(*My son wanted a copy of this story for his CC presentation tomorrow, and it made me giggle to re-read it. Thought I would reprint it here since it first ran several years ago and some of you might need a laugh!*)
One morning, my kids were playing outdoors while I cleaned the kitchen. My youngest son, who was two at the time, came in and announced, "Mom, I put Rusty in the hole."
"Oh?" I asked, casually continuing to wipe a plate.
"Yeah, he’s in the hole."
"Okay," I said. I wasn’t really alarmed, because the kids played with the hamster all the time.
Soon the older boys came in, and Levi shared the news that he’d put Rusty in the hole. "What hole?" they asked him.
And then the trouble started.
"In the car," Levi said.
"THE CAR? Where in the car?"
"In the hole," he patiently explained, a little louder this time, as if we were all idiots.
"Okay, guys, lets go see where he is," I said, and we all trooped out to the car. Levi went around back, and pointed . . .to the tailpipe.
"He’s in there," he said.
For the next two hours, we tried to get him out. We talked to him. We tried banging on the pipe. Once or twice we saw his little pink nose, but the pipe was too small for me to reach my hand in to get him. I put some hamster food at the end of the pipe. Then we tried cereal. I should have tried calling the pizza delivery hamster who used to deliver to his "pad" in the hall closet. Anyway, after a couple of hours, we had to run an errand in our other vehicle. Afraid he’d escape only to be eaten by a neighborhood cat, I taped off the end of the tailpipe with some masking tape. (Yes, I left some space so air could get in–what do you think I am, stupid?) When we returned, the food we’d put in was gone, but the masking tape was still there, so apparently Rusty was, too.
By the time my husband returned from work it was dark out, and Rusty was still in the tailpipe. I was starting to worry, and the kids were pretty frantic. We couldn’t think of anything else to try. Then, Daddy had a brilliant idea:
Start the car.
At this point, I was convinced that we’d never get him out anyway, and he’d get stuck somewhere up in the engine or something, and with it being hot here and all, well . . .it wasn’t going to be pretty.
My middle child (the actual owner of the hamster) stood behind the car holding a kitchen strainer. The other kids stood on either side, looking on in trepidation. I went inside because I couldn’t bear to watch. Daddy got in the car and started it.
Out shot Rusty, flying over and six feet past the strainer. He landed at the end of the driveway, dazed and covered in soot. His little hamster eyes were looking at us, like, "What on earth was that???"
The boys brought him in to me with their hands black from the powdery ash covering him. I knew we couldn’t leave all that stuff on him, so I put him in the sink and broke out the strawberry-scented Suave shampoo. In the sink, he shrank to one quarter of his normal size and looked like, well, a drowned rat, honestly. So to add insult to injury, I blew him dry with my hair dryer.
Rusty was never really the same after that, though remarkably he did live for another several years. He mostly stayed home and ran on his wheel. Apparently, he’d seen enough of the world.