I think I may have mentioned before that I am a bit of a night owl. At 2.30 a.m. I heard one heck of a racket outside. I was watching a scary movie and my imagination took over - yes I am smiling here. Gregg had long gone to bed. My first thought was that someone was trying to break into the house. I got up with a start and ran to turn the lights on. I couldn't see anything as I peered into the darkness hiding behind the inside wall, and then I saw one of the bird feeders jerking furiously. On top of the bird feeder was a shape I could not make out. I watched as the shape moved at the sudden light but instead of scaring it off, this darling little creature climbed down and squeezed through the rail, gave me a bit of a look, realized I was no danger I suppose and started eating the bird feed on the deck.
It was a racoon! This is only the third time I have seen one in all the years I have lived in the States. The first time was when Gregg was stationed at the Navy Post-Graduate School in Monterey, California. We lived in navy housing and it wasn't long before we realized that we had a family of racoons visiting at night. There was a wood at the back of the house and apparently it was common to feed our racoon family who would climb down the tree right next to our deck. Our neighbor told us to roll raw eggs out, and not knowing all the cons of feeding racoons at the time, this is what we did the whole time we lived in Monterey. We went through a lot of eggs but it was cheap entertainment as there were a lot of kids in the neighborhood who used to end up in our house in the evening and watch the racoons feeding. We had a big old glass sliding door and were all safely tucked behind it. My memories are seeing all these three year olds, including our son, lined up by the door, lying on their tummies with their chins cupped in their hands, silently watching in awe as these wonderful animals delicately bit off the top of the eggs and licked out the contents, often using their paws to scoop out the insides.
The second time I saw a racoon was about eight years ago when visiting friends in Whidbey Island, Washington. Gregg and I were on a road trip from Seattle to British Columbia. A family of racoons ran across their back lawn but were so fast they were out of sight in moments. Our friends bought land overlooking the Puget Sound years and years ago. When they retired from the Navy they built a house on the land and they had the most incredible view. So there was this family of racoons running helter-skelter with that view in the background and with Bald Eagles flying overhead. It is one of the many favorite memories of that trip. Absolutely fantastic!
So here I am with my third contact. I didn't get but a couple of photos that first time and none the second. I have one or two of the kids in front of the back door in Monterey, but I was more interested in getting those cute pictures of the kids rather than the animals themselves. The ones in Whidbey were far too fast, and truth be told the photo 'bug' hadn't gotten a hold of me until we were able to buy a better camera. More than that even, our son had grown up and was moreorless out of the house all the time, and there was more time and thought for taking photos of other things besides our darling son and his friends. These photos are blurry, blurry, blurry but hey, I am thrilled I had this visit with my little friend here, and I was able to capture the moment.....
and when I finally went upstairs and told Gregg we had a visit from a racoon and he rather sleepily said, "That's great hun" and "I don't think that's a good idea" when I also told him I had rolled a couple of raw eggs out. Probably not but I couldn't help myself for an old memory's sake of a very special time. To top the whole experience off, after he had finished eating his egg, he came over to the window where I was lying flat on my tummy with my chin cupped in my hands and we were actually nose to nose. As he pressed his nose and tiny paws to the glass, he looked at me and said "Thank you so very much for giving me those two eggs. They were very tasty. I'll be back." Yes I have a great imagination, but in my world that's what he actually said. He ambled down the steps with the same kind of smile on his face that I had on mine, and was gone into the night.