Papa Raccoon ambled along the side of the house and headed toward the gate to the back garden. He lowered his head to slip under the gate, as he had done so many times before, and ran smack dab into a rock.
He fell backwards and lay stunned in the grass. Rubbing his head as he got up, he looked around to see what he had run into.
“Where did that rock come from?” Papa Raccoon asked Mama Raccoon who was following behind him with their gaze of kits.
“Where did what come from?” replied Mama Raccoon.
“That rock!” said Papa Raccoon as he rubbed his head.
“Oh dear,” said Mama Raccoon, “I think she put it there!” She hugged their kits close as she looked at the rock and Papa.
“The gardener, Carol. I don’t think she likes us being here.”
“I think you are right, Mama. Have you noticed she hasn’t put out any suet cakes where we can get to them for at least a week.”
“I told you not to knock down that suet feeder. She’s smart enough to know a bird couldn’t do that.”
“Well, how else are we supposed to get to the suet, Mama? I can’t hang on to that pole forever, even with my thumbs.”
“And you lost one of the feeders, Papa. I don’t think she’s found it yet. Where did you drag it off to? Oh dear whatever are we going to do, how are we going to eat? Should we leave? I feel so unwelcome.”
“There, there, Mama. Try not to worry the kits.”
Just then the kits looked at their mama and their papa and started to cry.
“Hush, kits. Your papa will come up with a plan. Papa, maybe we should move?”
“Move? This place has been so wonderful for us. Remember all the fresh sweet corn we ate last summer? And how many suet cakes did we eat before she caught on to us?”
“Well, Papa, this has been a good place, but I think those days are over. Have you noticed there’s a suet cake hanging where we can’t get to it, even with our thumbs.”
“I have indeed noticed, Mama. And it miffs me to no end when I count all those blasted bird feeders. Why does she feed the birds and not us, for crying out loud?”
“I know, Papa. And look how cute our kits are, they are cuter than any ol’ birds.”
Just then, Mama Raccoon grabbed one of the kits and squeezed its face between her paws.
“Mama and Papa love you, my little kits. Don’t worry. We are moving. Papa scouted a woods not far from here, with a creek and trees and well, we’ll figure out the food. Carol doesn’t want us here so she doesn’t deserve for us to be here. We are leaving. Papa, stop rubbing your head and lead us to the forest!”
At Mama’s command, Papa got off, dusted himself off and announced, “Follow me, family, to our new life in the big woods.”
Just then Carol, the gardener, woke up from a sound sleep. She rubbed her head and remembered her dream, about how the raccoons that had been bothering her for months finally got fed up with her attempts to keep them from eating the sweet corn and the suet cakes and fled off to the woods across the street.