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浣熊的夏天

更新时间:2012-06-16    来源/发布:www.en369.cn    作者/编辑:英语作文网

  If I'd had my way,the story would have ended that day where it began——on the sixth hole at Stony Brook.

  "What was that bawling?"my wife,Shirley,asked,in-terrupting me in mid-swing.Without another word she marched into a mucky undergrowth and re-emerged carrying something alive.

  "Rrrit,rrit,rrit,"it screamed.

  "It's an orphaned raccoon,"she said,gently stroking a mud-matted ball of gray fur.

  "Its mother is probably ten yards away,has rabies and is about to attack,"I scolded.

  "No,it's alone and starving——that's why the little thing is out of its nest.Here,take it,"she ordered."I think there' s another baby over there."

  In a minute she returned with a squalling bookend——just as mud-encrusted2) and emaciated3) as the first.She wrapped the two complaining ingrates in her sweater.I knew that look.We were going to have two more mouths to feed.

  "Just remember,"I declared,"they're your bundles to look after."But of all the family proclamations4) I have made over the years,none was wider of the mark.

  When,like Shirley and me,you have four children,you don' t think much about empty nests.You don't think the noisy,exuberant procession of kids and their friends will ever end.But the bedrooms will someday empty,the hot bath water will miraculously return,and the sounds that make a family will echo only in the scrapbook of your mind.

  Shirley and I had gone through the parting ritual with Laraine and Steve and Christopher.Now there was only Daniel,who was chafing to trade his room at home for a pad at Penn State.So I was looking forward to my share of a little peace and quiet——not raccoons.

  "What do you feed baby raccoons?"I asked the game protector over the phone the next morning.We had cleaned them up,made them a bed in a box of rags,added a ticking clock in the hope it would calm them,found old baby bottles in the basement,fed them warm milk and got them to sleep,all without floorwalking the first night.

  However,they revived and began their machine-gun chant shortly after Shirley had run out the door,heading for classes.In anticipation of a soon-to-be empty nest,she had gone back to college to get a master's degree so she could teach.

  Meanwhile,I had my own work to do——various publishing projects that I handle from home.As the only child remaining with us,Daniel was m y potential raccoon-relief man.Or so I hoped.

  "Whose bright idea was this?"he asked with the tart5) tongue of a teenager.

  "Your mother thought you needed something more to earn your allowance,"I cracked."Will you heat some milk for them?"

  "Sorry,I'm late for school,"he called over his shoulder.He and I were at that awkward testing stage,somewhere between my flagging authority and his rush for independence.

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