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    Monday, January 23, 2006


    I met my first raccoon here last night, or more specifically this morning. I was out on the screened-in porch enjoying a smoke at 2:00 AM. I only had the porch light on. I heard a thump just beyond the screen door, so I reached back in and turned on the back deck lights. There, peering just around the corner, with his paws firmly on the first step, was the little bandit. He looked at me, and I looked at him. I then realized he had probably been attracted by my fish rag, which I let dry over a chair on the porch. I use it to help hold the fish while I remove the hook. We stood this way for a moment more and he took one furtive step toward me. I flicked my right wrist twice in his direction as a sort of Shoo maneuver and said, “You really should be on your way, there is nothing here for you.” He looked at me a moment more, then slightly beyond me with longing and turned back and ambled off. I really wished he wasn’t wild. I would have enjoyed a bit of company. I also had an almost uncontrollable desire to scratch him behind the ears like a cat, but I do like my fingers and had no desire to have him scamper off with one of them before washing it in the pond and having a nosh. I shall call him Tonto.

    [Editor's note: Here is Tonto upon his return visit. Evidently bird feeders aren't just for birds anymore. Little does he know it, but he is now a superstar, and this paparazzi for one is going to blind him with my flash every chance I get. Although I don't think I'll open the screen door. You never know, he could have the Russell Crowe reaction to my attention.]

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