Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Lost Car Keys

After too many beers in the hot sun at Shafter's swimming hole,  my uncles and aunts, and various friends would gather up at my grandmother's house. Eventually someone needed to leave—perhaps they were planning to go back to the City, or head on down to Speck McAulliff's Lagunitas Lodge, to quaff a few, when they discovered they couldn't find the car keys. Anywhere. They looked under pillows, in the couch cracks. In the dirt driveway. Nada.

So they all hoofed it on down to Speck's. Had another beer or two. The lost car keys were a mystery. They never showed up next morning. But sometimes extra beer bottle caps did. Quarters went missing. They blamed each other. Then there was the matter of the cars sans keys to deal with, not to mention the hangover. Luckily there was always hot-wiring—something my uncles were very good at. And they were on their way.

All those lost car keys remained a mystery. Until my brother and I came along and kicked apart an abandoned woodrat nest in the upper garden by the old bottle dump. We found a time capsule of coins, church keys, and car keys galore. By that time those old cars were history, as were a couple of my uncles. Useless keys to another time. Nothing to unlock, except this fragment.

rev. 10/22/2015

Old Photo Found in the Woodrat Nest

About those car keys in the woodrats' nest—I can see the scenario now, ca. the 1950s, after many beers at Shafter's swimming hole, my uncles and aunts, and friends are up at the house. Someone needs to leave—perhaps they are planning to head on down to Speck McAulliff's, when they can't find the car keys. Anywhere. Untre pillows, in the couch crack. Nada. So they hoof it on down to Speck's. The lost car keys remain a mystery. There's always hot-wiring. My uncles are good at that. Until I came along and kicked apart the abandoned nest in the upper garden sometime during the late 50s, early 60s. By that time the car is history, as are a couple of my uncles. Useless keys to another time. Nothing to unlock, except this fragment.

I like wood rats, aka packrats, they're very quaaaazy kleptos, is that what you mean by tree rats? We don't have tree rats. Roof rats, yes.

A native Am species, the pack rat, aka woodrat, can be any of the species in the rodent genus Neotoma. (They're rodents but not rattus!). Pack rats build complex houses or middens that may preserve materials up to 50,000 years, Middens are considered reliable "time capsules" of natural life, millennia after they occurred.

The woodrat is opportunistic and will move into the attics and walls of houses. They are particularly fond of shiny objects. Look, SHINY! They're big on trading objects. Ours particularly liked coins, church keys and car keys... You can guess what havoc that created at parties...
Pack rat - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Neotoma albigulaNeotoma angustapalata †Neotoma anthonyiNeotoma bryanti †Neotoma bunkeriNeotoma...

Ann Erickson My sister who lives in Davis says they are different..

Maureen Hurley She must mean roof rat, or black rat. Rattus rattus is arboreal, 12-16 inches, pointed nose, nearly hairless ears, tail longer than body. Spend most of their lives 4 feet or more above ground. Nest in attics, crawl spaces, walls, ivy, palm trees, bougainvillea. Travel on power lines, fences and roofs.

Black rat (Rattus rattus),originally from Asia, occurring worldwide....

Maureen Hurley vs the common burrowing brown rat of many names (Rattus norvegicus), city, sewer, but it's not Norwegian! (both are native of Asia).


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