Friday, May 4, 2012

Uncle Smitty's Hamsters

Had a call from the WSO today. Seems that her mother's phone was busy. Kinda tells you where I fall in the hierarchy around here. Yup, I'm the back-up plan.

At any rate, the WSO went to get her hair done today and called to tell me about her hairdresser's rabbits. (Why she was calling to tell me about her hair appointment was absolutely beyond me. Perhaps because Momma was busy, and she wanted to tell this story to someone, anyone. And I am, after all, the back-up plan. Also, note that I said rabbits, plural, not rabbit, singular. Implying that the hairdresser has more than one rabbit. We all know, that if there are two rabbits, one of each sex, then there is no such thing as "two rabbits". At least not for long.)

Apparently the hairdresser wanted to know if the WSO would like a pet rabbit. As one of her rabbits was pregnant. My first reaction was, we're not rabbit people. People in our family have cats, they have dogs. They don't have pet rabbits.

Not that I have anything against rabbits. But it's not like I'm rabidly pro-rabbit either. They live in the woods, I live in a house. I believe in a firm separation between domicile and nature. I yield to them the woods (or fields or whatever venue rabbits choose to frequent). I feel a house is no fit place for a rabbit. Can they even be house trained? My knowledge of rabbitdom is obviously sadly deficient.

Right about now, you're probably wondering what all this rabbit talk has to do with the title of this post. Those who've been here before probably realize by now that I like to wander off topic at times, that I enjoy going off on tangents. That, eventually, I will, get to the point. So I guess now would be a good time to get back to the point.

The point is, the WSO's story of the hairdresser's rabbits reminded me of a family trip down to Fort Walton Beach, Florida. The Missus used to have a sister living there, her husband was, like me, a member of the Air Force. They were stationed at Hurlburt Field, we were stationed at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. The sister-in-law wanted us to come visit.

Now I don't know if you've ever been to Nebraska. Lots of corn, lots of cows. To be sure, the people who live there are some of the nicest folks on the planet. But still, lots of corn, lots of cows. So an opportunity to visit the sun-drenched beaches of Florida was not something I was willing to pass up.

So we loaded up the family automotive transport, (why say "car", when you can say "automotive transport"?), loaded the three kids into the back seat of said vehicular conveyance (again, sounds way cooler than "car") and headed south.

One thing we learned early on, was that travelling with young children, can be trying. Very trying. "Are we there yet?" "I'm hungry." "I have to go to the bathroom." These are all typical "conversations" we used to have on long journeys. And with family all over the country, we traveled. A lot. Air Force duties permitting. (I know, I know. Some of you USN, USA, USMC types are probably sniggering and saying, "What? The Air Force has duties?" Har-de-har-ha. Again, I point to the pressing need to watch over and defend my service's many golf courses. They are not going to defend themselves. By the way, do Marines snigger? Ever?)

Some 1,279 miles later. We arrived at Sister-in-Law #3's house. Now those of you with access to Google Maps may have already done some checking. It's only 1,109 miles from Bellevue, NE to Ft Walton Beach, FL. Did I mention that CINCHOUSE had another sister at the time living in Alexandria, Louisiana? Her husband was also in the Air Force, stationed at England AFB. So of course we had to stop by their place. It's not that far out of the way. Is it? No, dear, it's not. So that's how we get 1,279 miles, not 1,109.

So, where was I? Oh yes, we arrived at SIL#3's house. After a long and tiring journey across this great land of ours, the first day's activities would be to eat and then chill in front of the television. Preferably with a beverage which is carbonated and involves hops. That is precisely what we did.

Now SIL#3's husband's name is Smith. We have always called him "Smitty". Sometimes I almost forget what his first name actually is. But as we called him Smitty, our kids, naturally, referred to him as "Uncle Smitty". And still do. To this very day. So there we are, snug and comfy at Chez Smitty's, watching the tube and enjoying a refreshing beverage. Which is carbonated and involves hops. Did I mention that?

After a while I noticed that there was a small cage in Uncle Smitty's and SIL#3's living room. Not far from the TV. And there were rustling noises coming from the aforementioned cage. Looking closer, I noted that Smitty and SIL#3 had acquired a pair of hamsters. (At least they may have been hamsters. They could have been guinea pigs for all I can recall. And "hamster" is easier to type than "guinea pig". Call it "poetic license" if you will.)

Smitty explained to me that their two kids had wanted a pet. They felt that their place was a bit small to support a larger mammalian life form, so they settled on hamsters. Two, each.

As I enjoyed my beverage, the rustling from the "hamster paddock" continued. And seemed to be getting more, shall I say, frenetic.

"So Smitty. Are these two hamsters the same sex?"

"Uh yes, they are. Why?"

"Well, let's just say, that if they're the same sex, they seem to be doing something which could get them tossed out of the Air Force. If they were human." Back then this was true, now? Not so much. Another story for another time. But to quote Seinfeld, "Not that there's anything wrong with that."

So Uncle Smitty arises from his divan and examines the "hamster paddock". Sure enough, the hamsters were, shall we say, "gettin' jiggy wit it". Uncle Smitty, most perturbed, rattles the cage, and in his best Staff Sergeant voice, directs the hamsters to "knock it off!"

Which they did. For about one minute. Then, I guess the hamsters would say, "if this cage is a'rockin', don't come a'knockin'." And oh boy, it was a'rockin'.

Again, Uncle Smitty approached the cage and again, in no uncertain terms, ordered the hamsters to cease and desist all hamster reproductive activity. Forthwith!

I don't remember if the hamsters ever did cease and desist. At that point, tired and with no doubt too many carbonated beverages involving hops on board, and laughing so hard my sides ached. I went to bed. In order to get up the next day and visit the sun-drenched beaches of Florida.

I do believe I found out later that one of the hamsters was male, t'other was female. One went back to the pet store, to be replaced by another hamster. Hopefully of the same sex. A sad love story I guess. For the hamsters. For me, it will ever be, the story of "Uncle Smitty's Hamsters".

The End.


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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