We bought the little yellow house 1/2 mile up the road the year after Katrina so that we wouldn't have to drive all the way to Vancleave to a.) feed Alex or b.) cut grass. No one lived in it-I think it was a post storm purchase/flip deal, because I do remember that right after the storm, it was all wood and when we bought it it had recently been covered in cute yellow siding with green trim. When we first bought it we noticed there was a big gray longhaired cat that hung around. Our neighbor Alan also had a small calico cat named Mill (after the Shingle Mill, of course). Alan would go out of town on jobs, and me being the worry wart that I am, I started leaving food out to make sure they were both fed. A couple months later we noticed Scabby. Scabby is pitiful. He is a little black cat that looks like someone tried to skin him alive. He has severe wounds that run up both legs, down his chest and up his neck to his face. They have opened up and healed so many times that they have shrunk up and now affect his gait, and evidently they have blinded him in one eye and he may be deaf in the ear on that side. He looks like there is no way he could be alive, but he shows up every day at feeding time. Bob showed up around the same time as Scabby-she's a little bobtailed grey cat who also drug along her two kittens, one a tiger striped calico (Alex calls Tigger) and Bob Junior, another little bobtailed calico. Every once in a while, the papas apparent of Tigger and Bob Jr., an orange cat and another calico with a bobtail show up.
I took Alex dinner one day a few weeks ago and he calmly informed me we had an aardvark living under the house that was coming out at night eating the catfood. I said (trying not to snort in his face) "Describe this aardvark, please?" He said it was gray with a white head and a pointy snout. I pulled up a possum on Google and showed it to him and asked if that was what he saw and he said yes. I got some mothballs and we threw them around under the house figuring that would drive anything out from under there, cats included.
I continue to buy 20 lbs. of catfood for the cats and 22 lbs. of dogfood for the ducks and geese. The cats continue to come. The aardvark leaves.
A week later, the phone rings and it's Alex. "Mom, we have a hedgehog now" he said. Again, I asked him to describe this hedgehog. This one he describes as a really big squirrel with stripes on its face. I told him to look up raccoons on the internet and see if that is what he saw. Yep. I went over to the house today to feed the cats (he is staying over at Mom's in Gulfport for school during the week now to go to JD) and went back in to go through the mail before I came back here. When I went to leave, there on the front porch was the hedgehog/raccoon-with a baby! They didn't even bother to stop eating to look up at me-they just stayed there like two more cats, munching down on Special Kitty. When does it stop?