Once, she kept a huge buck salmon head so we could show company its teeth jutting out of its jaw. It was nothing to find a weasel or owl in the freezer either. We just learned to accept these things. So when Mom pushed the black package towards me, I didn't want to know. Really. It wasn't until I saw some fur sticking out of a hole in the packaging that my curiosity got the best of me.
Me: Um, Mom, what's this?
Mom: A cougar.
Mom: That's the damn cougar that was eating my birds! (rummaging through packages)
Me: But, it's in a plastic bag. In the freezer. Wait, what's that, whiskers??
Mom: I don't have the time, so I put it here in the freezer.
Mom didn't skip a beat. She found several packages of strawberries and then forced the cougar bag back into its original position and we left.
I then tried to get Mom to play a practical joke on Grandpa. I told her she should let the tail stick out of the door and then ask Grandpa to get some strawberries for us. hehehehehe! I could imagine how bugged out his eyes would get, it would be great!! Ah, the stories he would tell about how a live gigantic cougar tried to attack him in the basement and how he survived with only a pocket knife and the skills he learned from the Korean War! I rubbed my hands together with glee, but Mom was a no go.
You're probably thinking, forget the cougar prank, why's the cougar even in the freezer? See, a couple years ago, my Mom started having problems with a predator eating her turkeys, peacocks, ducks, geese, chickens, etc. So she set out a trap for it. The next morning, she found a cougar in the trap! With the intention of taking it to a taxidermist, she put it in the freezer for a later trip to town.
Well, as it turns out, you're supposed to let the authorities know when you've killed a cougar within a specific period of time. Yada yada yada. You guessed it, Mom missed that narrow window of time. The taxidermist refused to touch the cougar, the police became involved and Mom had to go to court and pay a big fine. It was a huge ordeal. There was much complaining, bitching and hand flailing involved. So of course, Mom decided she had to do something with this cougar. Her sweet revenge? She just recently got it tanned and sent me this picture of the small cat stretched out on the piano.
Oh, what's that behind it? Funny you should ask. One is a very old bobcat that is looking more and more like a kitty cat each day. Yes, it's that old. The other? I don't remember the exact story, but somehow a fox ended up in Mom's freezer. She decided to get it "stuffed." She sent me a photo of it along with the cougar photo.
OK, is it just me or does there seem to be something wrong with this picture? Take a closer look. No, I'm right...IT'S MISSING A LEG! A LEG!! OK, pray tell, why did the taxidermist preserve it like this?? With a stub hanging down!! Why not laying down with its stub hidden? I'm sure a professional taxidermist could have thought of some other position than standing with a stub sticking out like that! OH MY GOD!
Stub! Mom!! Hello!