A while back, my friend John and I devised a new concept in politically correct hunting lodges. Catch and release deer hunting. The whole premise wound around the idea of paintball guns and pesky deer. You can imagine, I'm sure, the rest.

Two nights ago, our back screen door into the big common room the kids fondly call the "playroom" was open and the raccoons slipped in unnoticed and made a very noticeable mess out of the cat food bag.  (we hardly use the cat food since our OUTDOOR cat became fond of the neighbors who now let the thing in the house when it's raining and pamper it with canned tuna. When they go on vacation they always come over to remind us about the cat saying, "could you remember to feed Rama?" Pffft. The mouse population is sure to rise.)

Well last night as Melinda was designing some banners for Blaise and Lindsey's wedding reception, I heard a scratch at the front door. I thought it was our prodigal cat. So I went to look. The stinking raccoons were tired of waiting to be fed, and, "heck" they figured, "last time one of those big flat things was there we just pushed and there was a bag of cat food."

So I got Dusty's paintball gun and, in my shorts, sprinkled cat food on the driveway, and hid out. I also changed my status on Facebook to read, "Lou is hunting raccoons with a paintball gun".

Brenda who, with Jeff went to get Chaney in Italy, uses Facebook to brag about all the great food and historical stuff their seeing, read my post and couldn't help but post there. It went likd this:

Hunting raccoons, with a paintball gun nonetheless....now that's fun! Any luck?"

To which I responded: 

"The damn things have thrashed the catfood, the garbage and last night they were scratching at my front door, like the cat does. I go out there to see what it is... a raccoon!. So. I got Dusty's paintball gun and sat in the shadows on the deck with a spread of catfood on the driveway... nothing, until this morning when I found the catfood gone and a note asking for fish. It was taped to a poloroid of me hunched behind the barbecue.

I need to be more proactive I think. The door scared them away."

And Brenda again:

"Florence is great! ...  Chaney got all teary when she saw the Pieta by Mike. She had been studying this piece and school and was thoroughly flabbergasted seeing it up close and personnel."

Just goes to show you that as cool as catch and release raccoon hunting might be, there's always some friend in Europe with a better story. It seems a long ways away, the romance of hand carved marble and frescos, not to mention outdoor cafes and gelato. Soon enough though, my friend, with whom I sat for hours las fall waiting for a turkey to present himself as a fat target, will be home. He'll probably be carrying some extra weight from all the fresh pasta, which is a perfect alibi for hiding on the porch with glow in the dark spheres and CO2 tanks...