The original story of Raccoon Day is already written up elsewhere in my journal. It's not surprising that the meaning of the holiday would change and deepen over the years. As the holiday changes, so does each telling of the tale itself.
It started years ago. We live out in the country, in an old southern plantation home. It's the nature of the house to be in flux, as it turns out. The home started as a log cabin and was expanded over the years as the family grew. We bought the house scoffing at the lessons of The Money Pit and This Old House, planning to live in it while we turned it into our dream home. Twenty years later, there is still much left undone, but we've enjoyed quite a lot of living along the way.
At the time of this story, our kitchen was remodeled, and part of the pantry, but not the dining room. It was a particularly interesting stage, illustrated by the abrupt shift from new to old in the panty. The dividing line between new and old started at floor levels. The new pantry is six inches higher than the old, which at the time meant a tiny aluminum-capped wall at the edge of the new vinyl floor. At the base of this wall lay the old wood planks, none-too-carefully sealed from the crawl space below. Our new pantry, offering a dream of organization, shot Elfa wire shelving into the no man's space of unfinished untidiness. The new ceiling is a drop-down style which stopped at the same vertical line. Past this point, the old ceiling rose higher than the finished ceiling on the other side of the pantry wall. In fact, this was the access point that my brother had used when he had run the new wiring into the ceiling of the dining room.
The unfinished bit of the pantry is now in the dining room. When we finished the dining room, we moved the pantry wall inward to provide a nook for a china cabinet. At the time, that space in the pantry was filled with a filing cabinet, stacks of boxes, and a bunch of stuff hanging from the wall.
It was a busy week. The kind in which I commit to much, accomplish little, and still have hope on Friday of catching up on it all. I had a plan. Even when Friday morning brought reminder of a weeks old commitment to provide baked goods for a Jamboree. I was on it. The pile of laundry to be folded was only two feet higher than the top of the jacuzzi, and there was barely room in the messy kitchen to create yet another dish. But I had the brownies in the oven and I was tackling a magazine-archiving project in the family room when we heard them. Okay, technically Zesty heard them. I thought at first that the noise WAS Zesty, but she was just as bemused as we were. I asked Critter to check on the disturbance, and he came back to tell me there were raccoons in the pantry.
Two Raccoons had gotten into the pantry. They knocked boxes of food off the shelves. They found a box of dog biscuits and tried them out. They found the access to the dining room ceiling and peered down the round holes in that ceiling, seeming to speculate on whether the dining room had anything of value to offer. But mostly, they stayed in the pantry.
I was floored. It had never occurred to me that raccoons were something that would arrive in my house, out there in the country. They're really very clever beasts, and practically have real hands and stuff. Since the happening, I've been gifted with tales of sentient, bead-trading raccoons, and all matter of stuffed and sculpted representations. I dissolved into a puddle of unresourcefulness, at the mercy of the Critter Control - a pest control company who features a raccoon as their icon.
The raccoons were gone by the time the CC guy showed up, but he gave me the emergency number to get him back out when they returned. It was so hard to leave that unguarded house to go get Flar from the airport. Our conversation on the way home -- purposed toward warning him of the unfinished chores, degenerated quickly into "why didn't you just" and "you weren't there" arguing. It was almost a relief to me that the raccoons were back when we returned. I was justified in my tizzy, I felt. Flar and the Critter Control guy managed to find how they were getting in, block that off, and set a trap. Over the course of the next year, we trapped seven raccoons and a possum. Eventually, all of the entry points were covered.
I learned about giving up control. That when I grasped at control, God would send me external variables until I gave up. I wrote about it all, and even started a tradition to celebrate it.
We celebrated Raccoon day a couple of weeks ago, to try to cheer up Flar over the Gaucha situation.
Last week, when I found a sweep who would clean our chimneys for the first time in years, he found a live raccoon in our bedroom chimney. All Flar could say was: "didn't they know we already had Raccoon Day this year?"