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All God’s Creatures

Those pesky raccoons were in my garden again! Were they always going to be a nuisance?

All God's Creatures
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

I was relaxing on a balmy Saturday morning when my wife, Joan, came inside from our backyard garden. “There’s another raccoon in the trap,” she said.  “What do you want to do?”

“Greedy critters,” I grumbled. Raccoons are our chief competitors when it comes to plucking ripe tomatoes from the vine. They’re so good at stealing the fruit before we can get to it that we finally resorted to using a live trap.

So much for relaxing. “I’ll load him in the van, and we can let him out at the wildlife preserve,” I said. I put him in the back, then threw in the long hook I’d made out of an old metal coat hanger. It was perfect for keeping my hands safe from raccoon jaws when opening the trap door.

Joan climbed into the passenger seat. On our way to the preserve, she said, “Let’s stop at the grocery store first. We need bread and milk.”

“We could get it on the way home,” I said. It didn’t make any sense to stop now with an irritated raccoon caged in back.

“No,” Joan insisted. “I can’t explain it. But I just got this feeling we need to stop on the way.”

“Okay, honey,” I said.

I parked at the store and we went inside. When we came out with our groceries, there was a woman standing with a full cart by the car next to us, looking agitated.

“Could you help me?” she asked. “I locked my keys in my car. All my groceries are going to melt or spoil in this heat.” She was at her wit’s end. But what could I do? I’m no locksmith or mechanic.

“I’m sorry,” I said. I was about to walk away when a sudden thought stopped me. Greedy critters. I smiled. “Ma’am, I think I have just the thing

I got the long hook out from the back of the van, threaded it between the woman’s car window and the rubber molding, and with a little tug her lock popped right up.

At the nature preserve, Joan and I released our furry felon into the woods. Awed at the way a nuisance became something good, with a tiny nudge from the One who watches over all creatures, great and small.

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