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Out with the old house mouse

“One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.”

A.A. Milne, of “Winnie the Pooh” fame, penned that quote long ago. But I’ll bet you a box of chocolate-covered cherries he stole it from his wife, Dorothy, when he overheard her whispering what he thought was an optimistic comment.

In all likelihood, she was glaring with gritted jaw at the heap of pants and socks he had left on the floor on his side of the horsehair bed. And under the pile of clothes she discovered the moldy cookies in his pants pocket responsible for that “smell” she couldn’t quite put her finger on.

Me? I found mouse poop in my trunk of Christmas decorations.

The last page of “O, The Oprah Magazine,” where Oprah Winfrey writes her column, “What I Know For Sure,” is the first thing I flip to every time I pick the magazine off the rack at the grocery store.

Oprah’s sage advice hardly ever disappoints.

The column I had read was all about pleasure and gratitude, and how to recognize it every day—however small and even when things really stink.

So, of course, it got me to thinking. What pleasure is there in the discovery of mouse poop in the trunk of Christmas decorations?

Upon further investigation, I discovered a number of treasured keepsake ornaments made of glitter glue—all borne of my daughters’ long ago primary years—shredded into chunks of disorderly nothing.

Where, oh where, is the gratitude in that?

This “exciting discovery” made for a spilling of expletives from my mouth, further lessening gratitude and drowning out the pleasure of “Superstar Christmas” music playing through my Bluetooth stereo.

I dreaded digging further into the decorations to assess what else had been damaged. Everything Christmas was stored in that trunk 11 months out of the year.

Lo and behold, the pest had been creating mayhem for some time, with evident layers of assault on decorations to back up his crimes. Paper bells from Grade 3 were toast. A old popcorn ball rolled in red glitter was now Swiss cheese and the little red bows once tied to a dozen tiny antique china bells were frayed and virtually unrecognizable.

Tinsel shredded, egg carton ornaments pulverized, and my Christmas stocking holier than the nativity scene.

At any given time of the day, at least two of the four cats that live here with me have been sleeping within feline earshot of the Christmas trunk—quite clearly unaware of the savory morsel lurking in their midst.

But as I flipped open the lid of an old “Noma” lights box stuffed in the bottom of the trunk, the mouse hiding in the raffia I’d stored in there shot me the beady bulging eyes of panic, cleared the top of the trunk, hit the floor, and blew past a cat that had been poised on the rug.

A short time later, said cat returned licking it lips as if to say, “Yes, pleasure and gratitude really are found in the small things.”