Pete's News


Howdy folks! This here's ol' Pete and Rosebud comin' at you again!

How's everthing goin' in your neck of the woods? Ain't much goin' on up here. My mule Rosebud ain't been sleepin' too good here lately. I seen her out in the barnyard the other night, standin' there starin' out over the garden fence. She has a hard time sleepin' when the moon's shinin'.

The play of the shadows from the moonlight might have something to do with her restlessness. It shines through the bare tree branches and she gets caught up watching the patterns on the ground. She finds herself trying to fit them into familiar objects. Sometimes she can, but mostly they don't look like anything. Maybe something broken, like someone had lifted the garden surface a few inches and dropped it back down in place causing it to buckle and break into pieces. She couldn't exactly see the broken pieces in the moonlight but she knew they were there. They came up to where she stood by the fence. Yes, they were there. She could feel their sharp edges underfoot.

Giving up on sleep entirely, she walked slowly along the fence, peering out across the garden. There is something cold about moonlight, she thought. Even in summer it looks cold. Now, with the sun steadily inching southward, leaving the earth cold and barren, it made her shiver. She was glad she had brought the blanket from the barn. There was nothing in the garden now, of course. Everything was gone. The frost had come a little late this year, but it had come nonetheless and had killed the last few stragglers. She and Pete had long ago harvested everything. "Waste not, want not," Pete would mutter. She smiled, remembering. Still, there were always a few things missed. No matter. The small animals would harvest whatever was left. The mice maybe.

She decided she liked the idea that it would be the mice. She could almost see tiny mice-farmers emerging from their snug homes and scurrying about in the moonlight. There was a mouse family—a daddy-mouse, a mama-mouse and their two mouse-children. Or was it mice-children? She could not decide. There might not even be any children. It could be a farmer-mouse with his mouse-mule like her own family. No, she wanted it to be the family with the daddy and mama and two little ones. She decided that was it.

She could see them in her mind's eye, searching among the stubble in the moonlight, looking for the seeds they would need for the long winter ahead. She could see them placing the seeds in tiny baskets, piling them high on wheelbarrows and rolling them into their mouse-barn for storage. If she held her breath and listened closely, she could hear them calling to each other as they worked. There. That was one just then, wasn't it? Sure. It was mama-mouse telling them she had made sandwiches for lunch. Yes, tomato seed sandwiches.

She wondered what a tomato seed sandwich would taste like. She tried to imagine but couldn't. You would have to be tiny like a mouse to eat a tomato seed sandwich she decided. She wondered if mama-mouse cooked the tomato seeds before making the sandwiches. Probably not, she thought.

She wondered if mice could see in the dark? Did they come out to work when there was no moon? Probably, she decided. Cats can see in the dark and they hunt mice so the mice have to be able to keep a lookout when they are working in their mouse-gardens. She hoped there was no cat in the garden tonight. She looked but couldn't tell. It was too dark. The shadows were too deep. She had no cat. She used to have one, but he was too lazy to chase mice.

Did mice have pets? If they did, what kind of pet would it be? A bug? A ladybug? Would a mouse family keep a ladybug for a pet? Would a ladybug rub against their little mouse-legs and purr? Or would their bug pets be more like dogs? Did her mouse-family—she had come to think of them as her family—have a watch-bug perched on a tall weed stalk nearby? Was it keeping an eye out for cats? Bugs should be good at that. They have lots of eyes. She hoped her mouse family did have a watch-bug. Just in case.

Rosebud was getting sleepy. The moon was sinking. The mouse family was winding up their night's work, gathering their baskets and wheelbarrows and putting them away. Mama mouse was already at home making dinner. After dinner the mice-children would play a game—checkers, she imagined—and then they would go to bed and sleep through the day. She might sleep all day herself, she thought. She turned and walked slowly back to the barn. Once inside she eased down on the hay pile and pulled the blanket over her shoulders.

Rosebud snores when she sleeps. You can always tell when she's asleep from the noise. I don't notice it so much at night, I guess 'cause I'm asleep myself, but you can't hear yourself think when she's snoozin' in the daytime.

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