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Of Mice and Kids

Ed Houck, Jr.

It was back in the late 1930’s or early 1940’s that I was raising pigeons as a hobby in our back yard just off the square. I noticed that I was also raising a family of field mice with the extra feed that would fall on the ground. My dad told me to go get a trap to catch the mice and clean the pen. I went to Zeck’s store, which was at that time, between where Crouse’s is now and the VFW.

I purchased what was called a "Delusion Mouse Trap" for twenty five cents. It was built in a way that they would walk in to get to the bate and then when the door closed, they had only one way out and that was to go into a side compartment and again the trap door would spring shut and they were trapped. Great invention and no mice die.

That night I baited the trap and placed it on the floor of the pen. The next morning I checked the trap and it was filled. I then got a box from my dad’s store and placed the mice in the box. There were 19 mice and I was so excited at my success.

I went over and got my friend Paul Harner to come see what I had done. We talked and tried to figure what we would do with 19 mice. Paul’s dad had a building behind his house where they would keep chickens and prepare them for sale through his grocery store. To keep his operation free of mice he had a number of cats that would roam the area and do their job.

Paul and I decided that his cats would be just the right answer to our situation and so we carried the box of 19 mice over to Harner’s yard between the house and chicken building. We began calling the cats. Only two would answer our call but we thought that was enough. We had them facing directly at the box and then opened one end.

Much to our surprise, as the mice began to exit the box by two’s and three’s at a time, the cats thought they were in heaven at this display. Neither cat made a move. They just stood and stared at the opening like this was the best thing since sliced bread.

All 19 mice disappeared into the grass and headed for the chicken building. The cats, their eyes as big as ping-pong balls were still looking at the magic box. Then Paul and I both knew we had a problem and before we could run, Mrs. Harner came out of the house and read the riot act to us. We tried to explain but only made it worse. Paul was sent into the house and I was told to go home. The story soon reached my parents and I too was kept in the house for some time.

Time heals all wounds, and soon Paul and I were allowed to get together. We hope that the group of mice that Mr. Harner had for his operation did their job for we did not want to hear about mice again. We did learn to plan out our next operation so that we would not have to face our mad parents from both families.

Read other stories by Ed Houck

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