Funeral for a Chipmunk

March 2012 (Reprinted by popular demand!)

Today, the girls found a dead little chipmunk in the road. When Abbey and Emily brought it home and were inspecting it in the yard, I suggested that they put it in a box and give it a little respect, in hopes that this would discourage them from a natural instinct to touch it. I gave them a shoe box and thought they could take it from there … which they did … to extremes I had not imagined.

Emily wrote on one side of the box: “The Chipmunk who was special on Stonington Lane and who died of a crazy driver.”

Preparing the funeral site
Preparing the funeral site

Abbey wrote on another side: “Saved by Abbey & Emily and honored in this box on 3-18-12.”

A good while later, they asked me to join them outside for a ceremony. The box was in the center of a hula hoop, Abbey was sprinkling rocks around it and Emily was parading around the hoop with a garden sign that says “Peace.” They had my rocking chair in the yard and had moved a table to the edge of the porch to be a pulpit. Abbey and I sat while Emily opened the ceremony in prayer for the Chipmunk they had named Fat Cheeks. For a scripture reading, she went to Isaiah where she read the prophecy of the birth of Jesus. She then launched into quite a sermon about how the Bible says we should care for animals. “In Genesis,” she said, and opened her Bible to Genesis where she ended up reading about Joseph and his brothers. When she snapped the Bible closed, she said, “Well, I don’t really know that that had anything to do with this chipmunk or about caring for animals. …. But … I hope that it made your heart tick anyway.” (What?!!)

Emily eulogizes Fat Cheeks the Chipmunk
Emily eulogizes Fat Cheeks the Chipmunk

Then it was Abbey’s turn and she wanted to pick up where Emily had left off (sort of) and began reading about how Joseph when into Potiphar’s home and how Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him. I’m thinking to myself, “Okay Abbey, you can stop here…” knowing that we’re embarking on a soap-opera-esque story about a married woman luring a young man.  Abbey reads that Potiphar’s wife says, “Come to bed with me…” and I am just dying (what does this have to do with poor little Fat Cheeks the chipmunk, and what are these young girls thinking of this tale?).  I start to say something but Abbey keeps going and comes to the point where the wife screams and tells guards that Joseph came to sleep with her. Finally, Abbey stops after it says “Joseph left his cloak and ran out of the house.”

“Well …” says Abbey, “I don’t think that’s what we’re supposed to do — just run out on someone when they have asked for help.”

(How I managed not to burst into laughter at this point is still a mystery.)

Emily’s ready to take over again and asks us to stand and sing a song. “He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands,” is her selection, and I add a verse about how “He’s got the Fat Cheeks Chipmunk in his hands” and am really amazed I am still standing and not rolling on the ground laughing. The song is over and I sigh and think we’re done, but Reverend Emily gets back up to the pulpit and really starts sermonizing away. She’s going on and on and on, and even Macy, our dog, starts yawning loudly as if to tell Emily enough is enough.

We went through two more rounds of eulogizing and sermonizing before they invited me to share and I said I was sorry the poor baby didn’t live longer but was glad he (or she, Abbey corrected me) was okay now. Then I left them to finish the job of placing the box somewhere in the bushes by the porch.

I must say it was the most entertaining funeral I have ever attended. Quite possibly the longest, too.

A 6-year-old tries out homelessness (for fun)

(Pulled this out from my “archives” and thought it was worth posting.)

I sent Em to her room this morning for back talking.  When she came out 10 minutes later, she was pulling a pink suitcase and said she was running away.  I asked her to stay on Stonington Lane, and out the door with her suitcase she went.  Roughly two minutes later, I stepped outside and saw her about two houses down.  I hollered after her:  “Breakfast is ready.  You might want to eat something so you have strength for all the walking you’re going to do.”

She promptly turned and came back.  And during breakfast, we had this conversation:

Em:         So, it would probably be a good idea if you got some walkie-talkies.  You can get some at the repair (hardware) shop before I leave.  Do you know how they work?
Kate:         Yeah, but I’m probably not going to get any.  You want some snacks?
E:         I’ll pack snacks.  And then all I need from you is a phone and some money.  Do you have 50 cents?
K:         That’s about all I have.  What are you going to buy with 50 cents?
E:         Probably some pizza.
K:         I doubt you’ll buy pizza with 50 cents, but you can have it anyway.  You need help packing?

I unzip her suitcase and it’s empty.  So, the laughter I’ve been holding in now bursts forth.  “You’re running away and the suitcase you were dragging is EMPTY??”

running away 2011She finished her breakfast and headed into her room where she emptied her underwear drawer into a backpack and began packing another.  This kid is prepared for homelessness: plenty of changes of panties, a pillow, a flashlight, some pjs, a pair of shoes, an outfit and – lo and behold – she packed a toothbrush and toothpaste!

K:         Well, that’s a little more like it.  Now I feel a little better about you being out on your own.  When will I see you again?
E:         I’ll stop in for dinner tomorrow.
K:         Okay.  I love you.

She turns to leave and this time I wait more like five minutes to peek outside and see where she is.

Back on the porch.

E:         Mom, I want to be one of the Boxcar Children.
K:         Well, homelessness is pretty tough.  How about we settle for finding you a gigantic box that you can pretend is your boxcar and you and your friends can play in there?

That settled it, and I was good to my word, calling multiple stores before finding a hardware store that had a nice big box we could have.  She can be a Boxcar Child safely inside my garage.