Way back when I was young, I always looked forward to the weekends. That was the time of the week, we as a family would pack up the car and head to the beach. The beach we usually would frequent was called Westhavers, and I believe it had been so named after a family who owned the property around the beach.
Westhavers beach where the water was cold, and the sand was deep! You could walk into that water, and your feet would sink about a foot into the sand. When it hit ball height, well, let's just say things would shrink, and quickly. Yet as a child I loved it. Mom, my brothers and I would spread a blanket on the sand, and mom would keep her eyes on us boys playing in the water, and dad would be setting up his beloved Coleman camp stove on the tailgate of the old Dodge station wagon, while partaking in a beer or two. We always brought food to cook up with us, and make a day of it.
He was always parked close as possible to the beach, wearing his dark sunglasses so he could stare at unsuspecting bikini clad young ladies, and also Mom wouldn't be sure where or what he was watching. Although using his binoculars was a bit suspicious, even to me! I hope I didn't make him sound like a pervert, he wasn't, he just liked to observe! :)
On one such occasion, there was a young teen girl at the beach who had brought a young raccoon. I was completely fascinated with this raccoon. I was talking to the young girl who said she was heartbroken, she had to give the raccoon away because her parents were afraid it may bite her, because the raccoon was still a bit wild.
Well when I heard she had to give it away, bells and whistles went off in my head. I went to see dad at the car, and begged and pleaded with him for to let me have this raccoon. I'm not sure if it was the fact there had been so much good "scenery" that day to stare at, or if he had one more beer than he should have, but he finally broke down and said okay, but with one stipulation, we had to keep it at my grandpas house in the country.
This wasn't a problem with me, I spent about a month at a time at his place in the summer, so I agreed. So we spent the rest of the day at the beach, and that evening we went to the young girls house and picked up the raccoon, who she had named Jeannie.
After that we headed to my grandpas. As soon as we arrived with Jeannie, Pa began looking through his old barn, and found a makeshift cage. So we settled Jeannie in for the night and I made plans to start a visit at Pa's the following Monday.
Now Pa had worked for a construction company for years, and had acquired quite an assortment of different materials over those years. Some of the materials he had was the wire fencing they use as barriers to keep people out of construction sites. He also had quite an assortment of plywood.
Imagine my surprise when I went to his house on Monday and saw a cage about 12 feet by 8 feet with a plywood top! He had placed an old doghouse in the cage, which was now a Raccoon house. I spent a week feeding and talking to Jeannie before she would come to me and let me hold her. It was quite a process and looking back now, well worth it! I was the only one who she would come to. Eventually I would let her out of the cage and she would follow me around like a little puppy. Pa even built a shelf on an old birch tree where she would often perch herself, and when I walked by she would climb onto my shoulder.
I had Jeannie for several years and mourned her loss terribly. She was always special to me, and was my friend through those summers I would spend at Pa's.
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