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August 18th, 2009

With a title like that, some of you are thinking “What, prey tell?”

People who actually know me are thinking, “Probably not.”

But it was pretty weird.

Do to constrained finances, we are vacationless this year. And with #1 son going off to college, I am flashing back to the budget vacations of my childhood with were mostly close to home. The 50’s might have been the high point, but the 60’s were still pretty good for oddball roadside attractions. I suspect I saw every alligator farm, grape soda drinking bear, and mystery spot in the state, at one time or other.

Also quite a few fiber glass animals, the world’s largest cheese, and the inside of any bar that had a taxidermy display. In my family, dead animals in the presence of alcohol is a perfectly acceptable way to entertain children.

My children have missed out. Possibly their parents aren’t willing to drink and drive.

And when I suggested, on a recent trip to my hometown zoo, that the kids go see if the bears still sat up to catch marshmallows, #1 son informed me that all the bears of my childhood had probably died of diabetes.

But I have been lurking at http://www.roadsideamerica.com
and dreaming of the day, while the sands of time slip down the glass.

#1 son leaves for college next week.
Something must be done to commemorate this.

So today, I called a funeral home in Madison Wisconsin, and asked,
“Is this the place with the squirrel dioramas in the basement?”

You don’t have to go to a bar to see a dead squirrel anymore. You can go to a mortuary. Who knew?

And these are not just any dead squirrels. They play basketball and ride motorcycles. And they are all albino. And they died of natural causes. Of course, being hit by a car is, for a squirrel, a natural cause.

The man on the other end of the phone laughed. “You ask that so gently.”

I told him I didn’t want to interrupt anyone’s visitation with my interest in novelty taxidermy.

He agreed that this would be a bad idea. No viewings are scheduled for tomorrow. But business is “unpredictable” and I should call again before I arrive.

So, barring sudden deaths in Madison, I will be dragging #1 son to a display of dead white squirrels tomorrow, after he goes to a job interview.

Shhh. Don’t tell him. It’s a surprise.

And he might try to escape. #2 son, when offered this golden opportunity, gave one of those long pauses that said he was trying to let old mom down easy, and then declined.

But if I drive #1 to his appointment, and I keep the car keys, he’s kind of trapped, isn’t he?

And yes, if it is allowed, there will be pictures.