Snert! said the visitor

By Mary K. Hamner
Journal Correspondent

The old woman’s heart rate picked up a pace when she saw a masked face looking at her from behind a tree. She was startled for only a moment at this unexpected happening and soon became captivated by the small creature wearing the mask. He wasn’t very friendly and he went from tree to tree watching the old woman as she walked by.
RK was on the job and had the baby raccoon scoped out from a distance. It was a matter of conjecture as to what the cat’s role was in this whole thing. Was he trying to figure out if the small animal was an oversized rat or, had he hired on for a day job as a baby ‘coon sitter.

None the less, the masked bandit and the cat stayed in the same area all day. The old woman kept hoping that the parent would show some responsibility and pick the kid up. She definitely did not want to get involved. She questioned the Mother’s parenting skills, thinking “In the first place, RK regularly eats rats almost as big as the baby raccoon- and- there is no water in sight, not even a mud hole, and it is a very hot day.”

As the day moved on toward evening, the woman thought, “Surely the baby is gone by now,” but RK had not come home to be fed. “How do I get involved in these things,” she thought to herself as she went along to check on the cat and the raccoon.

The small creature was wandering up and down obviously in distress and making a crying sound. Sneertt, sneertt, sneert, sneerttttt!!! You would cry too if your Mama had left you without water or food all day and nothing but a rat eating cat for a sitter.

“ Come on Snert,” the old woman said as she caught him around the neck and took him home. He was a ferocious little coon and had a wicked mouth and she was glad that RK’s cat carrier was handy. “Water is basic but just what do you give a baby raccoon to eat,” the old woman wondered. Cat food and a banana was all she could think of so she put that in the carrier along with some water.

A quick call to the old woman’s animal-loving neighbor to see if she wanted a baby raccoon brought this response, “Are you crazy!” However the neighbor couldn’t resist a trip down to see “the prize.” And even though it was hands off for her, she gave the old woman some good advice. “Tonight,” she said, “after you put RK up for the night, take the baby raccoon back out where you found him and leave the door of the cage open.”

Green flies had swarmed the cat carrier and the old woman just knew Snert was a goner as she took him

back out near where she found him. Snert had bathed in the water but the food offering was untouched and he slunk back inside when the cage door was opened.

Next day, the flies were gone, the banana was gone, and the cat food was gone, and Snert? The old woman never saw him again and imagined Snert’s Mama saying this to him when she found him. “Where on earth have you been? I told you to keep up and not wander off.” Or maybe she said, “You just can’t get dependable baby raccoon sitters these days!”