Friday, January 11, 2019

Squeaky's Big Send-Off


Are You Trapped in the Real Estate Hamster Wheel?
Oh, well.

Squeaky died sometime in the night.  Scotty said that he noticed when the hamster wheel suddenly went silent.  Oh, well.  It was his time.

Scotty had always been pragmatic about things in his life.  Lose a favorite Wheel Box car?  Oh, well. It'll turn up somewhere.  Dropping a slice of pizza?  Oh, well. Just brush it off.  So when Squeaky's little ancient hamster heart stopped beating, Scotty and I (as the paternal unit) both thought about how to give him a suitable burial.

Scotty had been into Vikings after watching "How to train your Dragon" for the twentieth time.  "Let's throw a Viking funeral!" Alright, we can do that, no problem. But I didn't know what I was saying.

Scotty retrieved a canoe/barge made of popsicle sticks at church camp last summer. We put Squeaky on a pile of twigs layered on the water craft.  After pushing the funeral barge out in the swimming pool, Scotty used the "Hunger Games" bow with a burning marshmallow at the point of the arrow aimed at the barge.  

Again and again.  

When the canoe finally caught fire, it initially went up in flames and the thing burned before hisssssing out and sinking, leaving a singed marshmallow sticky Squeaky floating on the top of the water.

Oh, well.  

I managed to scoop Squeaky from the failed Viking send-off with the pool skimmer.  What now?

Scotty had watched some warrior movie where the slaughtered hero was placed on a funeral pyre.  "Let's do that, Dad!"  So we did.

We lay out some sticks criss-crossed to form a good solid structure on the patio, and carefully placed Squeaky on it. Scotty used the Kingsford wand lighter to get a good burn going on the bottom layer.  But, with us being novices at funeral pyres, the whole thing collapsed, leaving Squeaky lying on the concrete surrounded by embers.

Oh, well.  

I didn't know how we were going to give Squeaky a big send off.  But, Scotty, being the boy scout he is, had an idea which made me wince and cringe.  It made sense, but man....really?

I pulled out the old rusty Coleman barbecue and built a pyramid of Kingsford guaranteed-to-light charcoal briquettes.  Scotty placed Squeaky on the center above the coals, using my brand new set of BBQ tool set.  Then he performed the Kingsford lighter ritual and got the coals going.

At first, it seemed that Squeaky was finally heading to his fiery hamster Valhalla.  But Noooo.

Squeaky had some sparks here and there, but clearly the charcoal was not ready.  It developed a nice white ash like briquettes do.  But that was it. Instead, the odor of grilled Squeaky told us the truth.

Oh, well.  

By this time, Scotty had had enough.  "Let's just bury it."  He retrieved a shovel from the garden.

"Dad?"

Oh now, what will he ask? A pine box?  What do I say? Odin, please help us. Thankfully, Scott dropped the dead hamster into the dirt and covered it up.

"Dad?  Can we go to Lucille's BBQ?  Mom has a coupon for free appetizers."  He wiped a charcoal streaked hand across his nose.  "I'm kinda in the the mood for ribs, aren't you?" 

  
My daughter Mary's hamster Max died on the first day of middle school. Mary wept, indicating that she should stay at home for a day of mourning. Didn't happen. In a rare moment of kindness, my son John placed Max in a shoe box and buried it in the backyard with all the other deceased pets. Mary did go to school, but has insisted over the decades that she never recovered from the loss. At 32 yrs, she still mourns the loss.

I wrote this in 2014 and exhumed it. I felt it needed a more elaborate resurrection. It was fun to write. 

Well, then indeed.



How (Not) To Have a Viking Funeral
A good Viking funeral



58 comments:

  1. My friend Ann and her husband rescue dogs. A couple have been wolf dogs, at which her husband has become the local expert Why is rural WI addicted to these things. Anyway, they were quite attached to the first one who died (of old age), and Ann suggested a Viking burial. They had a farm, and an old sofa for the trash, so what could be better. Ann said it resembled the Viking ship above, and many farmers around turned out to inspect the source of the blaze.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Alas poor Squeaky, we hardly knew ye.

    Hilarious story! Loved it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, then. This was the most fun I had back then to write. Need to do that again.

      Delete
  3. Well then indeed. Pragmatics lead a pretty good life on the whole.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Being a pragmatist would simplify one's life.

      Delete
  4. I just wonder what the neighbors thought.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe that the neighbors would know that Scotty thought outside the box.

      Delete
  5. I imagine they don't live long. But he will live forever with Odin and Thor in the halls of Asgard.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He will walk up the rainbow bridge without his rolling ball.

      Delete
  6. ...I like how Scotty thinks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If he were a true person, he would be awesome to teach.

      Delete
  7. Heeheehee! That's a wonderful story, all we ever did was bury the dead pets in the back yard.

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a story! I enjoyed it. The only unique burial I remember was when I insisted on using one of mama's quart canning jars filled with water to bury my gold fish, at 5years of age. Mama agreed.
    Thanks for the story time
    Sherry & jack

    ReplyDelete
  9. That's a good one. It did make me (guiltily) want some barbecue, though.

    My husband built many a funeral pyre for his deceased chickens. Not because he was attached to them, but because it was the only way to keep the dogs from digging up the chicken graves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wise man. Dad had to collect piglets that didn't survive and pile them up to be burnt. Wild dogs and coyotes would have been drawn to the livestock.

      Delete
  10. I'm sad the Viking funeral didn't work. What a great way to go. i loved How To Train Your Dragon :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe Scotty felt he was doing Squeaky an honor.

      Delete
  11. It seems amazing to me that it has been 9 years now since I gave up the cycle of burying and buying the next Dwarf hamster. They were great fun, and most of them had truly wonderful little personalities. But I knew I was at a point that I wouldn't be able to give them the time they deserved. Each one had a real name and a nickname they went by... each one got an addiction that they never shoulda had. One liked Pepsi... another chocolate chips... most had a special spot in the sleave of a sweatshirt. I miss those days. Maybe when Scrappy passes, I might forgo a third round of dog trauma and try again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why not! Hamsters have a short lifespan, true. But the fun we can enjoy their time with us.

      Delete
  12. Pardon me for finding humor in the ceremony following Squeaky's demise. Scotty certainly tried to give Squeaky a hero's send-off.

    ReplyDelete
  13. The treatment of animals defines us!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I think that a whole lot of my emotions all came to the surface, but humour probably trumped the rest. Pets can teach us a good deal about ourselves sometimes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We took care of our daughter's dog Lucy yesterday. She is a big dog, strong. But she is so lovable.

      Delete
  15. lol up there with Odin now one way or another. Pets sure stick with us no matter what type they are.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very true. I remember our dogs on the farm. We even had a pig who couldn't be out in the field. We called him "Nothin" because my brother said he "wasn't worth nothin' "

      Delete
  16. My condolences. Any animal has a value on this earth. I cried every time one of my dogs died especially my special dog, Bruno. I cried for a long time. So once again, my condolence.

    Cruisin Paul

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fortunately, Squeaky was in my mind only.

      Max was adorable. I loved the way he rolled around the house in his ball.

      Delete
  17. Think he has pragmatist nailed. It should carry him well in the future. The viking funeral was a great idea--too bad it fizzled.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If only it had succeeded! But, then, my writing would have had to figure out what next.

      Delete
  18. RIP Squeaky. Me? I'm just like Mary.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I told Mary (now 38) about this post and her Max, and she pshhhawed my story. Apparently her mourning is over.

      Delete
  19. Susan:
    (gonna try this comment again on Google - Bing doesn't like me...lol)

    ---While I DO admire the VIKING FUNERAL gig (and have seen it depicted on film numerous times), we have our own "backyard-graveyard )or Pet Cemetery, if you prefer...sorry Mr. King).
    Anything smaller than a cat gets a burial and marker.
    ---When it came time to say goodbye to our female and male (former) cats (17 and 20 yrs respectively), the vet cremated them and thier ashes were spread over the corresponding year flower beds down in Ossian (a pet memorial garden).
    And yes, I STILL miss them all, as would any pet lover (with a St. Francis complex).

    Very good post and touching comments.
    (R.I.P Squeaky.)

    Be well out there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Our cat Scuba was 14 when he died. Vet cremated him, and my son had a nice $$ wood box for the ashes. He was precious for us all.

      We won't have another pet (lot allergies with our gr-kids), but we enjoy others.

      Our fictional Squeaky was well loved, I am sure.

      Delete
  20. Roast Squeaky...goes well with red wine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Scotty didn't think of that, and I am sure the paternal unit was glad.

      Delete
  21. The marshmallow idea was cool. The ribs...well, ick, haha. I might've never wanted ribs again! ;) It was def. worth resurrecting. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Writing something 5 years ago, then resurrecting it, and tweaking it, well then, that was fun.

      Delete
  22. I laughed until tears were coming down my face! You are SUCH good parents. But I could never look at the BBQ again without seeing Squeaky's remnants. Or the pool, for that matter! This is one of those stories that belongs on the Moth Radio Hour.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy to hear you loved this! My fictional Squeaky shared so much of himself with Scotty.

      Moth Radio Hour?

      Delete
  23. Nice story, it had me laughing. RIP Squeaky, it was nice reading about you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Squeaky has blessed many people with the failed Viking burials.

      Delete
  24. Replies
    1. Our Max and his counterpart Squeaky would have been fast friends.

      Delete
  25. Did I read that right, I can't believe you let him do that, talk about pandering. I'd have just buried the poor little thing in the first place and not subjected it to such indignity.
    We have had hampsters but they never seem to live long cute as they are

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, this is a fictional story, but boy, I would let Scotty do it. I taught gifted and talented students for years, and this would have been a hoot!

      Delete
  26. Loved this, Susan. Little boys love the drama of fire and smoke and grizzly stuff. Oh well.

    ReplyDelete
  27. We lived on the edge of the woods and our kids loved it. One time when I called them in for dinner, but Johnny didn't come in. Went to look for him, calling out. Heard his voice and looked up at the top of a 30 ft. tree. He has always been an explorer.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I'm not even sure what to say about this. I'm not sure I could have gone through all of that. I've had hamsters and mice as well as rays and we just buried all of them. I think if my daughter had asked for any of that it would have been a big no.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I personally would never have gone through such ceremony! But in a fictional story, Scotty and his parental unit could let it cut loose. I can see such a boy adventure! Have known some boys create such craziness!

      Delete
  29. RIP Squeaky …
    I enjoyed the read, thank you.

    All the best Jan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Though hit and miss, Squeaky was loved and given the best finally.

      Delete
  30. Hi Susan - great fun ... and am glad Squeaky got such a loving eccentric send off - we're made to adapt to life and make necessary adjustments ... having seen a Viking burial explained here on the lawns at an exhbition - I can relate - though they didn't set fire to it - pragmatic that they were: waste not want not ... fun story - cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete

Go ahead...it won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!