R is for…

bugabooWhen I was around seven, my dad adopted a baby raccoon.

He and a neighbor had been hauling bales from a straw stack, and found a nest of little ones. It was the era of Rascal.

He brought one home.

I don’t remember whether my mother approved, but she had already bottle-fed three babies of her own, so she hunted up an eyedropper and went to work. My brother, aged four, named the new member of the family “Bugaboo.”

Bugaboo was truly a wonderful pet. She could open the screen door. This required climbing up the wrought iron railing, perching on top, and grabbing the lever-handle with both paws. Then she’d launch herself, hanging on until the handle turned and she could get a foot in the opening, slide down, and squeeze through the crack. The cats were goggle-eyed. They were never allowed in the house, and you could see them studying Bugaboo’s methodology.

She loved toast.

She loved her Gold-n-Soft margarine-tub water dish (pictured, I am on the left).

She loved to get into the bathtub while it was still damp, and drink from the drippy faucet.

And, when we were foolish enough to ask for turtles, and our parents were foolish enough to give in, we discovered she loved turtle. We heard a crash in the night, and found their enamel bowl and plastic palm tree on the floor and both little reptiles scrabbling across the linoleum. Fortunately, we arrived in time to prevent predation-induced trauma. Predation was all right on Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, but not in our dining room.

I was thinking about all this today at the studio, working on my “Teeny-Tiny R” painting, which just happens to feature a … you guessed it!

To all our furry friends, past and present (my black cat is having a bath, sitting on my lap as I type) Salut!