It’s funny to me to think how long-forgotten memories slog out from my mind like a Creature from the Black Lagoon, emerging from murky waters. Today, a conversation-the retelling of a surprised teacher who screamed long and loud when an equally surprised mouse discovered he unintentionally had wandered out of the protection of cover into a big, scary classroom- became a key, unlocking a sequestered, cobwebby memory. A memory of a vacuum, a mouse, and a boy…
Bong. Bong. Bong. “Seven o’clock already,” I thought as I rinsed the suds from the boy sitting in three inches of water in the “duck bathroom” tub. “There’s still so much to do.”
“Time to get out,” I said cheerily to Johnny.
“Mommy, I want to play boats,” came the reply. “Vrmmm,” a plastic motor boat swished through the bubbles.
“O.K. Just a couple more minutes.”
Knowing I had to run the vacuum in the hall outside the bathroom door, I turned and tripped quickly down the stairs to get it. Opening the door that led into the garage, my hands grabbed the handle of the old “hundred pound” Kirby and pulled it upward. Klunk! It landed on the 80s-style gold and brown linoleum in the foyer. “Darn,” I said to myself, “I forgot to change the bag.” Bending down, my fingers grabbed the zipper. Zip! My fingers reached down to pull out the inner vacuum bag. Suddenly, a startled, small gray mouse flopped ungracefully on the floor.
“AAAHH!” I screamed, jumping back.
The tiny creature frantically looked around and, lickety-split, tiny mouse feet raced toward the open door. Out he scurried, into the blackened garage.
Bang! I slammed the door shut.
Pitter-patter. I turned toward the sound. Down the steps hurried my butt-naked, dripping-wet son. “What the matter?”
“A mouse! A mouse jumped out of the vacuum cleaner.”
Running toward me, eyes wide, he jumped up into my arms. I could feel his heart pounding a million times per second. “I protect you, Mommy!” he promised.