Kirk was at an event with friends from church the other night, and Elizabeth and I decided to walk down the high street to the Italian restaurant. After a wonderful meal and a bottle of vino, we hurried back home, thinking we’d probably need to pickup Kirk. A couple hundred yards from the restaurant, Elizabeth says “Jay, LOOK, There’s a RAT!” Sure enough, some grey little animal was running down the gutter ahead of us. I said “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it!” and gallantly ran ahead to do battle with the vermin.
I was totally shocked; gobsmacked, I should say. Instead of running away from me, the little bugger just hunkered down at the side of the road, apparently hoping I’d continue on past. As soon as I came up level with him, it was obvious that this was no ordinary rat, this was Sonic. The Hedgehog. Finally, after years of hoping beyond hope that we’d have an encounter with one of these much beloved little garden critters (at least one that was thicker than a pancake), the big moment had finally arrived.
He just stood there, all pitiful, quivering like he was going to expire at any second–terminally cute, with a pointed little button nose, tiny little ears, little whiskers, and cute little spines.
Given our history with hedgehogs, we weren’t sure that he wasn’t suicidal, just waiting for a passing Range Rover so he could terminate his fearful and fragile existence. We decided to intervene.
Elizabeth figured that once she touched him, he’d fold up into a ball, and we could just roll him off the street. Sure enough, one tip of the Texas boot and he turned into a spindly little ball of fat. The weird thing is, once he’d gone into protection mode, there was no telling even which way was up.
ALL the bits came inside (she?). It was practically seamless. Elizabeth’s boot toe rolled the featureless little sucker up to safety -over and over again, without any evidence of ears, legs, nose, tail……….or bits.
With a little imagination, I’m sure that you can picture two well-fed Americans, standing out in the dark on Sunningdale High Street, getting the giggles over this little palm-sized bundle of spine.