Kickass and to kill a muskrat

Kickass, the doorstop dog, humors the keeper in these back-to-school days by listening yet one more time to his—the keeper’s account of saving his younger sister Norma from an attacking muskrat on the route home from the country school, which WAS a mile and a half of hilly graveled roadway west of the home farm with the hills very steep in both directions.

The incident is particularly noteworthy this year as the keeper’s clan includes two brother-sister duos among the back-to-school great grandchildren.  The keeper reminds the “older” brothers–Cole and TJ, to protect their little sisters from whatever threat arises, be it a marauding lion, a hungry dragon, or an unfortunate muskrat that was simply crossing the road from one side of Peterson’s swamp to the other at an inopportune time.

Using rocks and a stick, the keeper, in his knight-in-shining-armor mode, ordered Norma to stand safely behind him as he dispatched the innocent rodent in a display of imagined threats and misguided heroics .

From his current vantage point of many decades later, the keeper wonders if he did not miss the boat by failing to use the incident in choosing a title for his one and only novel:  Instead of “Margaret’s War” which is set when there were thousands of German POWs in the US at the end of WW II, perhaps a better title might have been, “To Kill A Muskrat?”  The keeper says such a title has a ring to it, and his novel even includes a lawyer as a main character, albeit one with outrageous opinions and a drinking problem.  (

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